Adoption is becoming more popular in Nigeria today. With a lot of couples now open to adopting a child in Nigeria today, it is essential to take a look at the necessary facts to note about the process and how much it costs. In this post, we will consider the processes involved in adopting a child in Nigeria, either as a foreign citizen or a Nigerian. We will also consider the cost implication.
Cost of Adoption in Nigeria
As you’d expect, the process of adopting a child in Nigeria can be rigorous and expensive, especially for foreign citizens. It should also be noted that adoption processes vary from state to state in Nigeria. In this section, we will take a look at the general process for adoption of a child by both Nigerian citizen and foreign citizens.
Adoption Fees: Estimating how much it costs to adopt a child in Nigeria can be tricky as various factors are involved. The fees generally include adoption agency charges, court charges and attorney fees. It also includes cost of paperwork like birth certificate. On the average, the whole process costs approximately $500 or about N180,000.
Process of Adoption for Nigerian Residents
The statutory law governs the process of adoption in Nigeria. As said earlier however, adoption procedures vary per state. While there are general national requirements and standard procedures, rules vary from state to state. For instance, parents looking to adopt a child in lagos must have fostered the child for at least three months, while in Akwa Ibom and some other states, adopting parents must have fostered the child for at least 12 months.
In most states, the law governing adoption of a child requires that there must be an official application for the adoption process by the parents involved and should be submitted to the registrar of the court for review. For instance, Section 116 of the Child Rights Law of Lagos State 2015 makes establishment as to the application process for adoption which states the following documents must be included in the application form to be submitted:
- The marriage certificate (of the adopting parents) or a sworn declaration of marriage
- The birth certificate or sworn declaration of age of each applicants.
- Two passport photograph of each applicant
- A medical certificate of fitness of the adopting parent(s) from a government hospital and
In practice, the adopting parent(s) are not allowed to make this application to the court without the consensus of the government welfare agency in the state. There are different ministries responsible for such in various states. For instant, In Lagos State, the government subdivision responsible for such divorce process is the Ministry for Youth and Social Development located in in the state capital in Ikeja.
Once they have received the application, the court will then order the Social Welfare Officers in such jurisdiction to conduct a thorough background investigation and get basic information regarding the adopting parent to assess the aptness of the adopting parents and the child to be abducted. In addition to this, the court may decide to appoint a guardian to represent the child to be abducted during the whole process. The guardian representing the child to be abducted will serve as the welfare officer in charge of the zone where the juvenile resides.
Process of Adoption for Foreign Citizens Looking to Adopt a Nigerian Child
Unlike for resident citizens, the process of a foreign citizen adopting a Nigerian child can be a little more tasking. Apart from the fact that this costs more, the involvement of the Government is also more pronounce here. To simplify the process, here are the basic steps to follow for adoption of a Nigerian child by a foreign citizen.
Decide on an Adoption Service Provider to use: This is the first and one of the most crucial steps when it comes to adopting a child from Nigeria. It is essential to consider which licensed adoption service provider in the United States to use for the whole process. It should be noted that the U.S. region in which they operate must license the adoption service provider you are looking to use. To get this information, you can easily contact the Department of State via its website.
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt : Not all foreign citizens can adopt a child in Nigeria. As to not waste your time, you need to meet some basic requirements of Governments of both United States and Nigeria immigration laws. You are required to submit an application to confirm you are eligible to adopt a child that resides in Nigeria. This can also be easily achieved by filing out an I-600A, which represents the Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This will confirm you are eligible to adopt a child that resides in Nigeria.
Matching Stage : After you have checked and confirmed that you are eligible to adopt a child in Nigeria, You will be provided a referral by the central adoption authority in Nigeria. The child must be eligible for adoption in accordance with the Nigeria requirements as defined in the “Who Can Be Adopted” section. In addition, the child to be adopted must meet the basic requirements and definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
Adopt the Child : This is the final stage involved. This involves settling with the adoption authorities, court and adoption agencies involved.
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