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How to Adopt a Child in Kenya

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How to Adopt a Child in Kenya by Kenyans247(1): Fri Jan 2020 10:22am

One can only adopt through a registered and accredited adoption society. The stages of adoption are:

Stage 1: Orientation meeting

One visits the adoption society and makes enquiries. On this initial visit the following will be discussed:

Pre-requisites for adoption
Recommended advocates
Home visits/ social worker’s visits
Guardian to be appointed
References required
Application forms
Costs involved

The adopting parent(s) will then be given the application forms to fill and submit together with the required documents if they meet the requirements given by the law, e.g. age limit, The following should be attached:-

2 full sized recent photos of the applicant(s)
Copy of ID (Kenyan citizens)
Marriage certificate (where necessary)
Medical Report
Proof of financial status-Pay slip, Bank Statement etc.

Your application is only considered formal when you hand in your duly completed application forms

Stage 2: Home visit to determine eligibility

The adoption society will then look into the whereabouts/ eligibility of the adopter(s) to determine whether the needs of the child will be met.
The main aim of the visit is to:

Know the applicants physical location ( where the child will be living)
To assess the suitability of the applicant(s) to adopt/ foster a child – living conditions are also assessed.
To have an in depth interview with the applicant(s) in the privacy of their home

NOTE: In case of a joint application, both applicants MUST be present during the home visit.

Stage 3: Medical Check-up

This MUST be done by a doctor recommended by the Society
Note that the adoption regulations require that a HIV test is carried out as part of the medical examination.

Stage 4: Matching and placement

A social worker consults with the adopting parent(s) and arrangement to meet the child is made (Introduction and bonding period).
If bonding is deemed successful, the child is released to the care of the adopter(s).

Stage 5: Fostering period

The adopting parent(s) 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 will also look at how well the child is adjusting to the new environment.

Stage6: Court phase

The Children’s Court will then finalize on all the adoption matters.
The ability to support and educate the child are examined by the court which may or may not allow the adoption.
The social worker may give an opinion on the capability of the adoptive parent(s).

Required Documents

2 full sized recent photos of the applicant(s)
Copy of ID (Kenyan citizens)
Marriage certificate (where necessary)
Medical Report of the adoptive parent
Proof of financial status-Pay slip, Bank Statement etc.
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 if the child’s parents are deceased
Chief’s letter
Proof of home ownership
Birth certificates of any children the adoptive parent may have
Certificates of good conduct.

Office Locations & Contacts

Children Services
State Department for Social Protection,
Bishops Road, Social Security House,
P.O. Box 40326 – 00100, Nairobi.
Telephone: +254 (0) 2729800
Fax: +254 020 2726497
Email: ps@socialprotection.go.ke
Website: Children Services http://www.socialprotection.go.ke/children-services/


For a Kenyan/s to be are allowed to adopt their first child, one has to meet the following prerequisites conditions.

Must be aged between 25 and 65,
Must be 21 years older than the child they wish to adopt,
Is a mother or father of child,
In case of a joint application the couple must have been married to one another for at least three years,
Single applicants (male or female) cannot adopt children of the opposite sex unless under special circumstances,
A sole foreign female applicant can only adopt under special circumstances.
A relative to the child if the relative has been taking care of the child. This is known as kinship adoption.
The adoptive parent and the child must be resident in Kenya for six months at the time of the proposed adoption

For a child to be adopted in Kenya, the child has to meet the following eligibility criteria.

In Kenya, a child cannot be adopted unless the child is at least six (6) weeks old and has been declared free for adoption by a registered adoption society.
The child must be below the age of 18 years and residing in Kenya
Any child who is resident within Kenya may be adopted whether or not the child is a Kenyan citizen, or was or was not born in Kenya.
The child is abandoned and the whereabouts of the parents/guardians are unknown.
The child is an orphan and there is no guardian/caregiver who is willing to take care of the child.
The parents/guardians of the child have given consent for the child to be adopted (parent offer adoptions).


Legal fees for processing the process are required at various stages of the application process.
These fees vary depending in the agency which you use to facilitate the adoption process.


The validity period is forever.

Documents to Use

Application documents are provided at the adoption agency.



Need for the Document

Adoption is the legal process by which a child becomes the child of persons other than his/her natural or biological parents.
When a child is legally adopted the adopter or adopters become the child's parent(s).
Legal adoptions permanently transfer all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from the biological parent or parents.

The procedures for child adoption in Kenya are conducted by the adoption society.

Main Steps in Adoption

Assessment of prospective adoptive parents by an adoption society.
Declaration of a child proposed as free for adoption by an adoption society
Placement of child with applicants
Three months mandatory bonding filing period within the Republic of Kenya prior to matter before court.

Required Information

Full names and bio data of applicant(s)
Marital status
Medical report od adoptive parents
Financial status
Child’s date of birth and gender.
Criminal records of applicant’s

Information which might help

The law prohibits the advertisement of a child for adoption.

The following persons are not allowed to adopt in Kenya

Is not of sound mind within the meaning of the Mental Health Act (Cap. 248).
Has been charged and convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for any of the offences set out in the Third Schedule to the Act or similar offences. The prescribed offences generally include defilement, sexual offences, immoral behavior, and attempt to procure abortion, unnatural offences; and assault.
Is a homosexual; accordingly, homosexuality is illegal in Kenya hence the prohibition of gay persons from adopting children.
In the case of joint applicants, if they are not married to each other.
Is a sole foreign male applicant.

Guardian Ad Litem

These are guardians appointed by the court for the child pending the hearing and determination of the adoption application. Some of the duties of guardian include:


Consents needed for adoption in Kenya to be finalized include

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.

Instances where consent for adoption can be withheld include

First is when the parents or guardians are untraceable because the child was abandoned.
It is also possible to withhold consent if spouses are permanently separated.

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.


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