How to Adopt a child by Foreign Parents in Kenya

9 min


Kenya bans child adoptions by foreigners

Kenya bans child adoptions by foreigners however follow the procedure below if you are to adopt as a foreigner

Decision comes after concerns raised about circumstances by which children, babies have been adopted by foreigners

Kenya bans child adoptions by foreigners

The Kenyan government decided Thursday to ban “with immediate effect” adoptions of children by foreign nationals, after observing legal manipulations and violations against babies, local media reported.

In an extraordinary meeting headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House in Nairobi, the Cabinet decided to shape a new policy document aimed at regulating adoption by foreign nationals in the East African country, spokeswoman Kanze Dena was quoted by the Daily Nation news website.

The decision comes as concerns have been raised about the circumstances by which children and babies have been adopted by foreigners.

A U.S. couple recently won a lawsuit against the government for the procedure of adopting a Kenyan baby.

The male baby, Kiano, was handed over to the couple Wednesday over legal guardianship by the Nairobi’s Children Court which the couple was granted in April 2017, the star Daily reported.

Kiano was separated from the couple as detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations stormed their house in Kenya and forcefully removed the baby.

The police said Kiano, “was found abandoned as a newborn along with another baby, believed to be his twin,” according to the Daily Nation.

“I can confirm the child has been handed over to the [adoptive] parents three hours ago under unclear circumstances,” the Star quoted a source at the Lang’ata Road-based Children Welfare Society of Kenya on Thursday, without providing further details.

In August 2015, the High Court ruled on hindering two Swedish couples and a Danish couple from taking three Kenyan children abroad after discovering the children were not abandoned but were missing children whose families had searched for months to find, according to the Daily Nation.

The Kenyan government, in response to a report in 2017 by an affiliated committee of experts, decided to halt renewal of licenses for children’s homes, abstaining from granting licenses to new ones.

That decision came over reported “manipulation leading to commercialization of adoptions,” according to the Daily Nation.

According to the Children’s Act, any child who is a resident within Kenya may be adopted by a sole applicant or jointly by two spouses, and an adoption application made by foreign spouses who are not Kenyan residents shall be accompanied by written consents of the court or of a government authority in the country where


  • All international adoption applications MUST be submitted through a Registered Adoption Agency in the receiving country, to a Registered Adoption Agency in the sending country (Kenya).
  • All foreign adoption societies MUST be approved by the Kenyan Adoption Committee before they commence operations.
  • The regulations require inter-agency co-ordination and co-operation.

Apply in-person

Step 1: Investigations by authorized bodies in receiving country.

  • The adoption applicants have to meet the procedures in their home country before submitting their application to Kenya via an Adoption Agency.
  • The couples must be assessed by competent bodies/ministries and criminal records must be checked before approval.
  • Comprehensive medical examinations must be carried out including HIV status, and fertility checks.
  • The financial status of the applicants and their suitability to bring up a child shall be evaluated.
  • The couple MUST also undergo pre-adoption counseling in preparation for the big task ahead of them.
  • These counseling sessions shall cover the adoption process, length of time, challenges to expect, the backgrounds of the children to be adopted etc.
  • This will be followed by an application form for adoption being filled by the applicants through the Foreign Adoption Society and submitted with all the required documents. ( The required documents are mentions in the required documents section)

Step 2: Formal Application to Kenyan Adoption Agency

  • The Foreign Agency MUST ensure that all the documents required are in place before forwarding the application to the Kenyan Adoption Agency.
  • Upon receipt of an application for adoption from a Foreign Adoption Society, The Kenyan Agency shall forward the same to the Kenya Adoption Committee within thirty (30) days from date of receipt.

Step 3: The Kenyan Adoption Committee

  • This is the Central Body governing all adoptions in the country. This committee shall consider applications for International Adoption and shall either approve or reject it.
  • The decision shall be communicated to the Local Adoption Society within thirty (30) days form the date such a decision is made.

Step 4: Communication of Local Adoption Agency
A. Communication of Approval

  • Where an approval for adoption is granted, the Local Adoption Society shall communicate the same to the Foreign Adoption Society within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the approval. This will be accompanied by:-
  1. A brief report on the children available for adoption at the time, who match the adopters’ preferences
  2. Information about the approximate length of time that the adoption process may take
  3. Relevant costs involved in the process
  4. A copy of the undertaking to be signed by the Foreign Adoption Society before conclusion of the adoption process.

B. In Case of Rejection

  • Where an application is rejected, it shall be communicated to the Foreign Adoption Society within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of such a rejection by the Local Adoption Society giving reasons for the rejection.

C. : Appeal in case of rejection

  • In case of rejection of an adoption application by the Kenyan Adoption Committee, a Foreign Adoption Society may submit another application for adoption within six months from the date of rejection of the previous application.

