An Open Door Adoption : Peru

Peruvian Child Smiling. The Open Door Adoption Agency is among only three agencies licensed to place children from Peru. The government of Peru is stable and adoptions are carefully regulated by the central government. Open Door works with a very reputable psychologist in Peru who handles the entire adoption case for you in country.

Available children from Peru can be five years of age and older if they are in relatively good health, but there are also many available children who have mild or correctable through more significant special needs or who are part of a sibling group. These children may be of any age.

The waiting children are in either government or private orphanages. The Peruvian adoption office, called the DGA, publishes a Special Waiting Children list approximately once per month. This list includes sibling groups, children with various medical health issues, and children with special needs. There are also healthy children on the list who are nine and up (they intend to drop this age to 6 in the near future) and teenagers available for adoption. Families can request a specific child from the list once they’ve been approved as an adoptive family in Peru, at which time Peru will evaluate the request and match the child with the family if they feel it is suitable. The entire adoption process takes approximately a year and a half once all your documents are submitted, if adopting from the Special Waiting Children list.  Your stay in Peru will be from seven to eight weeks to complete an adoption

Adoptive Parent Criteria for Peru

· Parents must be 25 – 50 years old to adopt a child 5 to 6 years of age.

· Adoptive parents 51 to 55 years of age may adopt a child 7 years of age or older.

· Parents must be at least 18 years older than the child they adopt.

· You may select the age and gender of the child.

· Couples must be married 2 1/2 years.

· Many sibling groups are available.

· You may have other children, although larger families will not be approved to adopt in Peru. Peru is currently evaluating family size limits and anticipates setting the limit at 3 or 4 other children in the home.

· Previous divorce is acceptable.

· Please speak with our staff if you have any history of mental illness or criminal history. While Peru has not set specific parameters around such history, they do evaluate these cases with strict scrutiny. An adoptive parent with a significant criminal history is unlikely to be approved in Peru.

· The Agency seeks Christian adoptive parents.

The Children

Small Peruvian boy looks at the camera. The children who are available for adoption are placed in private and government orphanages for care and are typically given excellent nurturing as well as good medical care by the predominantly Catholic orphanage staff. Most are in relatively good health, but will almost certainly experience typical institutional delays. The Open Door offers links to adoptive parent training as well as direct training through a webinar and required reading, which will help parents understand the typical issues of institutionalized children, and how best to overcome them.

Peru maintains a list of waiting children called their “Waiting Children List”. This list is updated every month or so. It contains the list of children which includes a page each for sibling groups, children with various health problems (usually more minor in nature), children with special needs, adolescents, and children who are 9-12. Families may request a specific child from this list once they are approved by Peru. Alternately, if the family is hoping to adopt a child from age 5-8 they may opt to wait for a Direct Designation from MIMP to match them with a child within their approval parameters. Peru has many adorable children in this age range who are awaiting forever families.

The Adoption Process

The adoption process begins with an application to The Open Door Adoption Agency (which can be completed on this web site). Our director will review and approve your application, and our office will send you additional materials, called our “Service Packet”. At the same time, you may begin your home study. The Open Door can complete the home study for your family if you live in the state of Georgia; for families out of state we can assist you in locating a home study agency. Once the home study draft is complete, our agency will review the home study to ensure that it meets USCIS and Peru standards. Upon finalization of the home study you will submit the I-800a application to USCIS (an application to be approved as an internationally adopting family by USCIS, and the first step of the US immigration process). While waiting on your USCIS approval you will be working on your dossier. Peru requires a psychological evaluation of the family by a licensed psychologist as part of the dossier. The Open Door adoption consultant will guide you through the dossier process. For most families, the process of completing the home study and dossier is about four to seven months.

