Q – What is adoption?
A – Adoption is a legal process that creates a parent-child relationship between persons not related by blood.
Q – What are the different types of adoption?
A –There are two types of adoption. The open and close adoption. The close adoption does not allow contact with birth parents of the child. The open adoption allows interfaces between birth and adoptive parents who remain in touch as they wish.
Q – How does the Bible view adoption?
A – Giving children up for adoption can be a loving alternative for parents who may, for various reasons, be unable to care for their children. In addition, it is in some cases an answer to the prayer of a childless couple/person. It could also be considered a calling for parents who expand their family by adopting to add to their biological children.
Adoption is spoken of favourably throughout Scripture. Examples abound on adoption. The story is told of Moses who was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter in the book of Exodus 1:15-22; 2:1-10. In the book of Esther, a beautiful girl named Esther, who was adopted by her cousin after her parents’ death, became a queen, and God used her to bring deliverance to the Jewish people. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit instead of through the seed of a man (Matthew 1:18). He was “adopted” and raised by His mother’s husband, Joseph, who took Jesus as his child.
Once we give our hearts to Christ, believing and trusting in Him alone for salvation, God says we become part of His family—not through the natural process of human conception, but through adoption. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship [adoption]. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).
Q – What are the qualifications to be met before adopting a child?
A- To be eligible to adopt, you must fall under one of the following criteria:
- Be married- Each partner must be at least 25 years old, and both have jointly agreed to adopt. The case is slightly different in Lagos State, where one of the joint applicants must not be less than 25 years and must be at least 21 years older than the child to be adopted.
- A married person who has obtained the consent of his partner.
- A single person, provided he/she has attained the age of 35 years. The child to be adopted by such person must be of the same sex.
In all cases, the adopter(s), shall be persons found by the appropriate authority (ies) to be suitable to adopt the child
Q – What are the implications of adoption on the inheritance rights of natural children?
A – The adopted child has equal rights as any biological child. He/she inherits property on equal rights as the biological children.
Q – Can an adult be adopted into a family?
A – An adult cannot be adopted as he/she has attained the age of majority.
Q – What does it cost to adopt?
A – It is unlawful for any person including the adoptive parent to receive or make any gratification for adoption.
Q – How long does the adoption process take?
A– The duration in most cases differ. While it may take months in particular jurisdictions, it may take years in other jurisdictions.
Q – How do I begin the adoption process?
A – The process starts with a formal enquiry at the social welfare department of the state of the child’s residence.
Q – What kind of information will I be required to give when adopting?
A – All necessary health, social, physical and financial information.
Q – Is there any financial assistance available to adoptive parents?
A – There is no financial support known to exist to adoptive parents in Nigeria.
Q – How is fostering different from adoption?
A – Foster parenting is not different from guardianship, except that it is an agreement with a terminable period. A child of known parentage can be put in foster care until the conditions of the parents improve to accommodate the needs of the child. These are usually children with surviving parents who are unable to cater for the children. They are put in foster care until the financial or health situation of the parents improves. They may also be children whose families are known. Some clear distinctions from adoption are that:
- A single person can foster a child
- The number of children that can be fostered at any one time by an individual or couple must not exceed three, except the children are of same parents; then the number can be exceeded.
- While adoption is permanent, fostering is not.
Q – Are there age restrictions on persons who wish to adopt?
A – The minimum age limit for adoption for adoption is set at 25 years and 35 years for Abuja and Lagos State respectively. The adopter must also be at least 21 years older than the child to be adopted. There is no maximum age limit set for an adopter.
Q – Can I adopt if I am single or divorced?
A – Yes, but in such cases, you can only adopt a child of the same sex as yourself.
Q – Can I adopt if I am gay or lesbian?
A – No, the Laws of Nigeria does not recognise gays and lesbians.
Q – Where do I begin searching for children to adopt?
A – The best place to commence the search for children to adopt is the social welfare department of your state of residence.
Q – What is the procedure for adopting a child from outside Nigeria?
A – International law governs Inter-country adoptions. It is solely provided for by The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. This makes it easy for adoption between member countries. Nigeria is not a member and may not benefit from the ease of inter-country adoptions.