Step 5: Travel and arrival to Kenya

  • Upon receiving communication of approval, the Foreign Adoption Society will arrange for the prospective parents to travel to Kenya within three (3) months from the date of receipt.
  • Upon arrival in Kenya, the Local Adoption Society shall receive the applicants and direct them to suitable accommodation/residence. The accommodation conditions must be assessed for suitability. (This involves a home visit by a Social worker employed by the Local Adoption Society).

Step 6: Pre-Placement Counseling and Placement

  • Before placement with a child the applicants MUST undergo a three (3) hour compulsory replacement counseling/training in preparation for receiving the child. This shall be done by a counselor attached to the Local Adoption Society
  • The applicant /s will then be directed to the child/ren already identified for them. A two week familiarization period is recommended while the child is still in the home. The child is then placed in the care of the prospective parents and a care agreement form is signed.

Step 7: Foster Period and Follow-Up/Supervision

  • Upon placement with a child for adoption at least one of the prospective parents MUST reside in the country (Kenya) for three (3) consecutive months with the child.
  • During the three month fostering period, follow-up visits will be carried out to assess the bonding and adjustment of both the child and the prospective parent(s). The visits will be carried out as follows:-

(i). 1st Follow-up:- one month after discharge of the baby. Conducted at the Local Adoption Society’s office.
(ii). 2nd Follow-up:- Two months after discharge of the baby. Conducted at the Local Adoption Society’s office.
(iii). Final Follow-up:- three months after discharge. It MUST be conducted at the applicant’s home- to observe the adjustment of the child in the home environment.

NOTE: The relevant Children’s Home will also conduct their independent follow –up visits on agreed intervals e.g. fortnightly, monthly etc.

Step 8: Legal Process

  • If the prospective adopter(s) complete the placement period successfully the Local Adoption Society will assist them in identifying a suitable lawyer to represent their case in court. The legal process involves three (3) hearings (but could be more). Both applicants and the child MUST be present for the court sessions.
  • A Guardian ad litem (Friend of the child) will also be appointed by the National Adoption Committee to safeguard the interests of the child in the course of the court proceedings.
  • Where an adoption order is granted, the Local Adoption Society shall notify the foreign Adoption Society within seven (7) days from the date of the order is made.

Step 9: Issuing of Adoption Certificate

  • This document will be issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths once the Adoption Orders are granted. It replaces the Birth Certificate.
  • Therefore, the adoptive parents may only get a copy of the Birth Certificate (if available) but not the original. The process of obtaining an Adoption Certificate may take 3-5 working days.

Step 10: Traveling Out of Kenya.

  • Insure you have all the required travelling documents. These include;

(i). Adoption order and Adoption Certificate
(ii). Clearance letter from the Kenyan Department of Children’s Services-Ministry of Home Affairs to allow the child to leave the country
(iii). Travel documents(not Passport) issued by Immigration Department-Kenya
(iv). Visa- to be issued by receiving country’s Embassy in Kenya

  • The Local Adoption Society shall assist the adoptive parents obtain these documents from the relevant authorities.
  • Adoptive parents can only leave the country with the child once the Adoption Order is granted and all the above mentioned documents are issued.
  • The parents should contact the Local Adoption Agency if they need assistance with booking of the flight ticket.

Step 11: Post-Adoption Progress Reports

  • The Foreign Adoption Society MUST send reports on the progress of the adopted child to the Local Adoption Society.
  • These reports must be submitted once every three months during the first two years from the date of making of an Adoption Order, and annually thereafter for three years

Required Documents

  1. Home study report of the foreign adoptive parents prepared by a professional social worker.
  2. Passport copies
  3. 3 full size colour photographs
  4. 3 full size colour photographs of their children (if any)
  5. Copies of Birth Certificate(s)
  6. Copies of Birth Certificate of their children (if any)
  7. Copies of Marriage Certificate (if any)
  8. Medical Certificates (including information on fertility of adopters and HIV status)
  9. Social enquiry report from an official agency detailing preferences of the child to be adopted
  10. Two (2) references from responsible persons preferably the local Religious leader, Commissioner for oaths, Notary public or relevant government department.
  11. Affidavit from a reliable person(s) to take charge of the child in case of death or incapacitation of the adoptive parents
  12. A report on financial means supported by official documents e.g. latest pay-slips, bank statements etc.
  13. Letter from employer indicating duration of contract and remuneration
  14. Religious affiliation of applicants
  15. A report on fixed assets
  16. Record of convictions (if any)
  17. Certificate of good conduct
  18. Consent from competent court or government authority permitting adopter(s) to adopt a foreign child that adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child according to the law of their country.


