Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents. Legal adoptions permanently transfer all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from the biological parents to the adoptive parents. How to Adopt a Child in Kenya as Foreign Parents
Unlike guardianship or other systems designed for the care of the young, adoption is intended to effect a permanent change in status and as such requires societal recognition, either through legal or religious sanction. Historically, some societies have enacted specific laws governing adoption, while others used less formal means (notably contracts that specified inheritance rights and parental responsibilities without an accompanying transfer of filiation). Modern systems of adoption, arising in the 20th century, tend to be governed by comprehensive statutes and regulations.
- 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.
- Any applicant interested in adopting a Kenyan child must come through an approved adoption society in Kenya. It is these approved adoption society make an application on behalf of applicants wishing to adopt a Kenyan child.
- There are four approved adoption societies:
(i). Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative (KKPI) Adoption Society.
(ii). Little Angels Network
(iii). Kenya Christian Homes
(iv). Child Welfare Society of Kenya
- International adoptions can be conducted in respect of a child upon the application of two spouses who are not Kenyans and who are not in Kenya provided that legal requirements to that effect are met.
- International adoptions are processed through an approved foreign adoption agency in conjunction with an approved Kenyan adoption society to make international adoption arrangements.
- For a society to be recognized as conducting inter and the home country, it must be duly recognized under the laws of that country. The society must also be recognized to conduct inter-country adoption in Kenya.
- The society must submit a request through an approved adoption society in Kenya. It must submit all the relevant supportive documents to the adoption committee in charge of adoption matters in Kenya upon payment of the required application fees
The following persons are not allowed to adopt in Kenya
- Section 158 (3) of the Children’s Act, prohibits the making of an adoption order in favour of an applicant who:
- 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.
Here is How to Adopt a Child in Kenya as Foreign Parents
- All international adoption applications MUST be submitted through a Registered Adoption Agency in the receiving country, to a Registered Adoption Agency in the sending country (Kenya).
- All foreign adoption societies MUST be approved by the Kenyan Adoption Committee before they commence operations.
- The regulations require inter-agency co-ordination and co-operation.
Step 1: Investigations by authorized bodies in receiving country.
- The adoption applicants have to meet the procedures in their home country before submitting their application to Kenya via an Adoption Agency.
- The couples must be assessed by competent bodies/ministries and criminal records must be checked before approval.
- Comprehensive medical examinations must be carried out including HIV status, and fertility checks.
- The financial status of the applicants and their suitability to bring up a child shall be evaluated.
- The couple MUST also undergo pre-adoption counseling in preparation for the big task ahead of them.
- These counseling sessions shall cover the adoption process, length of time, challenges to expect, the backgrounds of the children to be adopted etc.
- This will be followed by an application form for adoption being filled by the applicants through the Foreign Adoption Society and submitted with all the required documents. ( The required documents are mentions in the required documents section)
Step 2: Formal Application to Kenyan Adoption Agency
- The Foreign Agency MUST ensure that all the documents required are in place before forwarding the application to the Kenyan Adoption Agency.
- Upon receipt of an application for adoption from a Foreign Adoption Society, The Kenyan Agency shall forward the same to the Kenya Adoption Committee within thirty (30) days from date of receipt.
Step 3: The Kenyan Adoption Committee
- This is the Central Body governing all adoptions in the country. This committee shall consider applications for International Adoption and shall either approve or reject it.
- The decision shall be communicated to the Local Adoption Society within thirty (30) days form the date such a decision is made.
Step 4: Communication of Local Adoption Agency
A. Communication of Approval
- Where an approval for adoption is granted, the Local Adoption Society shall communicate the same to the Foreign Adoption Society within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the approval. This will be accompanied by:-
- A brief report on the children available for adoption at the time, who match the adopters’ preferences
- Information about the approximate length of time that the adoption process may take
- Relevant costs involved in the process
- A copy of the undertaking to be signed by the Foreign Adoption Society before conclusion of the adoption process.
B. In Case of Rejection
- Where an application is rejected, it shall be communicated to the Foreign Adoption Society within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of such a rejection by the Local Adoption Society giving reasons for the rejection.
C. : Appeal in case of rejection
- In case of rejection of an adoption application by the Kenyan Adoption Committee, a Foreign Adoption Society may submit another application for adoption within six months from the date of rejection of the previous application.
Step 5: Travel and arrival to Kenya
- Upon receiving communication of approval, the Foreign Adoption Society will arrange for the prospective parents to travel to Kenya within three (3) months from the date of receipt.
- Upon arrival in Kenya, the Local Adoption Society shall receive the applicants and direct them to suitable accommodation/residence. The accommodation conditions must be assessed for suitability. (This involves a home visit by a Social worker employed by the Local Adoption Society).
Step 6: Pre-Placement Counseling and Placement
- Before placement with a child the applicants MUST undergo a three (3) hour compulsory replacement counseling/training in preparation for receiving the child. This shall be done by a counselor attached to the Local Adoption Society
- The applicant /s will then be directed to the child/ren already identified for them. A two week familiarization period is recommended while the child is still in the home. The child is then placed in the care of the prospective parents and a care agreement form is signed.
Step 7: Foster Period and Follow-Up/Supervision
- Upon placement with a child for adoption at least one of the prospective parents MUST reside in the country (Kenya) for three (3) consecutive months with the child.
- During the three month fostering period, follow-up visits will be carried out to assess the bonding and adjustment of both the child and the prospective parent(s). The visits will be carried out as follows:-
(i). 1st Follow-up:- one month after discharge of the baby. Conducted at the Local Adoption Society’s office.
