Frequently Asked Questions
The Black’s Law Dictionary 7th Edition defines adoption as the “Statutory process of terminating a child’s legal right and duties towards the natural parents and substituting similar rights and duties toward adoptive parents.
Adoption is also defined as a procedure by which people legally assume the role of parents in respect of a person who is not their biological child. From the foregoing, there are three sets of participants in an Adoption, the adoptive parent seeking the adoption order, the child to be adopted and the birth parents of the child.
Consequently, the child becomes a complete member of the adopter’s family, takes on the adopter’s surname and assumes the rights and privileges of a biological child, including the right of inheritance. Additionally, a relationship of consanguinity between the adopted child and all members of the adopter’s family is established. As a result, marriage or sexual relationship between the adopted child and any member of the adopter’s family is absolutely prohibited.
It is universally accepted that children who have access to the nurture and care of a family environment, as well as unfettered education are most likely to grow into balanced adulthood and achieve their God-given potential.
Under the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adoption is recognized as one of the forms of alternative care for children who have been temporarily or permanently deprived of their family environment, and also for children who are unable to remain in their family environment. It is described as a unique form of childcare because it does provide permanent care and parenting for the adopted child as compared to other childcare institutions that provide substitute family/home to a child. Thus, the adopted child is able to access quality life in a family setting.
Families willing to adopt a child must be fully aware of the differences between adopting a child and having a biological child. They must be ready to enter into a different kind of parenthood. The adopted child must never be a substitute for biological children but have the advantage and benefits of the same care and love. The child’s biological background will always be a part of the family’s life. It is therefore important to appreciate the circumstances that the adopted child may have been exposed to.
It should still be said that Adoption is not the right option for all children. In some cases, some children who cannot live with their birth families need a secure, loving home throughout childhood and beyond without the necessity of the legal link to their birth parents, being severed. In these cases, the solution may be permanent fostering or special guardianship.
The Law defines a child as a person under the age of eighteen years. Such a child can be adopted when;
- a. “The parents of the child or, where there is no surviving parent, the guardian of the child consents to the adoption" or
- b. "the child is abandoned, neglected or persistently abused or ill-treated, and there are compelling reasons in the interest of the child why he should be adopted.”
In the latter case, there will be no need to seek the consent of any persons.
MHCF identifies children who are legally free (eligible) for adoption from Lagos State Government licensed orphanage homes. These children were either found abandoned or given up for adoption by parents/guardians who were unwilling or unable to cater for them.
The children we refer range from the healthy to those with special needs; toddlers to teenagers, relatives, and biological sibling groups.
Yes, you can. But this decision will be left to the adoption office after a proper assessment has been conducted. It is the organization’s policy to place twins and siblings together where possible.
Please do state in your Letter of Intent your decision to adopt more than a single child.
Our program in Lagos State (& other States) allows for married couples and single applicants to apply to adopt based on the following:
- Nigerian and non-Nigerian nationals are accepted. Please note that our interpretation of the various State Child Rights Laws, only Lagos State has enacted enabling legislation that allows intercountry adoption involving non-Nigerians.
- If applicants are married couples, one of them should be at least 25 years of age and must not exceed 100 years (combined ages)
- Single female applicants are accepted. Single applicants must be at least 35 years of age, and may only apply to adopt a child of the same gender.
- Prospective Adopters must have contracted the services of an Accredited Adoption Service Provider to facilitate necessary approval to adopt from their home country’s Adoption Authority and provide a satisfactory Home Study Report.
It is impossible to adopt a child without a court order, a mere agreement in which a parent seeks to transfer his rights and duties to someone else is ineffective and will not be recognized as an adoption. Therefore an adoption can only be finalized when a competent court adoption order is given.
By The Child Rights Law of Lagos State (As Amended) and from the experience of concluded cases, MHCF advises a period of not less than 1-2 years to conclude an adoption. This tenure excludes the time lag for filing for the child’s visa at the USCIS or Canadian Embassy. Please note that MHCF as a Nigerian provider is not responsible for the immigration process or requirements.
The adoption period commences from the time a notice of intention to adopt is sent to the local adoption authority i.e. Ministry of Youth & Social Development. The law requires Potential Adopters Parents (PAPs) must officially express their adoption intention for a minimum of one year before the adoption is processed.
One or both PAP’s will spend at least 6-8 weeks in Lagos (Nigeria) towards the expiration of the 1-year notice, to bond and conclude the legalization of the adoption. PAPs are allowed to make earlier visits to meet their child if they choose.
It is not uncommon to encounter delays such as changes in court dates, difficulties in child/parent bonding, etc. These factors are more often outside the control of MHCF, and as such we will not be responsible for any delays that may lengthen a family’s stay beyond the eight (8) week period suggested.
(Same Standards apply in other states where MHCF operates) Pre-adoptive parents are expected to provide the following;
- Typed Application letter stating the reasons for adoption and duly signed by the adopter(s) (Click Here for template)
- 2 copies of Birth Certificate of the Adopter(s)
- 2 original copies of Medical Certificate of Fitness
- Proof of Employment/Evidence of Means: Including Employment Letter, Reference Letter from Employer, 3 months’ Salary Pay Slips & Photocopy of Work Identity Card etc.-( 2 Copies each)
- 2 copies of Utility Bill for the last 3 months
- 2 copies of Statement of Account for the last 6 months
- 2 colored copies of the data pages of the applicant's international passport
- 2 copies of Tax Returns Certificates for the last 3 years
- 2 copies of the Home Study Report by an acceptable adoption service provider in your home country.
- 2 colored copies of certificate of naturalization (as applicable)
- 2 copies of relevant Adoption Law in the applicant’s country of domicile.
- 4 copies of the applicant’s passport photograph.
- Letter of Introduction of pre-adoptive parents’ Nigerian contact address and telephone number.
- Payment of Adoption Charges to the Lagos State Government as well as all other ancillary fees.
After the adoption order has been obtained (this takes between 1-10 court working days), MHCF makes arrangement to get your child a Birth Certificate from the National Population Commission and the international passport from the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
*Time duration to obtain your child’s passport would be advised on a case-by-case basis as bottleneck challenges are frequently encountered in obtaining a passport at the NIS.
MHCF has a competent and highly passionate and experienced Board of Trustees and Management team dedicated to providing non-profit inter-country arrangements. Due to our commitment to integrity, all our stakeholders are familiar with and inculcate all the standards, safeguards & protections of the Hague Convention (and other laws) in the conduct of our placement services. We have enshrined strong governance policies to guide our activities to ensure that we are “here for good”.
MHCF is the first and most experienced supervised adoption agency facilitating inter-country adoption to the United States of America and Canada. We are the first agency to successfully conclude placements to the US since the Universal Accreditation Act came into force in July 2014. We have achieved a 100% success rate out of all the adoption arrangements facilitated since 2014.
Morgan Hill Children Foundation has partnership relationship with at least 8 Accredited Adoption Service Providers spread across the US and Canada and operates in as many States in Nigeria. This has enabled us to cover a wider footprint and possess and understanding of adoption complexities in various states.