Ecuador discussed how it cut adoption time from 5 years to 9 months.
Delegates from nine countries gathered in Ecuador on July 20th and 21st for a significant bilateral seminar, engaging in discussions, round tables, and meetings to address the pressing issue of international adoptions.
The participating nations included Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
The event included the participation of Vicenzo Starita, the Vice President of the Italian International Adoption Commission, who emphasized the importance of direct dialogue on childhood and adoption matters, especially in the context of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Central to the discussions was an analysis of the roles played by central authorities and international organizations in ensuring the rights of children who find themselves deprived of their original family environments due to various circumstances. The seminar sought to critically examine existing adoption practices and child protection measures to explore new models and strategies for better outcomes.
The Ecuadorian Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion, Esteban Bernal, took the opportunity to highlight the commendable reduction in adoption process timelines within Ecuador. The country aims to complete the adoption process within a timeframe of nine months, aligning it with the gestation period.
Minister Bernal expressed optimism that the seminar would enable Latin American nations to learn from one another’s experiences and improve their social and public policies on adoptions.
Drawing from the successful “Abrazo de adopción” program initiated by President Guillermo Lasso’s government, Bernal disclosed that since its implementation, Ecuador had already completed 132 adoptions, including seven international adoptions, with approximately 250 children awaiting adoption.
Reflecting on past challenges, Minister Bernal shared a personal experience related to adoption.
He said that not too long ago, it was extremely challenging to find reliable and formal information about adopting a child. The system, comprising eight steps, used to take years to navigate. However, significant improvements have been made to streamline the process and offer a more efficient and compassionate adoption experience.
The registration process, which once took about a month, can now be completed in just three days. Similarly, the approach to prospective adoptive parents, which used to take several months, has been significantly reduced to just 15 days. The training process for prospective families has also been condensed from an average of 6-10 months to a mere two months. Flexibility has been introduced to accommodate the unique circumstances of adoptive families, and national and international regulations have been considered.
In the past, adoption procedures could drag on for up to five years. However, the Ecuadorian authorities have streamlined the process, symbolically adopting a nine-month timeline, mirroring the duration of natural gestation to become parents.
The success and growth of adoption initiatives in Ecuador owe a debt of gratitude to the generous financial support provided by the Government of Italy and accredited international organizations.