Once the dossier is completed the dossier is sent to Peru where it is translated into Spanish and submitted to the adoption authority in Peru (called the DGA, which is an office under the umbrella of MIMP, or The Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations). The DGA reviews the dossier and often requests a little bit of additional information from the family upon their review. After these additional questions are answered and submitted, approval is usually issued. This process typically takes between 4-10 months in total. After the DGA has approved the family, the family may either request a specific child off the waiting children list, or wait to be matched with a child through their “Direct Designation” process for those families seeking to adopt younger (5-8) healthy children. The referral of a child could take as little as three months or up to a year or longer after the family has been approved depending on whether they choose to adopt off the waiting child list or be placed on the Direct Designation wait list themselves. Referrals are issued once a month during their “Consejo” meeting. The referral will be sent to the family through Open Door and includes a photo, medical, psychological, and social description of the child. Case files on children from Peru are typically quite descriptive and provide much background information on the child compared to many other foreign countries. Once you decide to accept the referral, your Open Door adoption consultant will guide you in completing the I-800 application (the second step of the US immigration process) with USCIS to receive provisional approval to adopt this specific child.

This is an ideal program for families interested in adopting an older child or children, a sibling group, or a child with some health issues or special needs. Length of time between referral and travel is short. Parents generally travel to Peru within three months of formally accepting the referral of their child.

Once in the country, the family will first meet with MIMP/DGA staff in their main Lima office, and then travel to the location of the child’s orphanage (if not in the Lima area). The first 4 days are spent visiting with the child in the orphanage. On the fifth day, the couple takes the child with them to their apartment for a week long placement period. The family will care for the child for the next 2 weeks, with a psychologist from MIMP meeting with the family to assess how the bonding process with the child is going. Provided bonding with the family is going well, the psychologist will issue the administrative resolution approving the adoption after this time period.

After the adoption resolution there is a five day “Period of Silence”. Then the parents will apply for the child’s new birth certificate. Once the parents have the child’s adoption decree and birth certificate, the family returns to Lima. There, they will obtain a new state ID for the child and a Peruvian passport. The final stage is the exit medical visit and final visa interview at the American Embassy in Lima. Once the visa is issued, the adoptive parents may return home to the U.S. with their child. Your adoption will then be final under international law!

The Country

Peru is a stable democracy with a constitutional government. Adoptions have become carefully regulated by the central government and the process has become much more standardized than in years past. Peru is a South American country with three different natural geographical regions: Coast, Sierra (Andes) and Jungle. The Coastal region is located on the Pacific Ocean between Ecuador to the north and Chile to the south.

Adoptive families are encouraged to use their time in Peru both to bond with their child and to become familiar with the rich culture and beauty of the country. It is also a great opportunity for a family to improve their Spanish, shop for Peruvian crafts, and if possible to see some of the fantastic historical sites or beautiful nature while you are there. Your trip to Peru will itself be a memorable experience.

Our In-Country adoption facilitator can assist you with making accommodation arrangements for you within Peru. If your child is located in an orphanage outside of Lima, she will travel with you to the province and attend all adoption procedures along with you. She will assist you throughout the adoption process while you are in Peru.

Adoption Authority

The government office responsible for adoptions in Peru is the Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Populations (Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables or MIMP). MIMP, through an institution named Direccion General de Adopciones (DGA), is responsible for identifying possible orphans for assignment to prospective adoptive parents, certifying the court-issued adoption decree, and establishing post-adoption reporting requirements to ensure the child’s adequate development and care in the United States.

Time Frame

Recent experience suggests the total time (from the initial inquiry with an approved adoption agency until the child arrives in the U.S.) can take one and a half to two years. Those families who wish to have MIMP designate a younger (5-8 years) age healthy child might wait anywhere from 6 months to as long as 2 years beyond that of families adopting from their waiting children program. Both adoptive parents need to be present in Peru for the provisional placement, evaluation, and ratification of the adoption through the court, obtaining a new birth certificate and ID card for the child. as well as during the time that parents are applying for the new birth certificate. Prospective adoptive parents should plan to stay in country for 7-8 weeks. One parent may return to the US after the new ID card is issued, however this takes place at the final stage in the process, so only a few more days in country are required at this point.