How to Adopt a Child in Nigeria – Complete Guide 2019

The issue of childlessness and barrenness has brought about an increase in adoption in Nigeria. There is more than one reason for adopting a child.

The first is barrenness. Most women go through this for one reason or another and end up going for adoption as a last resort.

The fear of being alone without children and dying without having anyone to pass on the family name and inheritance is also a major concern on this side of the world.

Often at times unmarried people also prefer to adopt a child for companionship. They might not like the idea of marriage, although this is not common in our country. They might also be traumatized from past experiences and decide to remain single and train an adopted child as theirs.

Most times complicated health issues about childbirth can also influence one’s decision to adopt a child. Even though adopting a child can never be compared to having a child of your own, it bridges a huge gap in the lives of those desperately in need of a child.

A lot of misinformed people just go to their villages and pick up a child from any family that is in need of help financially.

Genuinely speaking this is not a bad idea as it would be lessening the burden on the family. But then what if one day they decide they need their child back? What then would you do?

This is why you have to go through with it legally which is the right way. In any case, you are wondering if adoption is legal in Nigeria, YES it is, and this post covers the adoption process in Nigeria.

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There are a few challenges facing child adoption and it all depends on the kind of adoption you are going with and is also country-specific. Some challenges could also be unique to the family. There are two kinds of adoption;

  • Open adoption
  • Closed adoption

Open adoption involves adopting a child and still having some contact with the birthparent of the child.
Closed adoption, on the other hand, is the opposite of open adoption. The adoptive parent maintains no communication whatsoever with the birthparent.

Challenges Facing Child Adoption in Nigeria

  • Financial challenges
  • Legal challenges
  • Health challenges
  • Intercountry adoption
  • Emotional challenges

Financial Challenges

this depends on the agency you decide to go through for the process. There are a lot of adoption agencies in Nigeria. If it is a private agency, be prepared to pay a higher amount of money than what a government agency would normally charge.

Another angle is the child you are planning to adopt. If the child is a foreign national, then the charges would be higher. Yet another angle is the aspect of the birth parents.

Your expenses might increase if you are paying for the medical expenses of the birth mother. Then also the payment is made to the attorney that would handle the adoption case.

Legal Challenges

It is important to know all the legal hassles pertaining to child adoption, especially one that seeks the consent of the birthparent.

Be it an open or closed adoption; it is necessary that both the father and the mother of the child are aware of the adoption to ensure that they both relinquish their rights to the child. This and other related legal cases can pose a challenge to child adoption.

Health Challenges

Often times in closed adoption, you might not get the necessary information needed about the adopted child’s medical history, and this is due to the lack of contact between the birthparent and the adoptive parent.

Even in some open adoption cases, the biological father might be absent, so the adoptive parent still finds it hard to have access to the child’s full medical history.

Intercountry Adoption

In this case, the adoptive parent has to go through the stress of knowing how the adoption system works in the birth country of the child so as not to bypass any law unintentionally.

You would also need to know about the laws of international adoption and the special visa requirement as the case may be.

Emotional Challenges

Sometimes, the child might not be able to adjust to the new family or the other way round. This mostly occurs when the adopted child is already of age before adoption.

Another aspect of this, is the child growing older and becoming inquisitive about his\her roots, real parent, and so on. This can be emotionally testing for the family.

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According to The Child’s Right Act, 2003 adopting a child in Nigeria is legal

The requirements include;

  • Letter of application for adoption to the High Court.
  • Marriage certificate or sworn declaration of marriage [ if the applicant is married]
  • Birth certificate or sworn declaration of the age of each applicant.
  • Two passport photographs of each applicant.
  • A medical certificate of the fitness of the applicant. It should be from a government hospital.

Other likely document which you would be told to get when you apply

Child Adoption Process

The first step is to choose an adoption service provider

  • Apply to be eligible to adopt. You must apply to the social welfare office then your eligibility can be considered.
  • After you have been considered eligible to adopt a child, the next step is to be matched with a child. The child would also be checked for eligibility to be adopted according to Nigeria’s Requirements as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section.

Then from here, you can gain legal custody of the child. The process for gaining legal custody of the child includes;

  • Role of adopted authority.
  • Role of the court.
  • Role of an adoption agency.
  • Authentication of documents.

We hope you find this article handy. If you are looking for a guide to adopting a child in Nigeria, then this has got you covered.
Let us know what you think in the comment section; we will be glad to hear from you.


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