Index of "International Adoptions Reports"
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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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
6. Ecuadoran passport valid for at least six months;
7. three photographs (consult Embassy or Consulate for
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.
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
ECUADORAN POST-ADOPTION REQUIREMENTS:
Ecuadoran law requires compliance with certain regulations,
even after you have adopted your child. These post-adoption
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
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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