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A New Zealand Intercountry Adoption Agency Accredited under the Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997

About the Chile Programme, including Eligibility Criteria

Compassion for Orphans was first accredited as an adoption agency in 2006 by the Chilean Central Authority. Since that time, the procedures have been continuously improved which has resulted in a robust and well developed programme.


Eligibility requirements and other criteria for adopting from Chile:

  • Approvals
    The New Zealand Central Authority must approve the applicants.

  • Citizenship
    The applicants must be habitually resident in New Zealand. One of the applicants must be either born in New Zealand or a New Zealand Citizen. If the applicant is a New Zealand Citizen by descent they must apply first to become a full New Zealand Citizen. Permanent residents can adopt but there is a different process.

  • Age of applicants
    Applicants must be aged between 25 and 60 years and at least 20 years older than the child to be adopted.

  • Applicant couples
    Couples must be legally married for two years (except where one of the applicants is infertile, in which case there is no minimum duration of marriage required). Same-sex couples cannot adopt from Chile. Applicants must learn enough of the Spanish language to be able to communicate with the child.

  • Previously divorced applicant(s)
    If either applicant has been previously divorced a copy of the divorce decree is required.

  • Single applicants
    Single applicants are not accepted.

  • Religion
    Not a criterion.

  • Infertility
    Not a criterion.

  • Health
    Couples must be in good health, both physically and mentally. If either applicant has any disabling illness or life endangering illness, they will not be considered.

  • Number of children in the family
    There is no set limit on the number of biological or adopted children, each case is considered individually. However, if the applicants have more than 3 children, the Chilean Central Authority's (SENAME) position is that they will be disadvantaged because SENAME gives priority to applicants that do not have any children at all (who are the majority of the applicants) or who only have one other child. SENAME’s reasoning for this where applicants do not have any children is that the adopted child, being the first child of the family, will be doted on and this would be beneficial given the deficiencies of the child. Chile does not allow adoption of a child older than any current children the applicants may already have. The age difference between the youngest biological child and the adopted child needs to be one and a half to two years.

  • Description and age of children
    Children aged 5 and over in the care of the State. Only one child may be adopted at a time unless a sibling group. Siblings (the definition includes non blood brothers and sisters who have developed close relationships in the institution) will not be separated except under extraordinary circumstances where provision must be made for them to remain in contact. A child younger than 5 years may be adopted but only if part of a sibling group (the maximum age of the older child in the sibling group must be stated) or that child has a disability or special medical need. As with many countries, there is likely to be a preference not to place adolescent boys in the same home as adolescent girls or with younger girls, or to place adolescent or younger girls in the same home as adolescent boys.

  • Waiting time
    The estimated waiting time once applicants have been registered on SENAME's database to receiving a matching proposal is 12-24 months. The wider the range of age, gender and number of children applied for reduces the waiting time.

  • Travel requirements
    Both applicants are required to travel and the length of stay in Chile is approximately 7-10 weeks. Both applicants are expected to stay for the duration and this is viewed as an important part of the bonding process. Under exceptional circumstances, one of the applicants may remain in Chile after the adoption order is granted with a Power of Attorney to obtain exit clearance and travel with the child.

  • Post placement reports
    Following the placement Chile requires six monthly post placement reports for four years.

  • The importance of learning some Spanish
    Sename strongly recommends that prospective adoptive parents learn some Spanish prior to travelling to Chile so that the child can communicate his or her basic needs.

Our detailed information evenings, which are held online, offer more information about the process and provide the opportunity for you to ask questions and discuss the process interactively with the presenter. Click here for details on how to view a Pre –Recorded Webinar on the process and frequently asked questions.