Prospective adoptive parents must be residents in The Gambia at least six months prior applying to adopt. After an initial adoption order is issued by the Children’s Court, a fostering period of 36 months begins before the adoption can be finalized. Adoptive parent(s) can be married or single, but must be between 21 and 60 years of age and at least 15 years older than the child. Prospective adoptive parents must provide proof of financial security and have no criminal records. In 2011, one Gambian child was adopted by U.S. citizens.