Since my family is adopting from Uganda I have been talking to an increasing number of people about our experience and about adopting from Africa in general.
One question that has come up is what other African countries are open for adoption. Ethiopia is by far the most popular but what about the rest of Africa?
The best place to start is on the US State Department website. I also asked my good friends RJ and Rebecca Caswell from Weaving Families for their thoughts. They adopted twin boys from Ghana last year and as part of their adoption ministry they provide counseling and consulting to families adopting.
The list of countries in Africa that are open for adoption is sort of a difficult one to compile because it seems like everyday an agency is announcing a new program somewhere in Africa and families have been successful in adopting from countries without “established programs.” The best place to check the status of adoptions in a country is www.adoption.state.gov
You will have to search one country at a time but you can read what the adoption requirements are for each country and whether or not they are party to the Hague Convention (this dictates what agencies are allowed to work in country and if independent adoptions are possible.) I have listed countries below with the numbers of children adopted in parentheses.
The top African countries with completed adoptions to US citizens in 2008:
Liberia (currently closed) (249)
Nigeria 148 (no agencies)
Rwanda has become popular recently with several agencies opening programs there (17 in 2008). I have just started seeing agencies announcing Uganda programs (55 in 2008.)
I have seen agencies touting programs in Burkina Faso (2), Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi (2) and Sierra Leone (10)
Many countries have residency or fostering requirements that can be waived if the courts deem it appropriate or in the best interest of the child as in Uganda as you are aware. There has been so much in the press about Madonna’s adoption but Malawi clearly states that you must be a resident but they choose not to define resident so it is up to the discretion of the judge.
If God has lead you or is leading you to adopt from an African country (other than Ethiopia) I’d love to hear.