ADOPTION PROGRAMS

We are a Hague accredited organization with over 40 years of international adoption experience. We have made it our mission to find families for the children who are in need of adoption.

South Africa, Colombia and Bulgaria have specific eligibility requirements that are beyond the control of Spence-Chapin.

Spence-Chapin does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, military status, genetics, genetic predisposition or carrier status, HIV status, marital or partnership status, familial or caregiver status, or any other legally protected status.

We advocate for children waiting for adoption as we support and guide families through the adoption process. We strive to reduce barriers to adoption for all types of parents to be eligible to adopt and are able to connect families in our International Adoption Program to an Adoption Finance Coach, a private coach who offers adoptive families the tools they need to create a customized financial plan to fund their adoption.

Our goal is to find adoptive families for children in need and to prepare, support, and guide that family for their lifetime.

 

Adopt from South Africa

SPENCE-CHAPIN BEGAN ITS ADOPTION PROGRAM IN SOUTH AFRICA IN 2013. We are the only United States adoption agency working with Johannesburg Child Welfare Society (JCW), a social service organization serving Johannesburg families since 1909. Spence-Chapin is one of two adoption agencies in South Africa authorized to do adoptions.

Where Is South Africa | South Africa Adoption | Family Story | Humanitarian Aid


 
 

South Africa Adoption

South Africa is a Hague Convention Country. South Africa’s Central Authority that is responsible for all intercountry adoption matters is the Department of Social Development. Spence-Chapin’s foreign supervised provider in South Africa is Johannesburg Child Welfare. 

In South Africa, applicants to adopt must meet the following criteria: 

  • Age: Up to 48. Applicants over 48 should consult with Spence-Chapin.

  • Marital Status: Heterosexual and homosexual married and unmarried couples as well as single men and women can apply to adopt. Married couples who have not been married for at least 3 years should consult with Spence-Chapin.

  • Family Composition: Families with 4 or more children will not be eligible to adopt from South Africa. South Africa requires that families adopt within birth order.

  • Medical: Identified medical conditions, including mental health diagnosis, will be considered on a case by case basis by the country’s Central Authority, the Department of Social Development.

Characteristics of children available for intercountry adoption: 

  • Gender: Male and Female*

  • Race/Ethnicity: Black South African, Zulu, Xhosa*

  • Ages: 0-10 years old at the time of referral.

  • Sibling groups: Siblings usually are not in need of intercountry adoption from South Africa.

  • Special Characteristics: All children placed through this program have special needs. The following needs have been identified by our foreign supervised provider as the most common needs of children waiting for adoption from South Africa: HIV and unknown or unpredictable developmental delays.

*Families are not permitted to gender or race specify. 

Predicted wait time to be matched with a child: 

  • Approximately 18-24 months after submission of the dossier.

Travel: 

  • In order to complete the adoption process, families must make one trip to South Africa of approximately 4-6 weeks in length. Couples must both travel to country and be present for finalization.


 

FAMILY STORY

Chris and Mary share their story of adopting their daughter from South Africa here.

 
 

Humanitarian Aid

In April 2011, we were delighted to open our first Granny Program in Africa at JCW’s Othandweni Family Care Center in Soweto. READ MORE

 

 

Read the Department of State adoption alerts about South Africa here.

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Adopt from Colombia

SPENCE-CHAPIN BEGAN ITS ADOPTION PROGRAM IN COLOMBIA IN 1994, when we were approved by Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF), the central authority for intercountry adoption.

Where Is Colombia | Waiting Child Process | View Waiting Children | Colombia Heritage


 


Waiting Child Process

Colombia is a Hague Convention Country. Colombia’s Central Authority that is responsible for all intercountry adoption matters is the Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (“ICBF”). Spence-Chapin’s foreign supervised provider in Colombia is Carmen Elena.

In Colombia, applicants to adopt must meet the following criteria:

  • Age: Up to 55. Applicants over 55 should consult with Spence-Chapin. If intending to adopt a child 0-8, applicants should be under 50.

  • Marital Status: Both heterosexual and homosexual married and unmarried couples as well as single men and women. Individuals with more than one divorce should consult with Spence-Chapin.

  • Medical: Identified medical conditions, including mental health diagnosis, will be considered on a case by case basis by the country’s Central Authority, Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar.

Characteristics of children available for intercountry adoption:

  • Gender: Male and Female*

  • Race/Ethnicity: Colombian, Afro-Colombian, Mestizo Colombian*

  • Ages: 0-10 years old at the time of referral. Sibling groups: Sibling groups of up to two on a case by case basis.

  • Special Characteristics: All children placed through this program have special needs. The following needs have been identified by our foreign supervised provider as the most common needs of children waiting for adoption from Colombia: unpredictable or unknown developmental delay, physical disabilities and down syndrome.

*Families are not permitted to gender or race specify.

This is a waiting child program. At this time, Spence-Chapin will only be recruiting families in the special needs program for specific waiting children. Please visit our waiting child page to learn more about waiting children in Colombia.

Approximate length of adoption process:

  • Since this is a waiting child program and families will be recruited for specific waiting children, there is no wait time to be matched with a child. Families applying to adopt a specific waiting child should be previously home studied or be willing to undergo additional pre-screening before entering the program since dossier submission must occur within 8 months of submitting a letter of intent to adopt a specific waiting child. The entire process is estimated to take 12-18 months.

Travel: 

  • In order to complete the adoption process, families will be required to make one trip to Colombia of approximately 4-6 weeks in length. Couples must both travel to country and be present for finalization in court.


Colombia Heritage

Colombia is a Hague Convention Country. Colombia’s Central Authority that is responsible for all intercountry adoption matters is the Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (“ICBF”). Spence-Chapin’s foreign supervised provider in Colombia is Carmen Elena.

