Key Points from this information pack:
This information pack seeks to provide an overview of intercountry adoption and some of the major issues that applicants should consider prior to adopting a child from an overseas country.
This information pack provides a specific overview of the process for adopting a child from Chile.
The overriding principle for children that are legally available for adoption is to find a family for the child in need of a family as opposed to finding a child for a family. Adoption is therefore a social and legal protective measure for children and shall be governed by the child’s best interests and respect for his/her fundamental rights.
Adoption procedures and standards such as those specified under The 1993
Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention) need to be followed to ensure that the children are legally adoptable, that every effort has been made to return the child to his or her birth family and that efforts to place the child for adoption in his or her own country had failed. Additionally, that the child’s best interests and human rights were the paramount consideration and that no illegal practices or improper financial gain is involved.
Married couples only may apply to adopt from Chile. One of the applicants must be either born in New Zealand or a full New Zealand citizen. Permanent residents can adopt but there is a different process.
The adoption process with Chile is fully transparent. A certain amount of bureaucracy and associated paperwork are necessary but manageable if followed in a step by step manner.
Both applicants will be required to travel to Chile and stay approximately 8 weeks to complete the adoption.
Prior to travelling to Chile, applicants are required to learn enough of the Spanish language to be able to communicate with the child to be adopted.
Only children over the age of 5 are available for adoption from Chile unless adopting a sibling group. Sibling groups can include children who were not blood related but very close in the institution and separation of the child would not be in the child’s best interests. A child younger than 5 years may be adopted but only if part of a sibling group (the maximum age of the older child in the sibling group that applicants are prepared to adopt must be stated) or that child has a disability or special medical need.
Almost all children that have spent time in an institution will have some form of medical condition, behavioural or attachment issues that will require a degree of attention. Some conditions will be minor (ones that Western medicine or good diet can treat readily), others can be more serious and require specialised treatment.
Applicants need specific information, training and education and be counselled and supported where necessary. Applicants also need the ability, skills and willingness to adopt a child with special considerations.
Nothing can be guaranteed when adopting from a foreign country. Sudden law or procedural changes are common.
Research has shown that even though intercountry adoption does have risks and some fail, most children adopted who would have grown up in orphanages and faced lives of little opportunity, have found families that love them and an overall better chance at life.
Prepare and do your research. There is a wealth of information on intercountry adoption to help prepare you. Considerable help is available every step of the way (before, during and post adoption).
In the future the adopted child is highly likely to want to trace his/her origins.