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Questions About Colombia

Citizenship

If you have been adopted in the US by a family with US Citizenship, then you automatically are eligible for US Citizenship (some exceptions may occur). However, you or your family must apply to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to obtain a certificate of Citizenship if you were adopted before the year 2000 (after the year 2000, the certificate is supposed to be automatically sent to you). 

In any event, make sure that you have this lifelong proof of your US Citizenship gained through adoption. For information on the current process, see the US State Department website or the US Citizenship and Immigration Service website

There also is a fact sheet on the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 which explains this well on the US Citizenship and Immigration Service website.

A frequently asked question from families and adoptees is: “Do I retain my Colombian citizenship even if I have become a naturalized United States citizen?” The answer, from Colombia’s standpoint is “yes!” Unless you have specifically renounced your Colombian citizenship, you continue to be a Colombian citizen.  

For a discussion of citizenship, read the Colombian Embassy website. Colombia encourages all Colombian citizens to use a Colombian passport when traveling to and from Colombia, although you can also travel using your US passport. Your designated Colombian Consulate can provide more information.

Click here for a list of Colombian Consulate locations.

Adoption Records

Adoption records are officially confidential in Colombia as described above. On occasion, the orphanage has some background information on a particular child and may be willing to share it with adoptees over the age of 18 during a visit to the orphanage. Younger children need to be accompanied by their adoptive parents. These policies vary depending upon the orphanage involved.

In general, there is less information available to children (young adults) who were adopted in the early years of Colombian adoption than is available to those children adopted more recently. This is probably due to changing requirements for documentation from Bienestar or possibly the retention practices of the orphanages. In any event, there are always exceptions to the rule and it is still worth asking if you are interested in your past records.

Orphanage Information

Are you adopted from an orphanage other than FANA? A list of active orphanages in Colombia which have made and continue to make placements in the US is available under the discussion of Colombian Adoption on the US Department of State website

The Colombian Embassy website’s consular section also lists the contact information for authorized orphanages as well as for Bienestar.

Visits to FANA

FANA welcomes adoptees to visit the orphanage and spend a day with the children. Adoptees under 18 generally need to be with their adoptive parents. Young adult adoptees are welcome to visit for a short time or even to volunteer to work at FANA over a longer period of time. 

FANA has dormitory space for volunteers and offers volunteers free room and board in exchange for your assistance. However, the orphanage itself is in a suburb of Bogotá and has limited after-hours activities. When you are not helping/volunteering at FANA, there also are options for places to stay in Bogotá where you can enjoy more of the daily life of the capital. For more information, contact FANA at fanadop@hotmail.com.

Other Connections

There are numerous other ways for you to connect with your Latin American roots, even if you aren’t ready for a trip to Colombia. One possibility is to take a language course or attend a culture/language camp in the United States or abroad. See the section on Spanish Language and Culture under Local Colombian Culture.

If you are interested in a service project in a Central American or South American country, programs are available. Be careful that the program is truly a non-profit with a desire to serve the local population, rather than just raising money for the sponsoring organization. Numerous programs are available. Please check out references from previous participants as well as non-profit status of any of these international ventures before committing to join them.

  • Amigos de Las Americas is an international non-profit that offers community service opportunities in Latin American countries to high school and college students. Local training is offered during the year with six- to eight-week projects in country during the summer.
  • University of the Andes (“Los Andes”), in Bogotá, is a well-regarded private university where some adoptees from Colombia have chosen to spend a semester or more studying