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U.S. Department of State
1995:  International Adoption -- Ecuador
Bureau of Consular Affairs


     
     
                      INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION - ECUADOR
     
                                                                     
     DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR RELATING TO THE
     LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED
     FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY.  QUESTIONS INVOLVING
     INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO
     FOREIGN COUNSEL.                                                
     
     GENERAL:  As a result of negative publicity generated by a case
     of child smuggling in 1986, Ecuadoran laws regarding adoptions
     by foreigners were changed in an attempt to provide greater
     protection for the child.  All Ecuadoran adoptions by U.S.
     citizens must be processed through U.S. based adoption
     agencies, which are legally authorized to deal with Ecuadoran
     adoption agencies or private attorneys.  
     
     Although children are sometimes released to the custody of
     prospective adoptive parents, a final adoption decree must be
     issued by an Ecuadoran court before the child is permitted to
     leave the country.  
     
     ADOPTION PROCEDURES:
     
     In order to be eligible for adoption in Ecuador, a child must
     be considered either abandoned or orphaned.  The child may be
     in the custody of the government, a private sector facility, or
     in some cases, with relatives or family friends.  A child of a
     sole or surviving parent may be considered an orphan in Ecuador
     if that parent is unable to care for the child properly and has
     forever and irrevocably released him or her for adoption.  If
     both parents are living, both must irrevocably sign the release
     of the child.  At such time, the child is considered to be
     abandoned for adoption purposes.  
     
     U.S. citizens residing outside of Ecuador who wish to adopt an
     Ecuadoran child should file an application with the
     representatives of a private adoption agency which is
     authorized to arrange placement of Ecuadoran children.  Before
     granting the adoption, the judge must rule that the child has
     been abandoned.  
     
     ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
     
     The National Directorate for the Protection of Minor Children
     (Direccion Nacional de Proteccion de Menores) oversees
     adoptions in Ecuador.  Adoption decrees are issued by the
     courts in Ecuador.  The Tribunal de Menores (Juvenile Court)
     must grant permission for the child to depart the country. 
     This permission is only valid for 1 year.   
     

     AGE AND CIVIL STATUS REQUIREMENTS: 
     
     Both married and unmarried individuals may adopt a child in
     Ecuador.  An unmarried (single, widowed, divorced) adoptive
     parent may only adopt a child of the same sex, unless a
     favorable report for adoption of a child of the opposite sex is
     issued by the Technical Division.  In such a case, there must
     be an age difference of 30 years between the adoptive parent
     and the child.  Both members of a married couple should be over
     25 years of age.  There must be an age difference of at least
     14 years between the younger adoptive parent and the child.
     
     TIME FRAME:
     
     The prospective adoptive parent(s) must come to Ecuador and
     appear in court in order to begin the adoption process.
     The adoption process may take approximately six months to a
     year before the adoption is finalized.
     
     ECUADORAN DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS:
     
     All translations, certifications, notarizations and
     authentications must be completed in the U.S. before the
     adoptive parents travel to Ecuador and before the application
     for adoption is made.  The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General
     in Ecuador do not have the authority to authenticate documents
     originating in the U.S.
     
      1.  Adoption request presented personally by the prospective 
     adoptive parent(s) before the Minors Court in the domicile 
     of the child.  The prospective adoptive parent(s) must
     acknowledge their signatures before the appropriate court. 
     Married couples must present the adoption application jointly.
     
      2.  Certified copies of birth certificates of prospective
     adoptive parents and certified copy of marriage certificate
     (death certificates/divorce decrees related to prior spouses if
     applicable).
     
      3.  Certified copy of the state law that regulates the
     adoption of minors (especially foreign minors) in the adoptive
     parents' state.  Home study report on the adoptive parent(s)
     and institutional criteria on the suitability of the adoptive
     parent(s) from the entity performing the home study.
     
      4.  A certificate of good conduct/no criminal record for each
     adoptive parent from a local police department which has been
     sealed or notarized and authenticated.  An FBI report is
     acceptable in lieu of local police record. 
     
      5.  Verification of employment and salary notarized and
     authenticated.  Bank statements notarized/certified and
     authenticated.
     
