Legal adoptions in Nigeria is rare. This is because there are loads of quack adoption centres in different parts of the country. These quacks are popularly known as child factories. What most of these quacks do is that they bring in under-aged pregnant girls, nurture them through pregnancy then when these girls give birth, they sell these infants to willing buyers who they don’t know and most times don’t even know where they live. What is done to those kids isn’t their pot of beans.
Legal adoption takes patience and time in between. If you ever want to adopt a child, here are the steps you must follow according to Aishatu Ene, an experienced social worker.
Visit social welfare secretariat, they will give you relevant forms and information; Note a single person below 35 is not eligible to adopt. This is because it is usually not in the best interest of the child; a single person below 35 may meet a spouse who is not comfortable with an adopted child and this is when you will see people saying they want to return the child or dump them in some village.
Married couples also have a time period they must have been married or trying before they are eligible for adoption.
Checks; when you have submitted forms, they will perform necessary checks, bank accounts, criminal records, workplace, home environment, family etc to be sure you are who you say you are and your intentions are genuine.
If you have been cleared, you will be referred to a few orphanages and meet kids eligible for adoption; note that while orphanages are full of kids not all of them can be adopted; some have single parents who may be unable to care for them at the moment; some may be in a court process; abuse, custody gone very bad etc.
You will be required to also make a donation to the orphanage to cover some of the cost of raising the child and to help with caring for other kids
When you have found an eligible child and all checks have been performed, you will go before a Judge with social welfare who will present your case and eligibility. The Judge will ask you to verbally affirm that you understand adoption and that the child is now your child and can inherit your assets, have the same rights as your kids. You affirm and if the Judge is satisfied, he signs an order of adoption and you sign too.
Social welfare can stop at your home anytime to check how the child is coping.
If you want to move, you have to inform welfare. If you move to a new town, you notify welfare in the new state. To move out of the country, you would need permission.
Note that this process takes time. You may think Nigeria can fast track any process with money but not adoption. Somehow this is one aspect we are getting right and doing well.