Tribunal pour Enfants Democratic Republic of the Congo

Collecting firewood in Basankusu

The Tribunal pour Enfants plays two roles in the adoption process. First, the Tribunal’s clerk must confirm a Guardianship Council’s temporary guardianship of a Ward of the State within five days of the child’s abandonment or relinquishment in order for a child to remain in the assigned orphanage or foster care home. Second, the Tribunal oversees the adoption process. The Tribunal pour Enfants requires consent to the adoption before granting a judgment. Biological parents, or appointed guardians, must give their consent, if applicable. If no family members or guardians are identified, the court will determine consent. Any child over the age of 15 must give his or her own consent.

After the child’s family or guardian(s) consents to adoption, the prospective adoptive parents request a hearing in open court at the Tribunal pour Enfants in the area where the child resides. Prospective adoptive parents or their legal representative must submit copies of their birth certificates and the birth certificate of the prospective adoptee. The court will require proof that any and all interested family members of the child were informed of the adoption and received notice of the court hearing. After the initial hearing, the court conducts an investigation to determine that all conditions for placement or final adoption have been met and that all documents are legitimate.

Once the investigation is completed and all requirements have been satisfied, the court will issue a Jugement d’Adoption, which authorizes the L’Etat Civil to issue an adoption decree (Acte d’Adoption) and updated birth certificate (Acte de Naissance). The adoption will be retroactively recorded under the date of the first court appearance. The adopted child's name on the judgment will incorporate his/her original name along with the newly adopted family name, but adoptive parents must ensure that the names on the local and U.S. documents match. At the time of adoption, the adoptive parent (in the case of minors) or the adoptee (if 18 years or older) may decide whether the child will retain his or her Congolese citizenship.

The adoptive parents must also register the judgment at the local city hall or magistrate within one month or the adoption will be null and void. This is done either where the adoptive parents live (if they live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) or where the child resides (if the adoptive parents do not live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). At the end of the month, the magistrate will issue a “Certificate of Non-Appeal,” at which time the adoption is officially finalized under Congolese law.

Back to How to Adopt from Congo, Democratic Republic of the