“Step 1: Information.
Visit the social welfare secretariat in your state’s Ministry for Women Affairs. There, you will be given relevant forms and information.
Step 2: Checks.
When you have submitted the accurately filled forms, the social workers will carry out the necessary checks; bank accounts, criminal records, workplace, home, family etc. to be sure that you are who you say you are and your intentions are genuine.
Step 3: Referrals
If you have been cleared you will be referred to a few orphanages to meet children eligible for adoption. Please note that while orphanages are full of children, not all of them can be adopted. Some have single parents who are unable to care for them at the moment, some are part of a court process, ugly custody cases or being sheltered from abuse.
Step 4: Adoption
When you have found an eligible child and all checks have been performed, you will go before a Judge with a social welfare officer who will present your case. The Judge will ask you to verbally affirm that you understand adoption and that the child is now your child and can inherit your assets have the same rights as your biological children if you already have them or should you have any in future.
You affirm so and if the Judge is satisfied, he or she will sign an order of adoption, and you will sign as well. You will be required to make a donation to the orphanage to cover some of the cost of raising the child and to help with caring for the other children in the orphanage.
Social welfare can stop at your home anytime to check how the child is faring. If you wish to move to a new town, you must inform the welfare office in your state and in the new state. If you wish to move out of the country, you will need to notify them as well.
THINGS TO NOTE:
A. This process takes time. You cannot fast-track the process with money. Somehow, we got it right in this area aspect and we are doing well.
B. A parent-child relationship must be established between the adoptive parent(s) before the judge’s decision is final. Each state has its own length of time for this and it may range from a few months to two years.
C. A single person will not be allowed to adopt a child of the opposite sex except in extraordinary circumstances. In most states, married couples must adopt jointly. D. A child must be below the age of 16 (according to the Adoption Act of 1965) or 17 (according to the Child Rights Law) in order to be adopted. The specific law governing the adoption will depend on the jurisdiction in which the adoption takes place. E. Single (unmarried) persons below the age of thirty-five (35) years are not eligible to adopt.
This is done in the best interest of the child, as a single person below 35 may marry a spouse who is not comfortable with an adopted child. This kind of scenario occurs and has given rise to adoptive parents who wished to return the child or dump them in some village.
However, in Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age and 21 years older than the child. For married couples, at least one parent must meet the age requirements.
F. Both adoptive parents must be Nigerian citizens.
G. Married couples must be married for a certain number of years in order to be eligible to adopt. There is a current embargo on adoption as the government is clearing up illegal orphanages, to ensure strict compliance with processes.
Despite the poor funding, our welfare officers are some of the most dedicated civil servants, often using their personal time, money and other resources in the execution of their duties.”
1. In Lagos state, it is the adoption department at the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Alausa, Ikeja.
2. You will begin by making an application to adopt addressed to the Permanent Secretary in the above Ministry.
3. The age limit for adoption in Lagos is seventeen (17) years.
Written by Aishatu Ene.