  • All documents submitted by a Foreign Adoption Society MUST be notarized or authenticated by the Ministry responsible for foreign affairs in the receiving country.
  • Any documents in any language other than English must be translated.

Office Locations & Contacts

Children Services State Department for Social Protection,
Bishops Road, Social Security House,
P.O. Box 40326 – 00100, Nairobi.
Telephone: +254 (0) 2729800
Fax: +254 020 2726497
Website: Children Services

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Foreigners are allowed to adopt their first child, one has to meet the following prerequisites conditions.

  1. Only married couples may apply for an International Adoption,
  2. The applicants MUST be aged between 25-65 years at the time of submitting application and MUST be at least 21 years older that the child.
  3. Joint applicants MUST be married to each other for at least THREE (3) YEARS.
  4. Single foreign applicants may not apply for adoption unless under special circumstances
  5. The child to be adopted MUST be at least 6 weeks old and resident in the Republic of Kenya
  6. All applicants MUST have completed and complied with the accepted adoption proceedings in their home country/ country of Residence before applying to LANS. Proof of such approval should accompany the application,
  7. A certified Home Study Report from a certified Adoption Agency, Certified Social Worker or other relevant authority MUST also be submitted with the application,
  8. Verification MUST be given by the relevant authority of the country of the parents’ origin that the child will be granted citizenship once the adoption order is granted,


  • Legal fees for processing the process are required at various stages of the application process.
  • These fees vary depending in the agency which you use to facilitate the adoption process.


  • The validity period is forever.

Documents to Use

Processing Time

  • The processing time can take more than on year.

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Kenya – Adopt by Foreign Parents

Kenya – Jinsi ya Kuasilisha Mtoto kama Mzazi wa Kigeni


  • Any applicant interested in adopting a Kenyan child must come through an approved adoption society in Kenya. It is these approved adoption society make an application on behalf of applicants wishing to adopt a Kenyan child.
  • There are four approved adoption societies:

(i). Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative (KKPI) Adoption Society.
(ii). Little Angels Network
(iii). Kenya Christian Homes
(iv). Child Welfare Society of Kenya

Required Information

  1. Full names and bio data of applicant(s)
  2. Marital status
  3. Medical report of adoptive parents
  4. Financial status
  5. Child’s date of birth and gender.
  6. Criminal records of applicant’s
  7. Country of origin of applicants
  8. Occupation of applicant
  9. Reasons for wanting to adopt a Kenyan child
  10. Attitudes of relative towards adoption
  11. Anticipated plans for the adopted child

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Need for the Document

  • Adoption is the legal process by which a child becomes the child of persons other than his/her natural or biological parents.
  • When a child is legally adopted the adopter or adopters become the child’s parent(s).
  • Legal adoptions permanently transfer all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from the biological parent or parents.

Information which might help

  • International adoptions can be conducted in respect of a child upon the application of two spouses who are not Kenyans and who are not in Kenya provided that legal requirements to that effect are met.
  • International adoptions are processed through an approved foreign adoption agency in conjunction with an approved Kenyan adoption society to make international adoption arrangements.
  • For a society to be recognized as conducting inter and the home country, it must be duly recognized under the laws of that country. The society must also be recognized to conduct inter-country adoption in Kenya.
  • The society must submit a request through an approved adoption society in Kenya. It must submit all the relevant supportive documents to the adoption committee in charge of adoption matters in Kenya upon payment of the required application fees

The following persons are not allowed to adopt in Kenya

  • Section 158 (3) of the Children’s Act, prohibits the making of an adoption order in favour of an applicant who:
  1. Is not of sound mind within the meaning of the Mental Health Act (Cap. 248).
  2. Has been charged and convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for any of the offences set out in the Third Schedule to the Act or similar offences. The prescribed offences generally include defilement, sexual offences, immoral behavior, and attempt to procure abortion, unnatural offences; and assault.
  3. Is a homosexual; accordingly, homosexuality is illegal in Kenya hence the prohibition of gay persons from adopting children.
  4. In the case of joint applicants, if they are not married to each other.
  5. Is a sole foreign male applicant.

External Links


Addresses to some accredited adoption agencies in Kenya are as follows;

Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative
Address: Kogo Star Plaza, Upper Ground Floor, Suite 14,
Maai Mahiu Road (Next to Langata/Mbagathi Roundabout)
P.O. Box 30906, GPO 00100 Nairobi
Phone: +254 206 004 461
Mobile:, +254 725 475 208, +254 734 257 334
Website: Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative Website

Little Angels Network
Address: Wood Avenue – Kindaruma Road Junction Off Ngong Road
Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 0724 941326
Website: Little Angels Network Website

Child Welfare Society of Kenya
Address: Child Welfare Building Langata Road,
P.O. BOX 43982-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 0206003301 / 6006391

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