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Home to 11.7 million people, Ecuador is the smallest nation in the Andean highlands of South America. From the capital of Quito, you are less than a day’s drive from Amazonian rainforests, snow-capped volcanoes, and sun-baked tropical beaches. Although home to large Inca settlements well into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Spanish conquistadors were very efficient at demolishing the Inca civilization in Ecuador. Today, only one intact Inca site remains in Ecuador - Ingapirca, to the north of Cuenca. Following the success of the conquistadors, Spain ruled Ecuador until independence was finally achieved by Simón Bolívar in 1822.

After much negative publicity generated by a case of child smuggling in 1986, Ecuadorian laws regarding international adoptions were changed in an attempt to better provide for the best interests of Ecuadorian children. All Ecuadorian adoptions by U.S. citizens must be processed through U.S. based adoption agencies which are legally authorized to deal with Ecuadorian adoption agencies or private attorneys.

Although children are sometimes released to the custody of prospective adoptive parents, a final adoption decree must be issued by an Ecuadorian court before the child is permitted to leave the country. Depending on the adoption agency, some children available for adoption from Ecuador are in foster care, while other children live in orphanages.

Credits: The International Adoption Guidebook, Mary M. Strickert

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