Taking in a new member into your family may sometimes prove to be a hard task. Apart from being overwhelmed with excitement, paperwork can prove to be really tiresome, and some, a long process. Well, for your own legal rights and responsibilities to the child and the interest of the child, the law requires you to meet a few things before you can adopt a child in Kenya. First, you need to figure out how to begin the adoption process, what’s the procedure of adopting a child and find out if you meet the requirements for adopting a child in Kenya, both for citizens and foreigners who wish to adopt a child.
What are the requirements for adopting a child in Kenya?
- Children must be at least 6 weeks old and declared free for adoption by a registered society.
- Any child who is resident in Kenya must be adopted whether or not the child is a Kenyan citizen, was or was not born in Kenya.
- Adoption order cannot be granted unless the child concerned has been in the continuous care of the adopting couple for more than three consecutive months preceding the filing of the applications and both the child and the applicant(s) may be evaluated and assessed by a registered adoption society in Kenya.
- One of the applicants must be more than 25 years old and more than 21 years older than the infant and less than 65 years old. The applicants could also be a relative or one of the parents.
CONSENTS REQUIRED IN ADOPTION PROCESS
Adoption cannot be processed without certain consent. Like any other agreement, it requires consent from different parties as listed below;
- From the existing parents, guardians or anyone else contributing to the maintenance of the child under any agreement or order.
- Parents or guardian(s) of the mother of the child in case she (mother) is a minor.
- Step-father who has acquired parental responsibility.
- On the application of one of the spouses with the consent of the other spouse.
- In case of foreigners not residing in Kenya, the consent of a competent jurisdiction or a government authority situated in the country where both or one of the spouses ordinarily resides, permitting the spouses to adopt a foreign child.
- In case of a child who has attained the age of 14 years with the consent of the child.
No body of persons shall make any arrangements for the adoption of a child under the provisions of Children Act unless that body is registered as an adoption society under the Act. (Children Act, 2001)
How long does the adoption process take?
Bearing in mind that the adopting couple must reside in Kenya with the child for at least three months before the legal procedure begins, the time an average adoption process takes is about 6 months.
CHECKLIST FOR DOCUMENTS REQUIRED
- Home study report of the foreign adoptive parents prepared by a professional social worker.
- Recent photographs of the adoptive family.
- Marriage certificate of foreign adoptive parents.
- Declaration concerning health of adoptive parents.
- Certificate of medical fitness of adoptive parents duly certified by a medical doctor.
- Declaration regarding financial status of foreign adoptive parents along with supporting documents including employer’s certificate, where applicable.
- Employment certificate where applicable, of foreign adoptive parents.
- Income tax assessment order of foreign adoptive parents.
- Bank references
- Particulars of properties owned by the foreign adoptive parents.
- Declaration from foreign adoptive parents stating willingness to adopt the child.
- Undertaking from the social or child welfare enlisted agency sponsoring the foreigner to the effect that child would be legally recognized as a citizen of the adopter’s country without any form of discrimination and that the child would be entitled to the same rights as those of citizens of that country.
- Undertaking from the foreign adoptive parents that adopted child would be provided necessary education and upbringing according to the status of adoptive parents.
- Undertaking from the social and child welfare enlisted agency that report relating to progress of the child along with his/her recent photograph would be sent quarterly during first two years and half yearly for the next three to CWSK.
- Power of Attorney from the foreign adoptive parents in favor of CWSK which will be required to process the case and such Power of Attorney should authorize the Attorney to handle the cases on behalf of the foreigner in case the foreigner is not in a position to come to Kenya during the initial stages of the adoption. But note that the Kenyan law requires that both the minor being adopted and the adoptive parent/s MUST be resident in Kenya for at least three consecutive months before the legal process begins and both MUST also be present during the court hearing for the adoption.
- Certificate from the enlisted social or child welfare agency sponsoring application of the foreigner to the effect that adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child according to the law of their country.
Once you have ascertained that you have all the legal requirements for adopting a child, you can begin your adoption process. Read about the adoption process here, and in case you need any help, we are your partner in growth.