First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has called on the people of Zimbabwe to embrace adoption and eradicate related myths and stigmas in order to help orphans in the country. On January 4th at Fairfield Children’s Home at Old Mutare Mission she said, “As Zimbabweans, closely knitted family structures are a vital part of our culture. Most of us have the capacity to accommodate them. We can take them in within our own homes. Adoption is also an option that we have and we should demystify and embrace it. There is no need to fear and remain in ignorance. We should educate each other and remove the myths and unfounded social cultural beliefs that hinder us from taking care of our own.”

Typically families in Zimbabwe will take care of children orphaned within their own family. The kids who are abandoned in the streets by biological parents end up having nowhere to go. Adoption by non-relatives is thought to be low for many reasons. Some have concerns about burial and inheritance practices, and others have problems with the adoption process itself. The process takes a very long time. One mother says, “There is usually no privacy at all. There are too many staff members in one big office and they also keep changing. So I am sure it is unfair for those who really need to keep the adoption a secret. Sometimes you are told different things by different officials. One will say one thing and another something else.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Mr. Ngoni Masoka says a 2015 study showed 4,701 children were living and working in the streets. He says 494 were in foster care. Masoka says the ministry’s resources are inadequate resulting in compromised quality service delivery.

Here are some myths about adoption easily debunked.