Who Can Be Adopted from Botswana

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In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Botswana has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

Relinquishment or Abandonment:

Consent to the adoption must be given by:

  • Both parents of the child or, if the child is born out of wedlock, by the mother of the child;
  • The guardian of the child if both parents are dead, or in the case of a child born out of wedlock, if the mother is dead;
  • By the surviving parent if one parent is dead and by any guardian of the child who may have been appointed by the deceased parent;
  • If one parent has deserted the child, by the other parent;
  • A guardian of the child appointed by the Minister of Local Government when both parents are dead, have deserted the child, or are incapable by reason of mental disorder or defect of consenting to the adoption.

Age of Adoptive Child:

There is no specific age requirement. However, in order to be eligible to adopt a child over the age of 16, the prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years older than the child.

Sibling Adoptions:

Reasonable efforts will be made to prevent the separation of siblings during the adoption process.

Special Needs or Medical Conditions:

Children with special needs can be adopted in Botswana, but special consideration or expedited processing is not possible.

Waiting Period or Foster Care:

Prospective adoptive parents must foster a prospective adoptive child for a period of six months in Botswana before they may conclude a full and final adoption. Once a child is legally adopted in Botswana, the adoptive parents must remain in Botswana with the child for a period of 12 months before they can legally remove the child to a different country. The Ministry of Local Government will grant exceptions where there is a compelling need (such as employment or schooling) for the adoptive family to depart Botswana. This legal requirement makes intercountry adoption from Botswana extremely difficult for anyone other than long term residents.

If prospective adoptive parents wish to leave Botswana for a vacation or due to employment or school requirements during the six months in which they are fostering a prospective adoptive child, the Magistrate (Children’s) court must provide written permission prior to departure. The same permission is required should the adoptive parents wish to temporarily depart Botswana during the 12 month period in which they are required to remain in Botswana after the adoption is finalized. The U.S. Embassy will require both the court order granting custody and notice that the child is free to travel outside of Botswana before issuing a non-immigrant visa to the adoptive or prospective adoptive child. In addition, it must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the consular officer that the child has sufficient ties to Botswana to compel his/her return after a short visit to the United States.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, with the intention of returning for the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely would have relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

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