Who Can Adopt from Kenya

Collage of Mombasa.

In addition to the U.S. requirements, prospective adoptive parents need to meet Kenya’s to adopt a child from Kenya:


After parent-child placement, prospective adoptive parents must reside in Kenya with the child for at least three months before legal procedures begin. This requirement may be waived for prospective adoptive parents who are adopting direct blood relatives with whom they already have a familial relationship. Prospective adoptive parents may need to remain in Kenya for up to six to nine additional months in order to meet all the legal requirements to finalize their adoption. The adoption hearing cannot occur until the three-month “homestay” (bonding period) is complete. The hearing process may take an additional six to nine months to complete.

Age of Adopting Parents

One of the prospective adoptive parents must be at least twenty-five years old, but neither parent can be older than sixty-five. Prospective adoptive parents must also be at least twenty-one years older than the child they adopt.


Under Kenyan law, adoption orders will not be granted to joint prospective adoptive parents not married to each other. Prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least three years prior to being placed with a child.


While no minimum income is required to adopt from Kenya, the prospective adoptive parents’ homestudy report must show that they can adequately support the child they seek to adopt.


Prior Contact Prohibition: Kenyan law strictly prohibits any contact between prospective adoptive parents and prospective adoptees prior to parent-child placement by a Kenyan adoption society. Child pre-selection is not permitted. The Adoption Committee will likely reject placements of prospective adoptive parents and children to be adopted who have had prior contact. Exceptions are made where prospective adoptive parents are adopting a direct blood relative. NOTE: Single foreign male prospective adoptive parents are not permitted to adopt from Kenya.

Single female prospective adoptive parents can adopt from Kenya if the court is satisfied of the existence of special circumstances. One or more of the following circumstances may be considered:

  • The child is a relative;
  • The child has special needs and the applicant is willing and has the capacity to care for the child;
  • The applicant has adopted or has another biological child or children over whom she exercises parental responsibility;
  • The child has a sibling who is also being adopted by the applicant;
  • The proposed applicant is the only person available to adopt the child; or
  • Where the applicant is the legal guardian of the child or children appointed by will or in adoption proceedings and the parents die or become permanently incapacitated.

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