     6.  Family letter of intent to adopt, describing child adoptive
     parent (s) is/are willing to adopt, notarized and authenticated.
     
      7.  Certificate from the pertinent government organization of
     the country of the adoptive parents that credits the
     authenticity of the information included in the request.
     
      8.  Birth certificate of the child they want to adopt.
     
      9.  Certificate of physical and mental health of prospective
     adoptive parent(s).
     
     10.  Photocopies of the passports of the prospective adoptive
     parent(s) reflecting the date of entry into Ecuador.
     
     11.  Personal references.
     
     12.  Certificate as to the authenticity of all of the above 
     documents.
     
     Generally, U.S. civil records, such as birth, death, and
     marriage certificates must bear the seal of the issuing office,
     then be authenticated by the particular state's secretary of
     state, then by U.S. Department of State's Authentication
     Office, then by the Ecuadoran Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. 
     It may be possible to eliminate some of the authentication
     steps if the Consulate has the seal of the local issuing
     authority on file.
     
     Tax returns, medical reports, personal references and police
     clearances should likewise be authenticated, by a local notary
     public or the appropriate issuing office, and the clerk of
     court of the county where the notary is licensed or some
     similar authority.  
     
     The U.S. Department of State Authentication Office is located
     at 2400 M Street, N.W., Room 101, Washington, D.C.  20520,
     tel:  (202) 647-5002.  Walk-in service is available 8 a.m. to
     12 noon Monday-Friday, except holidays.  You may contact that
     office for a schedule of fees.  
     
     It is advisable to bring several copies of your authenticated
     and translated documentation with you to Ecuador.  All
     documents prepared for transmission to Ecuadorian adoption
     authorities must be accompanied by a certified Spanish
     translation.  The translator must execute a statement before a
     notary public as to the validity of the translation.  The
     notary's seal must then be authenticated.
     
     Individuals who were born or married in third countries should
     have their birth or marriage certificates authenticated by the
     issuing authorities, and then authenticated by the U.S. Embassy
     in the country in which the birth or marriage took place.  Such
     documents must then be authenticated by the embassy or
     consulate of the country of the adoptive child's origin.
     

     ECUADORAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES GENERAL IN THE U.S.:
     
     Embassy of Ecuador
     Consular Section
     2535 15th St. N.W.
     Washington, D.C.  20009
     tel:  (202) 234-7166
     
     In addition, Ecuador has 13 Consulates General operating
     throughout the United States.
     
     
     U.S. IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES:
     
     Orphans adopted abroad who have been in the custody of the
     adoptive parents less than two years require orphan petitions
     for U.S. immigrant visa processing to enter the United States.  
     
     It is advisable to contact the Consular Section of the U.S.
     Embassy in Quito or Consulate General in Guayaquil at least
     three working days in advance of the desired interview date to
     check that all required documents are in order and to set an
     appointment for the immigrant visa interview.  If everything is
     in order, the visa may be issued the afternoon of the same
     day.  The Consulate General cannot guarantee issuance of the
     visa in advance of the interview.
     
     If you are outside the U.S. and the child has completed his
     medical examination, you will have a preliminary interview with
     the consular officer in order to complete form I-604 "Request
     for and Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation".  The child
     must be present at the Consulate General for the immigrant visa
     application.  The medical examination must be performed by a
     physician from an approved list of physicians using a specified
     form.  Unless special circumstances, such as a physical
     handicap, indicate the child's care will be particularly
     costly, the adopting parents will not be required to provide
     further proof of their financial situation, as this information
     will have already been provided at the time of petition (I-600A
     or I-600) approval.
     
