El Salvador Adoption Program

Illien Adoptions International, Inc. is licensed by the El Salvador Institute for Children and Adolescents (ISNA: Instituto de Niñez y Adolescencia) to assist US citizen families in the adoption of children from El Salvador. We are currently working with waiting children in this country. El Salvador and the United States are parties to the Hague Convention. Therefore, all available children for adoption must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee in order for him or her to qualify for a visa to enter the United States. For more information about the Hague Convention, please refer to the US Department of State’s adoption website.

Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents

  • Married couples are given priority over single persons.
  • Couples should: have been married for more than 5 years; be financially, mentally, morally, and physically able to provide for their adopted child; receive adoption training; be 25 years old; and have an age difference of no less than fifteen years older than the child.
  • Single persons are allowed to adopt if they are at least 25 years old and 15 years older than the child.
  • Exceptions may be made to all of these requirements.

The Children Eligible for Adoption in El Salvador

  • The population of El Salvador is ethnically and culturally homogeneous. The majority of Salvadorians are of Mestizo background (a mix between European and Amerindian ethnicities). In addition to the Mestizo majority, the Amerindian people make up a smaller population. Children available for intercountry adoption are representative of all ethnic groups.
  • Salvadorian officials are committed to finding families for children with special needs. Many of the special needs of these children are considered minor and manageable by US adoptive families. Birth defects such as heart murmur, missing limbs, clubbed foot, cleft lip and cleft palate are operable or treatable; other conditions such as seizures, diabetes, HIV/AIDS are manageable and treatable. These children would not be able to receive the care that they need in their country of birth without family support and these children are not adopted locally.
  • There are also older children and sibling groups of all sizes who need permanent families.
  • We encourage US prospective adoptive families to have an open mind and consider all of these children who probably will not have a chance to have an adoptive family in their country of birth.
  • In general, the Salvadorian government gives the highest preference for children under 5 years of age to people of Salvadorian descent but exceptions may be made when the child has some special needs. Illien Adoptions International, Inc. does not accept applications for “healthy” children in any program because all children who have been institutionalized have some needs, which may not be readily visible, such as lack of stimulation, emotional needs, and diagnosed or undiagnosed medical problems. Understanding the special needs of institutionalized children is a requirement of parent preparation for intercountry adoption. Illien Adoptions encourages prospective adoptive parents to be flexible about the parameters of the child or children they are seeking to adopt.

Timeframe To Adopt from El Salvador

Time frames for international adoptions are never certain because there are many factors that contribute to the time an adoption process may take. One key factor is the profile of the child prospective adoptive families are open to adopt. Families who seek to adopt a child under age 5 without some medical issues will wait longer for a match than a family who is open to adopt a sibling group of any size or a child of any age who may have some special needs. These preferences affect the time that a family may wait for a referral from the Office for Adoptions.

Travel to El Salvador

The average stay for Prospective Adoptive Parents in El Salvador is from 2 to 3 weeks. Both prospective adoptive parents are required to travel to El Salvador. The judge will evaluate the parents’ information submitted with their dossier such as their economic situation, psychological reports, and additional qualifications. Once an adoption decree is issued, only one parent is required to remain in El Salvador to attend the visa appointment at the US Embassy in San Salvador and to accompany the child home.

How To Learn More About or Begin the Adoption Process for El Salvador

First, if you are interested in learning more about our El Salvador Program and our agency, go to our website's "How To Get Started" inquiry page. This is a form that helps us respond to your questions more efficiently, and there is no cost or obligation. Please fill it out completely, click on SUBMIT, and your inquiry will be directed to our agency’s El Salvador Program Coordinator who will respond to you soon after.

For more information about El Salvador Adoptions please go to the following link: More Information on Adopting from El Salvador  

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