Soraya Diaz, Lifeline’s legal adoption representative in Colombia, has more than twenty years experience working with adoptive families in her native country. She traveled to Alabama to be with many of her families at the Lifeline Family Reunion. During her time here, she joined Herbie Newell on the July 10th episode of The Defender Podcast to discuss adoption in Colombia.
Soraya’s extensive experience with adoption in Colombia gives her a unique and long-term perspective on the Colombia program and what the process looks like for families who are considering adopting from this beautiful country.
The Colombia program has seen much growth recently, and Soraya shared her insight as to why families have a positive experience:
- Precious Children: The children in foster families and orphanages are cared for, educated, and loved.
- Safety of Colombia: Families feel safe in the country and the areas in which they stay. For example, their time in Bogota is very safe and pleasant.
- Shortened In-Country Stay: In the recent past, families were required to stay in Colombia for 8 weeks. However, that time has now been shortened to 3 weeks! The first week involves a lot of appointments and a little bit of time to tour around Bogota. The second week moves families to another town in which their adoption files will be processed at the courthouse there. This week is a great time of bonding and exploring the parks, swimming areas, and the beautiful town, full of warm and inviting people. The third week brings families back to Bogota for more appointments and time of sightseeing, eating fantastic food, and exploring their child’s country.
- Stable Adoption Program: ICBF, the central adoption authority in Colombia, is known for their ethical and transparent procedures in international adoption.
- Care System for Children: Children in Colombian orphanages are receiving great health care and many children receive psychological care, as well. The children are known, loved, and cared for well.
- Pre-Adoption Preparation for Children: Children undergo a 2-3 month preparation program before joining their forever families. This time helps ready children for adoption and what it’s like to live with their forever family. Such an investment by the country and central authority demonstrates their incredible commitment to seeing children thrive through adoption.
Not only has the international adoption program in Colombia experienced growth, the number of domestic adoptions has been steadily increasing. (un)adopted has had the opportunity to work in many areas of Colombia, including caregiver training and working with local churches. By explaining the biblical mandate for orphan care, indigenous churches are choosing to get involved with orphan care and adoption. Caring for orphans in all of these ways allows Lifeline to be part of a holistic approach to addressing the varying needs of orphans in Colombia. As a result, Christians have many practical ways to get involved with orphan care in Colombia. Soraya suggested the following ways to get started:
- Pray for more domestic and international families to provide a safe and loving home for children.
- Participate in the R(un) for one, wherever you are, to provide for the holistic needs of children.
- Open your hearts for adoption.
- Participate in the Colombian hosting program in the United States.
- Donate to families who are adopting.
Being part of the new growth and exciting changes in the Colombia adoption program is a privilege for Lifeline. We’d love to have you join us as we seek to follow the Lord, as He continues to open doors for orphan care in Colombia and around the world!