Saturday, April 27, 2013

Court date #2 - and what to expect from the in country adoption process in Kenya

We were completely taken by surprise this week, when I received a call from our lawyer on Thursday morning with amazing news. (I was actually out on a child rescue with Mogra when he called). After waiting 63 days from our first court date, our report was finally filed by the Children's Department and he was able to secure a court date for us. (From what I understand, court dates need to be filed by Wednesday of every week.) To our complete amazement, he was able to secure our hearing for Friday (26th). Short notice, but we were sure happy!!

The Canadian family that is a month ahead of us, has had a difficult time with their case. The judge has been making an issue of Canadian adoption and immigration laws with them, so we were really on edge.

Accompanying us in court, was the Guardian Ad Litem, the agency's social worker and a representative from the Children's department. One at a time, they all rose when they were called and stated that they have done interviews, home visits etc., and find it in the child's best interest to be adopted by us.

The judge then asked the clerk to schedule our final court date (the judgement). This is where my nerves started to fizzle. (We had a hell of time getting an extension for our visas, and was only able to obtain a 2 month extension, meaning we need to be out of the country by the 23rd of June.) The clerk started to flip through his calendar... and said," May 10th."

 May 10th!!!!

It actually took me a second to realize that was only in 2 weeks. Amazing. All I can say, is that our lawyer is AMAZING. We have always heard wonderful things about him... and I realize now how well regarded he is and how he manages to get things done.

We are looking at 4 weeks after our judgment to get all of the necessary paperwork, passport and visa to take Zahra home. So, realistically... mid June! We cannot wait to introduce you all to this spunky little girl. Everyday she amazes us with something new. She is blossoming so much... so completely different than the little girl we first met 6 months ago.

As far as the in country adoption process here - I have an amazing write up, done by a fellow adoptive parent. I wish I had this prior to coming here... we were really in the dark about the process.

On another note... I was told by our agency that there are 2 Canadian families that were just recently sent referrals. Who are you?? Please contact me!! If any adopting family is looking for an affordable 3 bedroom apartment (in new, safe compound close to Runda) to move in to.. let me know. We plan to be out by June 15th.

Procedures and protocol for International Adoption in Kenya

November 2012

Please note that the information below is a compilation based on formal documents produced by the four adoption societies in Kenya and legal texts by various departments, institutions and ministries of the Government of Kenya. Although the facts below have been cleared by a law enforcement professional in Nairobi and there might be some differences from case to case depending on the current situation in Kenya.


         Once you have arrived in Kenya and been greeted by one of the four Adoption Societies which exists in Kenya and which your Adoption Organization at home has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with, standard procedures is that you will visit the child at the orphanage between 2-6 days before you are allowed to take the child with you (this depends on the rules of each orphanage). Your Adoption Society in Kenya will also appoint one of their social workers who will be your contact person during your stay in Kenya.

         Once you have received the child from the orphanage and signed the Care Agreement with your Adoption Society in Kenya you are formally legally fostering the child for 90 days. Please remember to ALWAYS carry the Care Agreement with you in case someone stops you and wants to see that you have legal justification to care for the child. You have the right by law to only show the care agreement to a law enforcement professional i.e. if a civil person ask you to show proof of association with the child you do not have to do so.

         During the 90 days the Adoption Society which you belong to will suggest a Kenyan lawyer and a Guardian Ad Litem to you. The Guardian Ad Litem is usually a retired social worker. Standard procedures are that the lawyer and the Guardian Ad Litem will contact you during the 90 days and plan for the 1st Hearing in High Court which will only take place after the initial 90 days of fostering. You can also contact the Guardian Ad Litem yourself and invite her/him to meet with you and the child before the 1st Hearing, so that you get to know each other before the 1st Hearing.

         The sole purpose of the 1st Hearing is for a judge of the High Court to formally appoint the Guardian ad Litem as the Government of Kenya´s representative to undertake a home study of your family.

Please remember to always dress formally (no sandals, jeans etc.) while meeting with your lawyer, Children´s Department, appearing in High Court etc.

