Adopting from Africa

DSC_1087Since 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.

Rebecca writes:

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

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:

Ethiopia (1725)
Liberia (currently closed) (249)
Nigeria 148 (no agencies)
Ghana (101)

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.

8 thoughts on “Adopting from Africa

  1. My husband and I will be in Uganda in August to bring our two sons home. (We have decided to wait until after the courts re-open in August, instead of getting a date before July 15, so we do not have to make two trips.) In the beginning phase I remember being so thankful and amazed that the only country outside Uganda that recognizes a Ugandan legal guardianship is the USA. We know quite a few westerners (non-Americans) who are living in Uganda to fulfill the 3-year residency/foster requirement and will complete an adoption in Uganda because their home country will not allow their kids to immigrate back under a legal guardianship. We’re very thankful that America does not make us “take a number” and make us wait our turn to be able to bring our kids home.

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Hi,
    Great post. We are also adopting from Uganda and are working on our homestudy. I’ve been following your blog and am so excited for your family! 🙂

    As far as African Adoptions – I have heard of a couple of people adopt from Guinea-Bissau and Zambia. I know of several families trying to adopt from Lesotho and Kenya. I don’t believe Burkina Faso is actually open to Americans right now, but the French do adopt children from BF. I know there are a couple of agencies trying to open Burkina Faso programs. I have also seen a couple of other (non celebrity!) family blogs that have adopted from Malawi.

    Great post! 🙂

    • Hi, We are looking into adopting in Malawi. I know it’s almost imposible so when I saw that you know of a few poeple who have adopted from Malawi I was encouraged. Could you please send me any information you may know about there adoption. Thank you!

  3. I believe strongly that God has been leading us to adoption for the past few years. We have struggled to have another child and recently have made a decision to adopt. We have been praying about it and waiting. The other day our pastor talked with my husband about whether we would be interested in adoption from Africa. Our church as a mission in Africa. I don’t know where this will lead us, but I God is leading……

  4. Burkina Faso is a Hague country and is open although it seems it is a lengthy process at this point.

    Zambia has a 3 month fostering requirement and a 12 month residency requirement (that may be waived by the courts I believe). There were 6 adoptions from Zambia in 2008.

  5. We are Americans currently adopting from Burkina Faso. We have a court date in September and should travel in October. Praying that God will open the doors for the orphans of Burkina to find families!

  6. ive always dreamed of adopting internationally or from foster care im so happy you guys are getting closer to adopting ur kids good luck and god bless

  7. Hello I just read your article and yes God is leading me to adopt from other African countries although one of them is Ethiopia there are many other African countries where my heart is I’m African american and 21 years old..I want to adopt from Sierra Leone,Liberia,Gambia,Zambia,South Africa,Rwanda,Uganda,Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo

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