Adoption in Kenya: Walk through the process

In Summary

•Although the process is still frowned upon by some in Kenya, it remains a viable option for those who want to experience parenting.

Image: /FILE

Many couples, as well as single people, desire to have children of their own.

But what happens when this desire remains just that because one is unable to have biological children?

Adoption becomes the next best option.

Although the process is still frowned upon by some in Kenya, it remains a viable option for those who want to experience parenting.

Lengthy process

 If you have made up your mind that adoption is the way to go, you should be ready to follow a long process.

Suzanne Wambui, a mother of two adopted children narrates the process that took her almost four months to adopt one child.

 Suzanne adopted her first daughter, who is six years old now through a registered agency.

An adoption society is a society approved by the ministry under section 23, and a local authority which has been approved by the Minister as an adoption society.

She said that her first approach was to visit a registered adoption society which took her through both legal and social process.

Girls are on high demand and the case was not different from Suzanne.

Her love for children made her to go for another child, through the same process.

She adopted a boy who will be turning six before the year ends. Suzanne opted for younger children whom she said will easily adapt to the new environment as they grow.


The potential adoptive parents are expected to be knowledgeable about adoption costs and the resources available to help make adoption more affordable even before visiting or initiating the process to adopt.

Adoption-related expenses vary widely and it is hard to predict the exact costs that a family can incur.

Suzanne spent almost Sh300,000 to adopt her two children. The cost that she had to incur did not supersede the kind of love which she had for children.

She said that the legal process costs her Sh70, 000 to adopt a child and extra Sh30,000 in other legal processes.

The same amount of cash was spent in the process of adopting the second child.

   For those considering adoption, there are a number of factors which need to be considered:

Children in a home can be adopted depending on the choices and preferences of a parent.

Kabete Children's Home Manager Major Daniel Ndinda said that some children were saved fro their biological parents who failed to raise them.

Daniel said such kind of children can only be adopted after the agreement with their parents.

Who can be adopted?

A child to be adopted must be at least six weeks and below the age of 18 and residing in Kenya.

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.

A child can be adopted if he/she has been abandoned and the whereabouts of the parents/guardians are unknown. If the child is an orphan and there is no one who is willing to take care of the child. The child can also be adopted if he/she requires an alternative permanent placement.

A child who is above 14 years can give their own consent.

Before the adoption is finalised, the agency should get the home study report prepared by the professional Social Worker broadly on the basis of the information.

What you require before adoption

A couple that wishes to adopt must have been in a marital relationship for at least three years.

A person who is married to the child’s parent can only adopt with the other biological parent’s consent.

A single person between 25 and 65 years of age can adopt. Kinship adoption can be justified if a relative to the child has been taking care of the child. The age gap between the child and the adopting parent should be more than 21 years.

The adoptive parent and the child must be resident in Kenya for six months at the time of the proposed adoption.

The applicant person wishing to adopt should be in possession of the child granting continuous care for three months consecutively before submission of the application for the adoption order.

Checklist for the applicant before adoptions

An applicant wishing to adopt a child should reveal his/her social status and family background.

The description of his/her home should also be checked, including the number of bedrooms.

The applicants' living standards should also be known.

If the applicant has adopted a child before, the development of the adopted child will be considered.

Other issues to be considered include the employment status of the couple, the relationship between the husband and wife, health details among others.

Matching and placement

A social worker will consult with the adopting parents and arrangement to meet the child are made (Introduction and bonding period).

The social worker will also access the applicant’s home and the right to interview close friends and family and prepare the report on the findings later.


A counselor will be assigned to the applicant to explain in details to them what adopting a child means.

The counselor will also assess the applicant’s state of mind to find out if they are psychologically prepared to adopt and parent a child.

He/she will also prepare a report on the findings.

Committee meeting

The two reports from the social worker and the councilor will be handed to the committee appointed by the National Adoption Committee under the Ministry of Labour.

The case committee’s job is to look at the two reports, vet the applicant, and arrive at a decision to allow the adoption process to proceed, reject it or defer the case.

Fostering period

The adopting parent(s) will stay with the child for a period of three months.

The social worker will regularly drop 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.

Adoption laws and requirements

Adoption laws and requirements for adoption of a child in Kenya states that 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.

Adoption exempts

Adoption laws say that adoption order will not be completed if the applicant is a sole foreign applicant.

If one or both applicants are not of sound mind in terms of the mental health act, the adoption order will not be given.

Adoption law also bars applicants who have been charged and convicted by a court for any offense against children.

Homosexuals cannot adopt children, the same case to the joining applicants who are not married to each other.

Foreign applicants

The government suspended foreign adoption until the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection enacts new policies that will regulate adoption.

This was the conclusion during a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 12.

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