         After the 1st Hearing there is a suggested standard 45 days period before the 2nd Hearing should take place. During the 45 days the Guardian Ad Litem normally visits you at home a few times to write a so called home study report. This report is very similar to the one which the authorities in your home country have already carried out so it can be quite useful to give the Guardian Ad Litem a copy of this report from your home country.

         During the same period of time, your lawyer is to contact the government´s body dealing with international adoption i.e. the Children´s Department (CD). CDs role is to appoint one of their officers to be responsible for your case and your lawyer will make an appointment for you to meet with the officer at the CD. This meeting/ interview usually take up to 2 hours and you are not to bring your child/en along with you. Once again it can be quite useful to bring a copy of the report with you from your home country. The officer at the CD should already have a copy of this report, and should have read up on its content to be familiar with your family background. This might not always be the case. To come well prepared to the interview it is very useful in advance to list down for each parent the name of your Primary School (grundskola), Secondary School (gymnasium) incl, University and what year you finished each of these, including the titles of your various positions and what each of them enfolds. Before you leave the meeting at CD you should have agreed upon a date when the officer will visit you in your home. It is good if you ensure that this visit takes place as soon as possible after the meeting/ interview. Please remember to ensure that you have the mobile number of the officer, in case you need to call them at a later stage.

The purpose of the home visit is for the officer of the CD to have a close look at your home arrangements and see where the child sleeps and eats, as well as security, sanitation, clothes and water supply in your home.

         After the home visit, the officer of the CD and your Guardian Ad Litem will each write a report which your lawyer will collect and hand in together with many other documents to the High Court. Your lawyer will then make an appointment with the High Court for a 2nd Hearing.

         The purpose of the 2nd Hearing is for your lawyer to present to the judge ALL documents collected so far. The judge can according to the Kenyan adoption procedures already give you a judgment at the 2nd Hearing. This is however very unusual. Most common is that IF ALL papers are in order the judge will give you a new date for when the Judgment will be read out. This can take anything from 2 weeks to several months, all depending on which judge you get.

         Once you have the date for Judgment, please insist to your lawyer that you want to attend the Judgment in the High Court. This is not necessary but in the case the judge has several judgments to read out and not enough time, he/she will in most cases prioritize those families who are there that day.

         Because this is towards the end of your time in Kenya and MANY documents now have to be organized BEFORE you can go home it is a good idea to ask for a meeting with your lawyer to sit down and do a time schedule for what dates you can expect the remaining papers to be ready by and what is expected from your lawyer and what is expected from you.

Also, you can ask your lawyer to see a draft of the Adoption Order to make sure that the content is correct and no misspellings are done. Please NOTE that it is crucial that you during the remaining period read through every document meticulously to avoid any misspellings, as this can seriously prolong your stay in the country.

Please note that it can be very useful after you have had the meeting with your lawyer and you have a tentative time schedule ready, to check with the airline, which you have your return ticket with, that they have seats available for those dates you are planning to go home. At least try to make a tentative booking. This is extra important if you are planning to go home during peak season.

         On the day of the Judgment the lawyer based on the content of the Judgment goes back to his/her office and writes the final version of the Adoption Order and hands it in to the High Court for the signature of the Deputy Registrar. The protocol says that this should take not more than 5 working days.

         When the Adoption Order has been signed by the Deputy Registrar the lawyer collects the Adoption Order and hands it in to the Office of the Registrar General to get a Certificate of Entry in the Adopted Children’s Register. The protocol says that this should take not more than 7 working days.

         On the 8th day in the morning (or any day before that) your lawyer will pick up the Certificate of Entry in the Adopted Children’s Register. You shall now meet your lawyer to get a copy of the Adoption Order and the Certificate of Entry in the Adopted Children’s Register, these two copies MUST now be certified (stamped and signed) by your lawyer to ensure to the Children´s Department that they are real copies. Your lawyer will keep the 2 originals and hand them into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be stamped. The protocol says that this should take not more than 24 hrs. 

