How to adopt a child in Africa? Your perfect guide is here!

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Are you planning to grow your family via adoption? Read on to learn how to adopt a child in Africa.

The truth is, adopting a child in Africa will not be easy at all. But hold on, will you. The long process will be worth it in the end. You’ll be happy to go home with a new addition to your family once all the stress is over.

how to adopt a child in Africa

Before you proceed to the adoption centre to start the process, there are a few things you should know beforehand. Knowing how to adopt a child in Africa will ease the stress, so arm yourself with knowledge before you go!

Before you adopt a child in Nigeria

You may choose to adopt a child and raise them in love because that is the right thing to do, but unfortunately, it doesn’t mean everyone around you will welcome your adopted child. Admittedly, attitudes about adoption are changing and people are more open to it these days. Influential people are talking openly about adopting, helping to remove the stigma that was attached to it before. The media has also been amazing when it comes to creating awareness.

That notwithstanding, you should expect some pushback. Before you adopt a child in Nigeria, as yourself these question: Can I protect this child from mean comments? Will I love this child unconditionally and make them always feel wanted? If you answered no to those questions, you might want to think about your decision some more.

how to adopt a child in Africa

Who can you adopt in Nigeria?

If you want to adopt a specific child, you must first of all get legal temporary custody of the child before you file. However, you should know that not every child you see in the orphanage is eligible for adoption. Some of them have birth parents at home who can’t afford to raise them for the time being. Every step of the adoption process must pass through the court. Those who try to rush the process by using illegal adoption channels can be arrested and tried for child trafficking.

Things to know before you adopt a child in Nigeria

• There are 36 states in Nigeria, so adoption laws vary from state to state
• When it comes to adoption in Nigeria, your marital status doesn’t matter—prospective parents may be married or single
• Each state has age requirements for prospective parents; in some states you are allowed to adopt from the age of 21 while some states require the parents to adopt if they are 25 and above
• Your income matters; the courts will determine if you are making enough money to afford to care for the child
• The civil court is responsible for adoption in Nigeria
• In Abuja, families need to know how to adopt a child in Africa because they can only adopt in Nigeria if one of the parents is a Nigerian
• You will have to foster the child for some time before the adoption is approved; the length varies from state to state.
• At the national level, adoptions are regulated by the Adoption Law Act of 1965

how to adopt a child in Africa

How to adopt a child in Africa: things you need for your adoption application in Nigeria

• Couples must present a marriage certificate or a document showing a declaration of marriage
• Two passport-sized photographs
• Each applicant must submit a document showing a declaration of birth or birth certificates
• A certificate of fitness from a government-approved hospital
• Other documents as required by the civil court

After you submit your adoption application

Presenting these documents is just the first step. After this, the matter is out of your hands and the civil court will:

1. Investigate your application
Social welfare officers will run a background check to find out if the applicant is suitable for adoption

2. Appoint a guardian for the child
It is important for the court to appoint a suitable guardian for the child. The person handling this position could be a social worker or anyone the court thinks will fight for the child’s best interests.

3. Propose monitored foster care
A 3-month closely-monitored foster care allows the social workers to assess the relationship between the child and the applicants. This is also the best time to establish a parent-child relationship.

4. Receive a report from the child’s welfare officers
The welfare officer or social worker will write a report about the child’s adjustment to their new family. If they note that the child is fully settled, this can influence a positive final outcome.

5. Provide a leave of court
Once the prospective parents have successfully met every requirement, they are given a leave of court to reflect their new legal status as the child’s parents.

6. Write a letter to the Immigration Officer
The welfare officer must present a letter to the immigration officer to inform the authorities that the parents have the legal right to apply for a passport to take the child out of the country whenever they want.

7. Register the adoption
Every adoption gets registered in the Adoption Register.

How to adopt a child in Africa as a foreigner

Nigeria is not a member of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, meaning non-Nigerian can’t legally adopt Nigerian children. However, US citizens can adopt a child in Nigeria if they also have Nigerian citizenship.

The US Government has to certify that the couple is eligible for adoption before they can start the procedure. Intending US parents are not exempt from the foster requirement. They must make plans to be present in Nigeria to establish a parent-child relationship before the adoption is finalized.

Resources: Adoption.Com

Travel.State.Gov

Also Read: Life expectancy in Nigeria as a parent

Written by

Julie Adeboye