In Colombia, applicants to adopt must meet the following criteria:

  • Age: Up to 55. Applicants over 55 should consult with Spence-Chapin. If intending to adopt a child 0-8, applicants should be under 50.

  • Marital Status: Both heterosexual and homosexual married and unmarried couples as well as single men and women. Individuals with more than one divorce should consult with Spence-Chapin.

  • Medical: Identified medical conditions, including mental health diagnosis, will be considered on a case by case basis by the country’s Central Authority, Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar.

  • Applicants applying to this program must have a Cedula.

Characteristics of children available for intercountry adoption:

  • Gender: Male and Female*

  • Race/Ethnicity: Colombian, Afro-Colombian, Mestizo Colombian*

  • Ages: 0-10 years old at the time of referral; families must at least be open to a specified age range of 0-4 yrs and 11 months at the time of referral

  • Sibling groups: Sibling groups of up to two on a case by case basis.

  • Special Characteristics: Children adopted through this program may have no identified special needs and a potential for normal growth and development.

*Families are not permitted to gender or race specify.

Predicted wait time to be matched with a child:

  • Approximately 18-24 months after dossier submission.

Travel:

  • In order to complete the adoption process, families will be required to make one trip to Colombia of approximately 4-6 weeks in length. Couples must both travel to country and be present for finalization in court.


Read the Department of State adoption alerts about Colombia here.

Adopt from Bulgaria

This program is open and accepting applications

SPENCE-CHAPIN BEGAN ITS ADOPTION PROGRAM IN BULGARIA IN 1995. Every month we hear about new children who are ready for adoption. 

Where Is Bulgaria | View Waiting Children | Waiting Child Process


Where is Bulgaria?

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Waiting Child Process

Bulgaria is a Hague Convention Country. Bulgaria’s Central Authority that is responsible for all intercountry adoption matters is the Ministry of Justice. Spence-Chapin’s foreign supervised provider in Bulgaria is ANIDO.

This is a waiting child program. At this time, Spence-Chapin will only be recruiting families in this program for specific waiting children. Please visit our waiting child page to learn more about waiting children in Bulgaria.

In Bulgaria, applicants to adopt must meet the following criteria:

  • Age: Up to 55. Applicants over 55 should consult with Spence-Chapin. Applicants should be at least 15 years older than the child they intend to adopt.

  • Marital Status: Heterosexual married and unmarried couples as well as single men and women. At this time Bulgaria does not recognize adoptions by LGBTQ couples.

  • Medical: Identified medical conditions, including mental health diagnosis, will be considered on a case by case basis by the foreign country’s Central Authority, the Ministry of Justice.

Characteristics of children available for intercountry adoption:

  • Gender: Male and Female*

  • Ages: 0-10 years old at the time of referral

  • Race/Ethnicity: Bulgarian, Turkish, Roma*

  • Sibling groups: Sibling groups of up to two on a case by case basis.

  • Special Characteristics: All children placed through this program have special needs. The following needs have been identified by our foreign supervised provider as the most common needs of children waiting for adoption from Bulgaria: unpredictable or unknown developmental delay, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalous, microcephaly, epilepsy, polymalformative syndrome, blindness, spina bifida, autism spectrum disorder, and down syndrome.

*Families are not permitted to gender specify.

Approximate length of adoption process:

  • Since this is a waiting child program and families will be recruited for specific waiting children, there is no wait time to be matched with a child. Families applying to adopt a specific waiting child should be previously home studied or be willing to undergo additional pre-screening before entering the program since dossier submission must occur within 6 months of submitting a letter of intent to adopt a specific waiting child. The entire process is estimated to take 12-18 months.

Travel:

  • In order to complete the adoption process, families will be required to make two (2) trips to Bulgaria of approximately 1-2 weeks each in length. The second trip may only require one parent to travel.


Read the Department of State adoption alerts about Bulgaria here.

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International Adoption Fees

 

On February 1, 2018, the US Department of State and the Accrediting Entity, Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (“IAAME”), implemented a new fee structure applicable to all Adoption Service Providers (US Adoption Agencies.) This $500.00 “Monitoring and Oversight” fee will apply to all international adoption cases. IAAME will collect the $500.00 fee from Spence-Chapin for each application accepted and approved by Spence-Chapin and will require regular and ongoing reporting on all cases. As such, clients will be required to pay the $500.00 as described above in addition to all other program fees. The Monitoring and Oversight fee is a one-time, mandatory fee for all approved clients and it is non-refundable. This fee applies to all clients applying to our South Africa, Colombia, Colombia Heritage, or Bulgaria program, whether local or networking.

IAAME is also requiring an additional $500.00 payment per child if and when a client family accepts a referral of more than one child. In its efforts to remain child-focused and reduce barriers to international adoption, Spence-Chapin is committed to absorbing the cost of any additional “per child” cost after the initial monitoring fee has been paid.

For more information on Monitoring and Oversight fees, please visit the Department of State website here and here.

 

Pre-Adoption Coaching

 

We offer emotional support throughout the adoption process! Coaching sessions are available for anyone before or during their adoption process. A coaching session is an opportunity for you to speak one-on-one with one of our skilled social workers in our office or on the phone. Families come in to discuss a variety of topics, including: is adoption the right choice for my family, preparing to adopt a child of a different race, emotional support during the wait, and helping spouses who aren’t on the same page about adoption decisions.

 

Families Outside of New York and New Jersey

Our adoption team has a long history of working with families living across the United States. Spence-Chapin collaborates with established adoption agencies to assist families in completing an international home study in their home state.