         At the same time you must take the certified copies of the Adoption Order and the Certificate of Entry in the Adopted Children’s Register and hand them in to the Children´s Department. Please call your officer at the CD a few days in advance alerting him/her that you most likely will be able to hand in all the documents requested by a certain date, just to make sure that they are available when you come.

Also, ask you lawyer for a copy of the form which you need to fill in to apply for the Certificate of Conformity aka Hague article 23. Upon request, you lawyer can assist you in filling in the application form. Please bring with you in a nice folder the following documents when visiting the CD:

         The application form for Certificate of Conformity aka Hague article 23

         Adoption Order

         Certificate of Entry in the Adopted Children’s Register

         Copy of your passport/s

         Copy of Freeing Certificate. Your lawyer should have this document, if not, ask your Kenyan Adoption Society to give it to you

         Copy of Approval Letter by the National Adoption Committee (NAC). Your lawyer should have this document, if not, ask your Kenyan Adoption Society to give it to you

         Copy of Certificate of the Consent by the Social Welfare Committee of your home country. You should have this paper with you from your home country when you come out to Kenya

         Certificate of Conformity aka Hague Article 23

Please note that the Certificate of Conformity aka Hague Article 23 has to be signed by two officials i.e. the Director for Children´s Department Mr. Ahmed Hussein Ahmed and the Chairman of NAC (National Adoption Committee) Ms. Faith Waigwa. The person at the Children´s Department in charge of writing the Certificate of Conformity aka Hague Article 23 will also ensure to get the two signatures above.                              

         Once you have all the documents above you can now apply for Swedish (or any other) travel document for your child. If you would like for your child to also have a Kenyan passport, you can apply for this at the same time. Only remember that the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi accepts taking copies of the requested original documents listed below while you are at the embassy, while the Kenyan immigration authorities request the originals only and will keep the originals with them until the Kenyan passport for your child is ready to be picked up. It is advisable to ask an agent to assist with the Kenyan passport. This can be done within just a few days (express) or weeks (standard), depending on how much time you have. The express Kenyan passport costs more. Ask you agent what documents are needed to proceed with a Kenyan passport for your child.

One very efficient agent with a registered company assisting expats in Kenya is Ms. Rebecca Lusweti (mob: 070 311 96 81)

To get the Swedish travel document for your child, call the officer in charge of travel documents at the Swedish Embassy (mob: 0733 12 16 65) and ask for an appointment. You are requested to bring with you the following documents to the embassy:


         Receipt of transfer/travel documents from CBA bank
Please call officer in charge of travel documents at the Swedish embassy and ask how much the current price of a travel document is. Then go to the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and pay that amount. There is a branch of CBA at the Junction. Bring the receipt of this transfer to the Swedish Embassy.

         Copy of Birth Certificate (if this document exists)

         Adoption Order

         Certificate of Conformity aka Hague Article 23

         Parent/s passport. The embassy will take copies while you are there

         3 new passport pictures of the child

         You will also need to fill in a requested form from the Swedish tax authorities called:”Anmälan namn”. The Swedish embassy will give you a copy of this form.

            It can take anything from 1 to 3 days to get the Swedish travel document.

         Once the Swedish travel document is ready you must get a stamp in it from the Kenyan Ministry of Immigration before you can leave Kenya. The easiest thing, once again, is to get an agent to assist you with this. It should only take, at the most, half a day. You must accompany the agent to the Ministry of Immigration. Please bring with you a copy of the child’s ticket and you need to fill in a form at the Ministry if Immigration to request for the stamp.

         Before you are ready to leave Kenya, please ask your Adoption Society at home for a Letter of Approval, this document can be useful to have while leaving Kenya as well as entering your home country.


Good luck!

Info compiled by Mali Nilsson Nairobi November 2012





1 comment:

Candice said...

Oh my goodness!!! I am so excited for you!!! Congratulations!!! :) You're almost at the finish line mama. :)