At the heart of adoption is a conviction, one that sets your feet in motion. Good intentions are not enough to navigate this road, but with good directions and signage you will make it to your destination safely.
Grace Wanunda of Adoption is Beautiful – Kenya, shared a step-by-step guide to help anyone who wants to adopt in Kenya.
The Adoption Agency
- Identify an authorized Adoption Agency to work with.
- Visit the Agency for initial interview. They will ask you why you want to adopt, at this point feel free to ask as many questions as you like about all the aspects of adoption e.g costs, what it entails, procedure, home study, placement, foster and the legal process.
- You will be required to fill forms, attache relevant documents as requested by Agency and return within the shortest time possible.
- A social worker will visit your home and file a report if the environment is conducive for the child.
- You pay the facilitation fee to the Agency.
- Attend counseling as directed by the Agency.
- Your documents are presented to the Case Committee.
- You are approved or deferred, your Agency will advise you in writing.
- Matching and placement is done by your Agency
The Foster Period
- The duration of the first 3 months that you have the baby at home is known as the Foster Period. During this time you visit the Agency twice and give a report on how you are bonding with the baby. Feel free to raise anything that you would want the social worker to know concerning the baby. The social worker will visit you again to see how the baby is doing at home. He/she will file a report on the same.
- If you’ve bonded well with the baby during the 3 months you can start the legal process of Adoption.
The Legal Process (Adoption)
- You can represent yourself or hire a lawyer if you are not conversant with the legal process.
- The first appearance is appointment of Guardian Ad Litem – This has to be a parent, they can either be your friend, relative or a social worker. This person should be very familiar with your journey as she/he is expected to write a report and file with the court on why they feel you should be allowed to adopt the baby.
- The court will ask the Children’s Department officer in writing to visit you, see how you have bonded with child, write a report and file it in court within a period of time. You are expected to follow them up and make sure that they make the visit within the expected time.
- The Legal Guardian should be a couple married by law, they are expected to swear before the court that should you die before the child is 18 years, they will stand in for you and take care of the child until the child attains maturity.
- The Agency that declared the child free for adoption is expected to appear before the court and explain why they declared the child free for adoption and why they think its in the best interest of the child for you to adopt them.
- The Judge will study all the documents presented and give consent for you to be the legal parent of the child. The parental rights of the biological parents are terminated thereof.
- The Judge will issue you with a court order and a copy of the judgment.
- Your lawyer will apply for the adoption certificate, where the child is entered into Adopted Persons Register.
- You can apply for the birth certificate in your name.
The requirements for adopting a baby:
You must be
- A Kenya citizen
- 25 years and above
- 21 years older than the child you want to adopt
- Have a home, rented or owner occupier
- Of sound mind
- Free from criminal records
Also note that:
- A single female applicant can only adopt a girl, unless under special circumstances and vice versa.
- Married couples must be married for three years and above, they can adopt any sex. They need to work as a team.
- Your medical report – HIV and Urine tests are mandatory (People living with HIV can adopt)
- Financial proof that you can take care of a child, e.g salary slip/bank statement/business ownership etc
To ease the experience, please avoid,
- Soliciting a child from anyone other than legal adoption agencies. This includes relatives.
- Offering money to buy a child.
- Adopting without a ‘Free-to-adopt’ declaration by a legal or authorized adoption agency.
- Working with a lawyer who is not well acquainted with the adoption process as this may cause unnecessary delays.
Ensure that you get written parental consent from the parent or relative giving out their child for adoption.
If you feel for any reason that you have not bonded well with the child, please feel free to talk to your agency or social worker.
You are free to do a medical test on the child you are adopting, before you commit to take the child.
When choosing a legal guardian, choose someone you can trust, they are your child’s second parents.
It’s important to note that not everyone who supports you right now is for your child. Write a will and include your child in it prior to your demise, this will reduce the chances of him/her suffering in the hands of relatives.
Every Adoptee has a right to know who they were before adoption, feel free to walk them through the journey, if you don’t tell them, someone will do and they might not tell them in the right way. It can lead to rebellion!
If you would like someone to hold your hand as you walk this journey, please give Grace a call via 254-724-841-245.