Dutch family stuck in Colombia hotel

7th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Colombian authorities have prevented a Dutch family from travelling back to the Netherlands because of a procedural dispute concerning the adoption of one of the children.

Two weeks ago, Marco and Brigitta Neervoort wanted to return from their summer holidays in Colombia with their two adopted sons, aged 10 and 8. Both boys are originally Colombian.

They were stopped by immigration in Bogotá because the surname in the Dutch passport of eight-year-old Ruben did not match the one in his Colombian passport.

Second adoption Originally, Ruben had been adopted by another Dutch couple, but that didn’t work out. The Neervoorts then legally adopted him, following official Dutch procedures. Colombia does not recognise the Dutch procedure and says Ruben should first have been handed back to the authorities before a re-adoption took place.

The family had hoped that the matter would be resolved on Tuesday following a meeting with the national child welfare agency. But the official documents which the Dutch couple had translated were insufficient for Colombian immigration.

Children missing school “Tension is beginning to mount,” says father Marco Neervoort. “The children should have gone back to school yesterday. I don’t see that happening this week, or next week either. They understand the situation, but we’re still here. The hotel isn’t exactly cheap either.”

The Dutch consulate in Bogotá has been supportive. But Mr Neervoort is worried that even if the right documents are produced, immigration will stop them again. “The pile of stamped documents might be worth nothing then.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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