(ii). 2nd Follow-up:- Two months after discharge of the baby. Conducted at the Local Adoption Society’s office.
(iii). Final Follow-up:- three months after discharge. It MUST be conducted at the applicant’s home- to observe the adjustment of the child in the home environment.
NOTE: The relevant Children’s Home will also conduct their independent follow –up visits on agreed intervals e.g. fortnightly, monthly etc.
Step 8: Legal Process
- If the prospective adopter(s) complete the placement period successfully the Local Adoption Society will assist them in identifying a suitable lawyer to represent their case in court. The legal process involves three (3) hearings (but could be more). Both applicants and the child MUST be present for the court sessions.
- A Guardian ad litem (Friend of the child) will also be appointed by the National Adoption Committee to safeguard the interests of the child in the course of the court proceedings.
- Where an adoption order is granted, the Local Adoption Society shall notify the foreign Adoption Society within seven (7) days from the date of the order is made.
Step 9: Issuing of Adoption Certificate
- This document will be issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths once the Adoption Orders are granted. It replaces the Birth Certificate.
- Therefore, the adoptive parents may only get a copy of the Birth Certificate (if available) but not the original. The process of obtaining an Adoption Certificate may take 3-5 working days.
Step 10: Traveling Out of Kenya.
- Insure you have all the required travelling documents. These include;
(i). Adoption order and Adoption Certificate
(ii). Clearance letter from the Kenyan Department of Children’s Services-Ministry of Home Affairs to allow the child to leave the country
(iii). Travel documents(not Passport) issued by Immigration Department-Kenya
(iv). Visa- to be issued by receiving country’s Embassy in Kenya
- The Local Adoption Society shall assist the adoptive parents obtain these documents from the relevant authorities.
- Adoptive parents can only leave the country with the child once the Adoption Order is granted and all the above mentioned documents are issued.
- The parents should contact the Local Adoption Agency if they need assistance with booking of the flight ticket.
Step 11: Post-Adoption Progress Reports
- The Foreign Adoption Society MUST send reports on the progress of the adopted child to the Local Adoption Society.
- These reports must be submitted once every three months during the first two years from the date of making of an Adoption Order, and annually thereafter for three years
- Home study report of the foreign adoptive parents prepared by a professional social worker.
- Passport copies
- 3 full size colour photographs
- 3 full size colour photographs of their children (if any)
- Copies of Birth Certificate(s)
- Copies of Birth Certificate of their children (if any)
- Copies of Marriage Certificate (if any)
- Medical Certificates (including information on fertility of adopters and HIV status)
- Social enquiry report from an official agency detailing preferences of the child to be adopted
- Two (2) references from responsible persons preferably the local Religious leader, Commissioner for oaths, Notary public or relevant government department.
- Affidavit from a reliable person(s) to take charge of the child in case of death or incapacitation of the adoptive parents
- A report on financial means supported by official documents e.g. latest pay-slips, bank statements etc.
- Letter from employer indicating duration of contract and remuneration
- Religious affiliation of applicants
- A report on fixed assets
- Record of convictions (if any)
- Certificate of good conduct
- Consent from competent court or government authority permitting adopter(s) to adopt a foreign child that adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child according to the law of their country.
- All documents submitted by a Foreign Adoption Society MUST be notarized or authenticated by the Ministry responsible for foreign affairs in the receiving country.
- Any documents in any language other than English must be translated.
Foreigners are allowed to adopt their first child, one has to meet the following prerequisites conditions.
- Only married couples may apply for an International Adoption,
- The applicants MUST be aged between 25-65 years at the time of submitting application and MUST be at least 21 years older that the child.
- Joint applicants MUST be married to each other for at least THREE (3) YEARS.
- Single foreign applicants may not apply for adoption unless under special circumstances
- The child to be adopted MUST be at least 6 weeks old and resident in the Republic of Kenya
- All applicants MUST have completed and complied with the accepted adoption proceedings in their home country/ country of Residence before applying to LANS. Proof of such approval should accompany the application,
- A certified Home Study Report from a certified Adoption Agency, Certified Social Worker or other relevant authority MUST also be submitted with the application,
- Verification MUST be given by the relevant authority of the country of the parents’ origin that the child will be granted citizenship once the adoption order is granted,
Office Locations & Contacts
Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services (DOSHS) – Head Office,
Commercial street, Industrial area
P.O Box 34120 – 00100, Nairobi
Telephone: 020 266 772 2, 0775 833 675, 0775 833 676
Website: Directorate of Occupational Safety & Health Services (DOSHS) Website
Ministry of Labour – Head Office,
Bishops Road, Social Security House
P.O. Box 40326 – 00100, Nairobi
Telephone: +254 (0) 2729800
Fax: +254 020 2726497
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Website: Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Website
Addresses to some accredited adoption agencies in Kenya are as follows;
Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative
Address: Kogo Star Plaza, Upper Ground Floor, Suite 14,
Maai Mahiu Road (Next to Langata/Mbagathi Roundabout)
P.O. Box 30906, GPO 00100 Nairobi
Phone: +254 206 004 461
Mobile:, +254 725 475 208, +254 734 257 334
Website: Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative Website
Little Angels Network
Address: Wood Avenue – Kindaruma Road Junction Off Ngong Road
Phone: 0724 941326
Website: Little Angels Network Website
Child Welfare Society of Kenya
Address: Child Welfare Building Langata Road,
P.O. BOX 43982-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 0206003301 / 6006391
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com