International Adoption in Kenya

Various situations can lead to international adoption in Kenya. Among the most common is when the adoptive parents cannot biologically bare children. Another reason is as a gesture of philanthropy where foreign parents can adopt the Kenyan children and give them a better life.

In most cases, adopted children are either orphaned or come from a devastated family. As such, the government allows for foreign adoption through this international adoption process.

International Adoption in Kenya Requirement

In Kenya, for one to adopt the first child, the following prerequisites have to be met:

  1. The parents must be aged between 25 and 65
  2. You must be 21 years older than the child they wish to adopt
  3. Is a mother or father of a child
  4. In case of a joint application, the couple must have been married to one another for at least three years
  5. Single applicants (male or female) cannot adopt children of the opposite sex unless under exceptional circumstances

September 12, 2019, Update: The Government of Kenya has banned International Adoption in Kenya

The international adoption process

It all starts with getting the application form. The Kenyan government requires adoptive parents to acquire an adoption order from the High court of Kenya.

The adoptive parents are also expected to fill out various documents that are included in the adoptive order as part of the process.

These documents form a framework for the adoption process, which is evaluated and certified before full completion. Collectively the materials are known as a dossier.

What the dossier entails

One document found in the record is a home report. This is a document that is prepared by a social worker who evaluates the adoptive parents to ascertain if they are eligible for adopting a child or not. Ones completed, the document is sent to the Kenya Children’s Home for critical evaluation and further processing.


At this point, the document can be rejected if the adoptive parents do not qualify for the adoption. If it is approved, the records are taken to the National Adoption Committee that presides over the adoption process.

This is usually a slow process, as it may take six to eight months. After the period expires, the National Adoption Committee can either approve or reject the dossier depending on the intelligence they have collected over six to eight months.

Ones approved, adoptive parents are granted a referral document that contains all the necessary details of the adopted child.

Some of the documents included in the dossier include a photograph of the child, social history form, and medical information. The reports can be verified by a foreign doctor hired by the adoptive parents.

If the details are misleading, the adoptive parents can opt not to adopt the child. However, if the documents are all authentic, and both parties come into agreement, the adoptive parents should agree to take the child.

Bonding Period

The final stage of the international adoption process is where the adoptive parents are supposed to live in the country for not less than six months with their adopted child. During this time, the family is under constant review by a social worker.

The period is known as a bonding period. A social worker is sent to live with the child temporarily for about two months taking note of the bonding process. The social worker prepares a report that is sent to court for further review.

Since it is an international adoption process, adoptive parents should wait for feedback from their country’s immigration department and that of the Kenyan authorities.

At this point, the adoptive parents are expected to hire a lawyer to help in the finalization of the process. That is it! When the approval is given, the adoptive parents are given their child whom they are expected to nature humanely.

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Brian is a founding writer at Urban Kenyans. His work is focused on how to improve the digital literacy of Kenyans online. He has been able to do so with his mastery of Kenya and the English Language.

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