Kenya International Adoption Process and Cost


While many may travel to Kenya on safari solely to see the Big Cats in action, your mission can be noble and Bigger: to adopt a needy Kenyan child. What’s Kenyan’s international adoption process? How much will it cost you to adopt from Kenya?

The Inter-country Adoption Process in Kenya is guided by the Hague Convention. This ensures that the child’s rights are protected before the adoption, during, and after the adoption process.

The average timeline for Kenya’s International Adoption process is about 6 months. In order to bond with the child, you’ll to travel to the country and stay with your child for 3 months.

After your successful visit, a legal procedure will then commence before you get the Certificate of Adoption, and finally bring your child home

The cost of International adoption from Kenya varies based on different factors including your selection of Adoption Service provider or Agency. The average agency fee you’ll be required to pay is Ksh 12, 500 which is about $ 120.

Kenyan laws are not single-parent friendly. Only married couples can adopt.

Well, that’s not the end if you really want to touch a homeless child’s life. Click here for countries that allow for single-parent adoption, and let your great journey begin!

It’s illegal in Kenya to advertise about children seeking for International Adoption. And yes, you too cannot advertise your intent to adopt Kenyan child.

International Adoption From Kenya- The Authorities In-charge

The Kenyan government’s Department of Children’s Services, under the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services, is responsible for all International Adoptions from Kenya.

The Department is responsible for the creation of a list of Approved Adoption Societies who will help you in initiating the adoption process.

If you already have an Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider in your home country, it will have to collaborate with the Kenya-based agency or society. This is necessary to facilitate your adoption process. One key government society is the Child Welfare Society of Kenya.

It’s only the High Court of Kenya that has the authority to issue Adoption Orders. You’ll then take the order to the Registrar-General’s office which deals with Marriages and Adoptions.

adoption from Kenya

You’ll receive the Adoption certificate only after entries are made into the Adopted Children’s Register as per the Children Act.

Who Qualifies for International Adoption From Kenya?

Kenya, like any other country, has its unique adoption laws and requirements.

As a prospective adoptive international applicant, you must fulfill the following set conditions before your Kenya representatives can initiate the adoption process:

  • Qualify as married couples
  • Either you or your partner must be more than 25 years but not more than 65 years. One of you must older than the child by more than 21 years.
  • Must have successfully complied and completed the adoption process in your home country or your current country of residence before submitting your application through you Kenyan representative agency
  • Certified Home Study Report from an accredited agency or any accredited authority in your country must be provided during your application.
  • If the child to be adopted has parents, you’ll have to provide a verification document from a relevant office or authority to the effect that the child to be adopted will be granted Kenyan citizenship after the adoption process is finalized.
  • Before the legal phase of the adoption process begins, you’ll be required to travel to Kenya to stay with the child for the mandatory duration of 3 months (foster period). A social worker will assess the bonding and compile a report for the adoption Court.
  • After the completion, the remaining process may take about 4-6 months to finalize.

Kenyan International Adoption laws DO NOT allow for adoption if:

  • You are a single foreign applicant
  • Either you, your partner or both of you have mental health problems
  • One or both of you have been charged or convicted by a court for or of any offence against children based on the Kenyan laws
  • Applicants who are lesbian or gay couples or individuals
  • The application is a joint type by non-couples

International AdoptionEligibility of Kenyan Children

  • The child must be at least 6 weeks old
  • Should be declared as free for adoption
  • Children above the age of 14 years can give their own consent

Consent for the Adoption of Kenyan Child

Before you can begin the process of adopting a Kenyan child, you’ll need to get legal consent from the following:

  • The child’s parents, guardians or another person who has the relevant responsibility.
  • If those responsible for the child do not reside in Kenya, then you’ll need an official consent of relevant courts or authorized government institutions.
  • If the child is more than 14 years old, his/her consent will be legally binding.

Withholding of Consent

There are special situations when Adoption consent may not be considered. These include:

  • When the  child’s parents or guardians cannot be found as is the case for an abandoned child
  • When spouses do not leave together or separated

International Adoption From Kenya-Required Documents

Listed below is a detailed list of some of the documents you will need to present for Kenya’s international adoption process.

You may need to provide other documents not listed here based on your Service Provider’s instructions.

