BY ADVOCATE CHRISTINE KIPSANG
What is Adoption?
The law governing Adoption in Kenya is provided for under Part XII of the Children Act No. 8 of 2001 Laws of Kenya.
Adoption by definition is a legal process which permanently gives parental rights to adoptive parents. Adoption also means taking a child into your home as a permanent family member.
It means caring for and guiding children through their growing years and giving them the love and understanding they need to develop their full potential.
From the moment you first consider adopting you have begun the adoption process and are on a journey to discover if it is right for you and what kind of parent you might be.
Why would you consider Adoption?
Having offspring is one of the great pleasures in anyone’s life. You may have achieved many things such as a wealth, good health and tremendous success but if you are living a childlessness life, you may feel that something is missing in your life.
This applies for both individual as well as the married couples. Many couples find it essential to have at least a child, so that they can carry their descendant to next generation. Today most couples don’t want to have children early on in their marriage; they first want to settle well in life. This delay, today’s anxiety, the stresses of life and unhealthy lifestyle decrease their chances of having a baby. Medical science has to some extent made it possible for some couples to conceive despite the odds against them. However, there are cases where even science does not have the answers.
In such cases, the law enables the childless person have a child through the adoption process. This gives hope to the couples and enables them to complete their families. It also saves them from ridiculed by an insensitive society that views being childlessness as a curse.
But adoption isn’t just a solution to childlessness, it gives us the opportunity to be “father to the fatherless” and “mother to the motherless” and also to experience the joy of being called mother or father by the child.
Rights of the Child
According to the Constitution of Kenya of 2010 which is the supreme law of the land, under Article 53, every child has the right -
In addition, a child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.
This means that children are recognized as strong foundation of this Republic of Kenya and are accorded protection under the Bill of Rights.
A child is a blessing whether it is a biological child or an adopted child.
What is the Process of Adoption?
The Adoption process in Kenya is provided for in the Children Act No. 8 of 2001 of the Laws of Kenya under Sections 154 to 170 of the Act.
Section 154 (1) provides that subject to the Act, the High Court may upon an application made to it in the prescribed form, make an order (in this Act referred to as “adoption order”) authorizing an applicant to adopt a child.
Section 154 Sub- Section (2) provides that all proceedings on adoption shall be heard and determined in chambers and the identity of the child and the applicants shall be kept confidential.
The process of adoption
Desire to adopt
The adoption process starts with take the following steps;
Seeking for legal services
The applicant will thereafter require the services of an advocate who specializes in adoption law. The advocate appointed by the applicant will receive all the documents from the applicant and prepare the following documents
The application is prepared and filed at the High Court of Kenya at Mombasa or Nairobi ONLY since these are the only High Court stations gazetted according to Law to deal with adoption cases in Kenya by the Chief Justice of Kenya (this may change in future).
This application can only be filed and allowed in Court when all the prerequisites for adoption are met by the applicant as provided for under the law.
NEXT WEEK: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ADOPTION?
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