Speaking of Abandonment

It just happens than on Monday, there was a report in El Tiempo about the increase in abandonment and therefore in adoptions in the department of Boyacá. It is a sad statement on the state of social affairs to recognize that fewer children are able to stay with their birth families. Yet, in a strange paradox, it marks a positive change for adoptive families who are waiting. On a personal note, I think that the most amazing thing is that social stigmas about adoption within Colombia are clearly changing. Here is a translation/summary, and a link to the article.

In the last 10 years, children placed for adoption from Boyacá has increased by 60%. In 2000, only 53 children from the department were placed for adoption. In 2009, there were 85, the majority of whom were placed with adoptive parents in or from Colombia.

According to Gloria Esperanza Medina Alba, Defensora de Familia (Family Advocate) for ICBF in Boyacá, the increase in the necessity for adoption has caused a great deal of worry for officials at ICBF. She stated, "The majority of children that have entered ICBF custody have done so on repeated occasions because of intrafamilial violence. Others enter the process because their parents are arrested, die, or simply cannot offer what is required for the children to grow in an adequate environment, which often occurs in the case of sex workers. "

She continued, "We work with the parents who mistreat their children so that they can changes their ways, but often they return to their old ways, which is why the ICBF will make the decision to remove the children and declare them in a situation of adoptability."

To date this year, 49 children (22 female, 25 male) have been placed for adoption -- 28 to Colombian families and 19 to foreign families.

Medina also mentioned, "Right now, we have 25 children who already have an adoptive family assigned, but they are awaiting for the official placement or the official acceptance of the potential adoptive parents." Additionally, Ms. Medina stated that at the moment there are 25 more healthy children that will be entering the Adoption phase of the process shortly.

In Boyacá, the statistics show that more adoptive families request girls, as well as children younger than age 7. In addition, the predominant age range of adoptive parents is 43-51 years of age.

From 1960-2000, 80% of adoptive parents were from foreign countries. In 2005, the law changed and now Colombian families receive priority. Now, it is more like 70% are Colombian and 30% foreign.

Most adoptive children in Boyacá come from the cities of Tunja, Sogamoso, Duitama and Chiquinquirá, with foreign adoptive families most frequently coming from Spain, Italy, France, the United States, Norway and Germany.

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