Bolivian law does allow foreigners to adopt Bolivian children, but it is not an easy process. There are many laws, requirements, technicalities, and restrictions. As an interpreter I’ve worked for several families who adopted Bolivian children, interpreting orally at legal hearings, and translating much of the legal documentation involved. Because of this I learned to appreciate the absolutely steadfast determination those couples had to have because the process can be frustrating, grueling and exhausting.
What I can share, from my own experience, is that a single person or couple who is contemplating adopting a child in Bolivia, had better think about it deeply and be completely convinced that this is what they desire. They will be required to present proof that the family environment (and income) are healthy and stable and will continue to be so, far into the future. Their personal, financial, and medical backgrounds will be highly scrutinized. The entire process can take several months to over a year, and even after the child has been taken home, the adoptive parents must report to Bolivian authorities regularly (usually every six months) either personally or through a legal representative.
Everyone I have spoken to has considered the process very hard, but those same people have ALL told me they would go through it all over again, that they love their child deeply, and that it was worth it!
There are a lot of
orphans in Bolivia
and I have visited several orphanages myself. These (photo above) are some of the boys from Hogar Maranatha, a boy's home that I have supported for several years. Boys and girls are not allowed to reside in the same orphanages. These children are between 4 and 16 years old, but some orphanages have quite a few babies. The kids are required to go to school and are also taught a trade, such as baking, cooking, shining shoes, sewing, laying bricks, playing an instrument, and other tasks so they will somewhat employable by the time they leave the orphanage.
Most of these kids come from homes where the father has abandoned the family and the mother has been unable to cope or has too many children and cannot afford to house and feed them all. Some come to the home after living and working alone on the streets for a long time. Some have been exposed to drug use. These boys are sweet, each and every one of them. They've been taught to play instruments and sing. When a visitor comes to the home, they put on a small impromptu concert.
If you are interested in more information on some of the children's homes in this area, or on how to contribute financially to an
orphanage in Santa Cruz,
you can contact the International Women's Association (a group of foreign women in
who have formed a non-profit organization to raise funds for orphanages). Their efforts have ensured these homes continue operating and living conditions for the children have been greatly improved because of their efforts. The process will be similar in much of Bolivia.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION
Santa Cruz de la Sierra - Bolivia
Tel: (591-3) 352-1681
I'm working on getting some testimonials from families who have adopted Bolivian children. No one will be able to provide better first-hand information, suggestions, and recommendations than they will.
You might want to check out my section on laws that govern
travel with minors.
I am not an attorney and am therefore not qualified to give
legal advice in Bolivia.
I can refer you to a website that contains tons of technical information on the entire process in English. It is posted for U.S. citizens, but the information concerning the Bolivian portion of the process will be the same no matter what your country of origin, so I hope you find it helpful. The information on this website is provided by the U.S. Department of State. It will help you determine if you are ready for this. You may also click on the EXPAT SERVICES banner at the top of this page.