Who Can Be Adopted from Kenya

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Biashara Street in Mombasa.

Because Kenya is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Kenya must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Kenya have determined that placement of the child within Kenya has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Kenya’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.

Any child who is resident in Kenya can be legally adopted, whether or not the child is a Kenyan citizen or was born in Kenya. However, only children who have been declared eligible for adoption may be matched with prospective adoptive parents for adoption.

NOTE: The child to be adopted must not be previously adopted or subject to a grant of custody (and must not have had prior contact with the prospective adoptive parents) before processing begins.


Relinquishment: When prospective adoptive parents seek to adopt a child who has existing parents or legal guardians, consents must be obtained from:

1. Existing parents, guardians, or anyone else contributing to the maintenance of the child under any agreement or order;
2. If applicable, parents or guardian(s) of the mother of the child in a case where the mother is a minor;
3. If applicable, the step-father who has acquired parental responsibility; and
4. The spouse of the prospective adoptive parent, if the spouse is not available in person. A children's court must commit a relinquished child to a children's home before he/she becomes eligible to be adopted.

Abandonment: A children’s court must commit an abandoned child to a children’s home before he/she becomes eligible to be adopted.

Age of Adoptive Child: Only children who are at least two years old are eligible for intercountry adoption. NOTE: If the child being adopted is age 14 or older, he/she must consent to the proposed intercountry adoption.

Sibling Adoptions: Prospective adoptive parents may adopt siblings in Kenya.

Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Unknown.

Waiting Period or Foster Care: A children's court commits an abandoned or relinquished child to a children's home. After six months, if no relatives can be located and no one has come forward to claim the child, a licensed Kenyan adoption society will have the child entered into the registry of children to be adopted.

NOTE: Children available for fostering in Kenya are generally in temporary need of care, and are usually not declared eligible for adoption. Foreigners are only allowed to foster in Kenya if they have been residents for at least one year and are generally not permitted to travel outside of the country with the fostered child. In the past, U.S. citizens have grown attached to children they foster in Kenya and have been unable to take them to the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi strongly advises U.S. citizens living in Kenya against fostering children if their underlying intention is to adopt them.

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