Child Adoption is great! You promise to give a child who is not of your flesh and blood, shelter, love and warmth at no charge to the child now or the future.
By doing so, you create a relationship that is legally regulated and at the same time you may perhaps terminate an existing one. The adoption by law has the effect of transferring the parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents and terminating the parental rights of the birth parents.
Here are the legal considerations to take into account if you wish to embark on this process:
Adoptive Parent: What do you require?
1. For a couple that wishes to adopt you must have been in the marital relationship for at least three years.
2. A person who is married to the child’s parent with the other biological parent’s consent.
3. A single person between 25 and 65 years of age.
4. A relative to the child if the relative has been taking care of the child. This is known as Kinship adoption.
5. The age gap between the child and the adopting parent should be more than 21 years.
6. The adoptive parent and the child must be resident in Kenya for six months at the time of the proposed adoption.
7. The applicant should be in possession of the child granting continuous care for three months consecutively before submission of the application for the adoption order.
Adoptive Child: Who can be adopted?
The child must be below the age of 18 years and residing in Kenya may be adopted as long as;
● The child is abandoned and the whereabouts of the parents/guardians are unknown.
● The child is an orphan and there is no guardian/caregiver who is willing to take care of the child.
● The parents/guardians of the child have given consent for the child to be adopted (Parent Offer Adoptions).
● The child requires an alternative permanent placement.
Process: How does one Adopt?
One can only adopt through a registered and accredited Adoption Society. The stages of adoption are:
● Orientation Meeting
One visits the adoption society and makes enquiries. The adoption process and the requirements are explained. The adopting parent(s) fill and return the application forms.
● Home visit
The society looks into the whereabouts of the adopter(s) to know whether the needs of the child will be met. Some of the things that are checked are;
a. The reasons for wanting to adopt
b. The family situation of the adopters
c. Their home area security
d. The adopters’ expectations of the child i.e age, sex
● Matching and Placement
A social worker consults with the adopting parent(s) and arrangement to meet the child is made(Introduction and bonding period). If bonding is deemed successful, the child is released to the care of the adopter(s).
● Fostering period
The adopting parent(s) stay with the child for a period of three months. The social worker regularly drops by to check on the relationship between the parent(s) and the child. The social worker also looks at how well the child is adjusting to the new environment.
● Court phase
The Children’s court finalises on all the adoption matters. The ability to support and educate the child are examined by the court which may or may not allow the adoption. The social worker may give an opinion on the capability of the adoptive parent(s).
You can find information about Legal Procedures from Uwakili.
Related: Understanding Maternity Insurance