Adoption Laws and Requirements for Adoption of 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.
- Adoption order will not be done to
- Sole foreign applicant
- One or both applicants who is not of sound mind on the meaning of the mental health act
- Applicant(s) who have been charged and convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for or of any offence against children under Kenyan laws.
- Joint applicants not married to each other
- Sole Foreigners
- 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.
Guardian Ad Litem
Appointed by the court for the child pending the hearing and determination of the adoption application.
- Safeguard the interests of the child pending the determination of the adoption proceedings.
- Investigate and appraise the court as to the circumstances pertinent to the adoption of the child in the prescribed manner.
- Make recommendations as to the priority of making any interim orders or an adoption order in respect of the child.
- Intervene on behalf of the child and arrange for the care of the child in the event of the withdrawal of any consent.
- Undertake such duties as the court may direct.
Where arrangements for adoption of any child have been made by Child Welfare Society of Kenya, then neither the society nor any member thereof, shall be appointed guardian ad litem of the same child.
The appointment of a guardian ad litem expires upon the making of a final order by the court.
The couple must satisfy the court that the country where they ordinarily reside and where they expect to reside with the child immediately after adoption will respect and recognize the adoption order and will grant status to the child.
The couple must have been authorized and recommended as persons who are suitable (including being morally fit and financially capable) to adopt a foreign child by a competent government authority or court of competent jurisdiction in the country where they expect to reside with the child immediately after the making of the adoption order.
The court may impose such terms and conditions as it may think fit and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing it may: –
- Require the adopter by bond or otherwise to make think fit and without prejudice to the opinion of the court just and expedient.
- Require the adopted to accept supervision by and advise from an adoption society specified by the court for such period as the court may specify.
- Where the consent to the making of an adoption order is conditioned upon the child being brought up in a particular religious’ persuasion, require the infant to be brought up in that persuasion.
- Where the adopted is not a resident of Kenya, require him/her to avail such periodical reports from a court of competent authority in the adopter’s country of residence for such period as the court may specify.
The court at the time of making an adoption order in the case of applicants for an international adoption shall appoint any person approved by the adopted and whose prior consent there to has been given in writing to be the guardian of the child in the event of the adopter(s), dying or becoming incapacitated before the child is of full age.
An adoption order or an interim adoption order may be made in respect of a child who has already been the subject of an adoption order under this act or under any other ordinance for the time being in force in any country in the commonwealth.
No body of persons shall make any arrangements for the adoption of a child under the provisions of this Act unless that body is registered as an adoption society under this part.
Time Taken to Complete Adoption Process
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.
The issue of interpretation of court hearing has just been completed and we are happy to inform you that we are now able to have our own group of lawyers who can help in court proceedings at a reduced fee. Clients are also free to source their own lawyers and society only presents their findings or home study and individual interviews to the court.
All adoption orders are routinely made in Kenya prior to applicant leaving the country and upon their applicants fulfilling all the requirements as shown above. Currently there are no approved websites on adoption that we can recommend but we shall get back to you for our own website.
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 employers 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.
- 12) 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.
Home Study: Procedure to be Followed:
Every foreigner wishing to adopt a child should be sponsored by social or child welfare agency recognized by the Government of the country in which the foreigner is resident.
The foreign enlisted agency shall also send a copy of the application as well as all the prescribed documents including a home study report enclosed with it to the Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK) duly Notarized by Notary Public whose signature would be duly attested either by an officer of the Ministry of External Affairs or justice or Social Welfare of the Country of foreigner or by an officer of Kenyan embassy or High Commission or Consulate in that country.
The Home Study being a crucial document broadly include th following information:
- Social status and family background
- Description of home including the number of bedrooms and whether it can comfortably accommodate the child
- Standard of living as it appears in the home
- Current relationship between Husband and Wide
- Current relationship between the parents and children (if any children)
- Development of already adopted children (if any)
- Current relationship between the couple and the members of each others family
- Employment status of the couple
- Health details such as clinical tests, past illnesses etc (medical certificates)
- Economic status of the couple
- Accommodation of the child
- Schooling facilities
- Amenities in the home
- Reasons for wanting to adopt a Kenyan child
- Attitudes of relative towards adoption
- Anticipated plans for the adopted child
- Regal status of the prospective adoptive parents
The agency should carefully get the Home Study Report prepared by the professional Social Worker broadly on the basis of the information.
We do have a legal Department which offers legal advice among other services and are very much willing to assist.