  1. Full-size, and color Passport photographs
  2. Colour photographs (full-size) of couples’ child(ren)  if any
  3. The religion of prospective adoptive couples
  4. Job or occupation
  5. Birth certificate of the adoptive parent, and their children
  6. Couples Marriage Certificates
  7. Medical records or certificates including details on adoptive parent’s fertility
  8. Social inquiry reports and other documents from your Agency or Service Provider
  9. Two references from a local religious leader, responsible individuals, Commissioner for Oaths, notary public or any appropriate government Authority
  10. An affidavit from a reliable person or persons who will be ready to be responsible for the child in case of death or accident of the adoptive parents
  11. Financial Reports of the adoptive couple with official supportive documents
  12. Reports of fixed assets
  13. Record of  past convictions  of any
  14. Submission of Certificate of Good Conduct
  15. Confirmation from a relevant court or government permitting the adoptive parent to adopt a foreign child

International Adoption from Kenya- The Process

The adoption process will commence in your country of residence. After your successful application and registration, your service provider will transfer the documents to the Child Welfare Society of Kenya.

Kenya International Adoption
Adoptive Couple Being Interviewed By Adoption Agency Representative

Your Adoptive Service provider shall coordinate with Kenya’s adoption representative to facilitate the process.

They’ll ensure that all the documents you submit to the Child Welfare Society of Kenya have the relevant signatures and attestations.

Here is a compressive list of 10 steps needed before you finally bring your child home:

  1. Your selection of a reliable Accredited Adoption Service Provider in your country
  2. Submit your Application to USCIS to be assessed as an Eligible prospective international adoptive parent
  3. Preparation of the necessary adoption documents (Home Study Reports, Dossier, all the other mandatory reports)
  4. Assessment of  your submitted documents as prospective adoptive parents by registered Kenyan Adoption Society
  5. Declaration of the identified child as “free for adoption” by  the Adoptive Society
  6. Child matching process
  7. Three months mandatory bonding period within Kenya
  8. Application submission for the child to be Found Eligible for United State’s Immigration
  9. Finalize Adoption in Kenya-Court hearing process, issuance of High Court’s Adoption Order, and final issuance of Adoption Certificate by Kenya’s Registrar General.
  10. Arranging for your final trip to bring the child home

International Adoption From Kenya-The Cost

The cost of adopting from Kenya varies. This is because different Agencies or Adoption Service Providers charge different fees for their facilitation services.

On average, most Kenyan agencies charge Ksh 12,500 ($120) for their facilitation roles.

Different factors will determine your total costs. For instance, during the legal process, you may decide to either represent yourself in the court or hire a lawyer to represent you.

Other factors you need to consider are your travel requirements. Consult your Adoptive Service Provider for a comprehensive detail of all the costs.

Can You Currently Adopt From Kenya?

At the moment, the Kenyan government has placed a ban on inter-country adoption by foreigners.

If you are foreign national and plan to adopt a Kenyan child, you may have to wait until the ban is lifted.

Kenya is working on new policies and guidelines to help in regulating the adoption of Kenyan children to foreign nationals.

Why The Ban?

In recent years, some private agencies have been involved in irregular adoption of children contrary to both the Kenyan law and the Hague Adoption Convention that Kenya subscribes to.

The United States and the UN had raised the red flag that Kenyan children were falling into the hands of traffickers who care less about the wellbeing of the children.

Kenyan President, at a special Cabinet meeting, banned the adoption of children to foreign couples. The decision was to tame the “rogue” Agencies.

Is there Hope?

The government’s relevant Department is, therefore, currently working in streamlining its adoption policies and regulations governing the activities of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya including the operations of Children’s homes countrywide.

There is hope that ones all the legal adoption loopholes are effectively sealed, Kenya may consider lifting the ban.

For updates on Kenya International Adoption status, check the U.S. Department of State for relevant travel and adoption alerts on Kenya. You can also contact the Kenyan Embassy in your country for regular updates.

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Meshack Sewe

Meshack, is a tech-savvy Creative Copywriter, Poet, & Entrepreneur who is very passionate about Adoption and Humanitarian activities. He has served as both Program Officer, and Program Manager with two Non-Governmental Organizations focusing on orphaned children and vulnerable girls

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