     What Documents to Bring With You to U.S. Embassy:
     
     Since each case is different, it is possible that the Consulate
     General will request additional documents after a preliminary
     review of the application of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
     
      1.  certified copy of child's birth certificate;
      2.  if birth father, mother or both are deceased, certified
     copy of death certificate issued by civil registrar;
      3.  relinquishment of parental rights executed before an
     appropriate Ecuadoran authority;
     
      4.  adoption decree issued by a judge with the certified
     translation to English.  The translation must be notarized by a
     consular officer at the American Embassy or Consulate General;
      5.  authorization from a Judge to permit the minor to leave
     Ecuador;
      6.  Ecuadoran passport valid for at least six months;
      7.  three photographs (consult Embassy or Consulate for
     specifications);
      8.  two 230-B forms;
      9.  I-600 form filed at the Embassy in Quito or at the
     Consulate General in Guayaquil.  The adoptive parent signing
     this form should be present during the interview with the
     Consul.  The  completed adoption decree must be presented when
     filing this form;
     10.  I-604 form filed at the Embassy in Quito or the Consulate
     General in Guayaquil.  A consul must see the adopted child when
     this form is filed;
     11.  Medical examination;
     12.  In cases where the minor has not been seen or observed in
     person by the prospective adoptive parent(s), a notarized
     statement by those parents will be required indicating that 
     although they have not seen or observed the minor in person,
     they are nevertheless willing to adopt or re-adopt the minor in
     the United States.  
     
     AMERICAN EMBASSY/CONSULATE GENERAL ASSISTANCE:
     
     Upon arrival in Ecuador to try to arrange an adoption,
     U.S. citizens should register at the U.S. Embassy, Consular
     Section, American Citizens Services in Quito or with the
     Consulate General in Guayaquil.  The Embassy/Consulate General
     will be able to provide information about any outstanding
     travel advisories and to provide other information about
     Ecuador including lists of physicians, attorneys, interpreters
     and translators.  The U.S. Embassy is located at Avenida 12 de
     Octubre y Avenida Patria, Quito.  Telephone: 
     011-593-2-562-890.  Fax:  011-593-2-502-052.  The U.S.
     Consulate General is located at 9 de Octubre y Garcia Moreno,
     Guayaquil.  Telephone:  011-593-4-323-570. 
     Fax:  011-593-4-325-286.  
     
     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in Ecuador
     may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or
     Consulate.  You may also contact the Office of Children's
     Issues, U.S. Department of State, Room 4800 N.S.,
     2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20520-4818, telephone
     (202) 647-2688 with specific adoption questions.  Recorded
     information concerning significant changes in adoption
     procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or
     by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax
     machine) at (202) 647-3000.  If the country you are interested
     in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed. 
     Information on immigrant visas is available from the State
     Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225.  This 24 hour
     automated system includes options to speak with consular
     officers during business hours for questions not answered in
     the recorded material.  Application forms and petitions for
     immigrant visas are available from the U.S. Immigration and
     Naturalization Service, the nearest office of which is listed
     in the federal pages of your telephone book, under  U.S.
     Department of Justice.
     
     In addition, the State Department publishes Consular
     Information Sheets and Travel Warnings.  Consular Information
     Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing
     information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health
     conditions, political situations, and crime reports.  When
     situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department
     recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel
     Warning is issued.  Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel
     Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State
     Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at
     (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone.  The recording is
     updated as new information becomes available.  In addition,
     this information is accessible through the automated fax
     machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13
     regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S.
     Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates
     abroad.  Furthermore, you may write in requesting information,
     sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens
     Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of
     State, Washington, D.C.  20520-4818.  Finally, information is
     available through your personal computer.  If you have a
     computer and a modem, you can access the Consular Affairs
     Bulletin Board (CABB).  This service is free of charge, and may
     be reached at: (202) 647-9225.  Consular Information Sheets and
     Travel Warnings may also be accessed by subscribers to many
     on-line services.  For complete information on accessing
     consular information via computer, please request document
     1016, entitled "Consular Information Program," from the
     automated fax system, which is described in the preceding
     paragraph.
     
     ECUADORAN POST-ADOPTION REQUIREMENTS:
     
     Ecuadoran law requires compliance with certain regulations,
     even after you have adopted your child.  These post-adoption
     requirements include:
     
     1. Legalization of the adoption in the United States;
     2. Notification of any change of address of the adoptive
     parent(s) to the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate in the United
     States;
     3. A social worker's examination each year (or more frequently,
     if Ecuadoran authorities so desire) of the physical, "moral",
     and social atmosphere in which the child is being brought up;
     4.  A report to the nearest Ecuadoran consulate to be forwarded
     to the National Directorate for the Protection of Minors
     (Direccion Nacional de Proteccion de Menores).
     
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