International Spotlight: Dominican Republic

 

Dominican Republic’s population has been steadily increasing each year. In 2020, the country’s population was roughly 11 million people with a poverty rate of 15.2%, meaning that 1.7 million of Dominican Republic’s people were living in poverty. The majority of Dominicans living in poverty also live in rural areas with little access to care and resources (macrotrends.net). Socioeconomic inequality among women, corruption, natural disasters, and an increasing population seems to be the main causes of poverty in the country (borgenproject.org). Among this poverty-stricken population are thousands of children that become neglected, abused, or abandoned every year due to the family’s inability to provide proper care for their children. These children are in need of safe, loving and nurturing homes; however, most of them find themselves institutionalized until they age out or are adopted. Typically, the Dominican Republic will prioritize domestic adoption before a child becomes eligible for international adoption. Dominican children that are not adopted domestically are then placed for international adoption by Consejo Nacional Para La Ninez Y La Adolescencia, (CONANI). CONANI is Dominican Republic’s central adoption authority, or the entity that oversees the adoption of children in need of families.

All children who become eligible for international adoption in the Dominican Republic have some type of medical or psychological need. Mild to severe special needs range in each age group. However there are older children and sibling groups that are considered special needs, but may not have a medical or psychological need.  These children are considered harder to place. Typical needs of children who are eligible for international adoption include blood related disorders, meningitis, diseases of the eyes, asthma, autism, and children with neurodevelopmental and/or psychomotor delays. Medical care for certain conditions may not be available in Dominican Republic’s health care system, as a result it is not always easy for the country to provide the sufficient care for children with significant needs. While the country’s healthcare system is the most advanced in the Caribbean, it is still not suitable for children in need of ongoing treatment and routine check-ups (borgenproject.org).

Currently, Nightlight’s Dominican Republic program has thirty-three children waiting for a forever family that are eligible for international adoption. The files of these children are available for potential adoptive parents to view on Nightlight’s Adoption Bridge website. Children eligible for international adoption from Dominican Republic have “DR” listed within their name on the website. Although Nightlight cannot post children’s photos on this website, the country does allow for limited access to children’s information online that includes general descriptions accompanied by their age and any identified needs. Eligible families can view their full file with photos upon request by e-mailing samantha@nightlight.org. Children listed on the website are immediately eligible for adoption once a family’s dossier is submitted to the country and they are matched by CONANI.

Additionally, there is a $500 grant available to the next family that adopts a waiting child from the Dominican Republic. If you are interested in adopting a child who is not on Adoption Bridge, we ask prospective adoptive parents to be open to children that are at least 6 or 7 years of age and/or have moderate special needs. Generally, sibling groups and older children eligible for adoption are generally healthy. To learn more about this program, you can submit an inquiry form here, and our Inquiry Team will reach out to share more.

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