Adoption is one of the most selfless choices a person can make to start a family or add a new member to their existing family. There are several reasons someone may want to adopt a child. They may want to give the child a stable home or experience parenting. Whatever the reasons might be, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the adoption process in order to have a smoother experience.
In Kenya, adoption is fairly uncommon due to the misconception that it’s a complex process. Adoption may involve a rigorous process to ensure the adoptive parent is capable of taking care of the child. However, the process is transparent and straightforward. It’s covered under the Children’s Act and The Constitution which not only states the process but also the laws surrounding child adoption in Kenya.
Here’s a breakdown of adoption in Kenya.
The first thing you need to consider when you’re thinking of adopting a child is whether you’re eligible. Generally, all adult Kenyan citizens of a sane mind can adopt. The applicant must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child. This means you can’t adopt a 15-year-old if you’re 25 years old. Additionally, people older than 65 years old are not eligible to adopt a child in Kenya. The age limit can be reconsidered if the applicant is related to the child.
The child must be at least 6 weeks old and declared free to adopt by an adoption agency. You can also adopt any child who resides in Kenya regardless of whether they are a citizen or not.
Couples who wish to adopt must have been in a marital relationship for at least 3 years. It’s possible to adopt if you’re single as well. However, a single male or a single female applicant cannot adopt a child of the opposite gender. They are also subject to a stricter vetting process to ensure the child is placed in a safe environment. Single foreign female and male applicants cannot adopt a child according to the Children’s Act.
Some of the other people who are not eligible to adopt a child in Kenya include:
- Someone of unsound mind under the Mental Health Act
- A convict of any sexual offense, immoral behaviour, and unnatural offenses
- A gay person
- Unmarried joint applicants
You can only make an application to adopt the said child if they have been in your care for at least 3 months consecutively.
If the child is above 14 years old, they need to give their consent to be adopted.
You also need the consent of the guardians or parents, if any, who have responsibility for the child. In a case where the child was born out of wedlock to an underage mother, you need the consent of the mother’s parents or guardians.
A spouse will also need the consent of the other spouse when they’re making the application alone. This is in a case where one spouse is not the parent of the child, whether biological or adoptive and wishes to become their parent.
If the parent or guardian of the child is untraceable, persistently mistreated the child, neglected the child, or fails to attend court proceedings for the purpose of giving their consent, the court may approve the adoption application without the needed consent.
Assessment & Placement
Once an adoption hopeful is ready to start the process, the parents of the child to be adopted should place the child at the disposal of a registered adoption society. The parents or guardians then get an explanatory memorandum that they must sign and return to the center. Once this is concluded, the center takes the child in.
If the child is already under the care of an adoption society, the applicant doesn’t need to trace the parents. The applicant will then forward their application to the adoption society who after receiving it, allocates a social worker to the case. The social worker makes an appointment to visit the applicant’s home in order to determine the suitability of their environment for the child.
After the home visit, the social worker makes a report of their assessment which will be used to either approve or deny the adoption application. The adoption society also makes arrangements to obtain a medical report on the health of both the child and the applicant. A counselor will be assigned to the applicants to explain what it means to adopt a child. He also prepares a report which he submits to the case committee.
The case committee considers the application, social worker’s report, counselor’s report, and medical report to determine whether to approve or deny the application. If they choose to defer the application, the committee must give written reasons.
Once the application is approved, the applicant must read and understand the explanatory memorandum for adopters then sign the certificate of acknowledgment.
The child is then placed under the care of the applicant. A representative from the adoption society makes a visit to the home during the first month and at least once every three months thereafter. After this, the adopter is then free to make an application to the court for an adoption order.
Children matters take place in Chambers to protect the identity of the child. Additionally, the court has the power to approve or reject their application. If rejected, the applicants may appeal the decision. If granted, the adoption order is registered by the Registrar-General through making an entry in the Adopted Children Register.
- The child’s birth certificate
- If the child is a school going child, a copy of the school progress report
- A children officers report
- Death certificate for deceased parents of the child
- Chief’s letter
- Copies of identification documentation of prospective adoptive parents
- Marriage certificate for the couple wishing to adopt
- Medical report of the adoptive parent
- Proof of financial statuses such as bank statements and payslips
- Proof of home ownership
- Birth certificates of any children the adoptive parent may have
- Certificates of good conduct
Where Can You Adopt
- Buckner Kenya Adoption Services
Address: Hurlingharm, Nairobi, Kenya. Off Lenana Road, Plot No. 10
Phone: +254202713001, +254733713001, +254710287302
- Kenya Children’s Home
Address: P.O. Box 44261-00100 Langata Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 00254 6001 922, 00254 6002 002
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Child Welfare Society of Kenya
- New Life Home Trust
Location: Nakuru, Kisumu, Nyeri, and Nairobi.
Phone: +254 722 406 064
- Child Welfare Society of Kenya
Address: Child Welfare Building Langata Road, P.O. BOX 43982-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 0206003301 / 6006391
- Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative
Address: Kogo Star Plaza, Upper Ground Floor, Suite 14, Maai Mahiu Road (Next to Langata/Mbagathi Roundabout)
P.O. Box 30906, GPO 00100 Nairobi
Phone: +254 206 004 461
Mobile:, +254 725 475 208, +254 734 257 334
- Little Gems Agency
Address: PO Box 23 North Kinangop, Kenya
Phone: 050 502321, 0722801422
- Little Angels Network
Address: Wood Avenue – Kindaruma Road Junction Off Ngong Road Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 0724 941326
The cost of adoption varies depending on the adoption society, legal fees, and other expenses. However, most agencies charge around Ksh 12,500, and legal fees cost between Ksh 30,000 to Ksh 70,000.
According to the Employment Act, an adoptive parent who is an employee is entitled to one month’s pre-adoptive leave with full pay from the date of the placement of the child. The employee should notify the employer in writing of the intention of the adoption society to place the child in their custody at least fourteen days before the placement of the child.