Africa has millions of orphans. The reasons are varied- internal strife, diseases, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, rape, and whatnot. Many of these orphans do not have a chance to live a normal life-they have to struggle every day just to survive. Across the 52 United Nations recognized countries in Africa, there are hundreds of children living in inhumane conditions in orphanages.
Adopting a Child from these orphanages not only helps them get a better life but also gives you God’s blessings as you’re doing your bit towards the betterment of society. If you intend to adopt a child, you will have to be patient as you will need to fulfill certain criteria for international adoptions.
What you should know about the Hague Convention
Convened in 1980, the Hague Convention is an international agreement signed by over 100 countries. This was done to safeguard international adoptees and ensure their best interests. Implementing this agreement meant that a child could be placed with a family from a country other than his or her own country. Though this agreement streamlined the adoption process, some countries haven’t been able to implement it because of political, economic, or social reasons. Others argue that some rules are quite stringent, making it difficult for parents and countries to adhere to them.
Even if you intend to adopt from a country in Africa that isn’t a signatory to the Hague Convention, you can still adopt by following a few different rules and regulations.
How to adopt an orphan child from Africa
Find a Hague-accredited agency
Once you have made up your mind, you can start by finding an agency that is accredited both by the International Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) and The Hague convention. This ensures complete compliance and ethical processes being followed for the adoption. Even if you’re planning to adopt from a country that hasn’t signed the Hague Agreement, you should choose an IAAME and Hague Agreement accredited agency to ensure ethical practices.
After you have zeroed in on the accredited agency, you then need to submit paperwork that delves into all aspects of your life including your marital status, physical and mental health, employment, relationships, and home safety, besides others.
When done, a licensed professional will visit your home to evaluate your application to ensure you are fit for adopting a child. Many people find this home study to be invasive, but it is necessary for ensuring that the child gets the best care from his adoptive parents. As this is international adoption, you will have to work with two different agencies- the child-placing agency and the home study child-placing agency. Do a little research to know who can do the home study and what is expected from you.
The next step is to get a preapproval from the intended country you want to adopt from. For this, you will have to fill the I-600A form for non-Hague countries or the I-800A form for Hague-approved countries. The report generated from the home study and the preapproval forms will be sent to the United States and the country you want to adopt from. This is done to confirm that the requirements have been met by both countries.
Choose and adopt a child
The last step is when you have to be matched with a child that you could adopt. This could be done through an in-country visit, or with coordination from the child-placing agency. Some countries require you to have in-country visits while others may need you to stay with the child in the child’s home country for some time before you can get the child to the United States.
In the End
The whole process can take a long time, about 3 months to a year or even more. However, once the process is complete, you would be able to channel your energy into integrating the child in your home and helping him or her interact with society, friends, and relatives as an integral part of your family.
Here at the Catholic Connect Foundation, we assist the families seeking to adopt with the paperwork and other formalities. After all, making an orphan child your own takes a lot of effort and gets you great Blessings from God.