Adoption in Kenya

If you have ever thought of adopting a child, then this article is for you. We present to you a quick guide on the do’s and don’ts of adoption including the process and all else that you may need to know.

The Do’s.

  • Age – The child must be at least six (6) weeks old and less than 18 years old;
  • Adoptability – An adoption society must have declared the child free for adoption;
  • Applicant Age – The applicant must be at least twenty-five (25) years old but not older than sixty-five (65) years;
  • Age Difference – The Applicant must be at least twenty-one (21) years older than the child;

The Don’ts
Having shared the do’s, remember there are circumstances where an applicant may not qualify to adopt or an adoption order may be denied. These are some of the circumstances;

  • A sole male applicant in respect of a female child;
  • A sole female applicant in respect of a male child;
  • An applicant or joint applicants who have both attained sixty-five years;
  • A sole foreign applicant.

Exception to the 65 years’ rule: If applicants are a couple, then one of the spouses has to be under sixty-five (65) years to qualify.

Exception to an applicant being single and of opposite gender to the child rule: Relation. A good example is where an applicant loses his/her sibling who had an underage child and they are the only close relation to that child but not married.

The How
There exists a common misconception of how adoption works. First, children are not
adopted from a Children’s Home but may be sourced from one. The Children’s Homes
work hand in hand with adoption societies where the applicants are screened and
prequalified. Once this is done, time is usually given to the two parties (applicant and
potential adoptive child) to confirm if they are a fit. This means the child is taken home
on a live-in basis for a period of time. This process is then finalized with registration of
the adoption at the High Court in Kenya.


You’ll need the following if the child you’re adopting has been abandoned:

  • A certificate issued by the adoption society declaring the child free for adoption;
  • Recommendation letter by the Director of Children Services;
  • A letter from the area police station stating that the child has not been claimed;
  • Committal order – issued by the Magistrates court committing a child to a
    children home.You’ll need the following if one of the biological parents remarries:
  • Recommendation letter by the Director of Children Services;
  • Marriage certificate if one of the biological parent has remarried.

You’ll need the following where a relative or guardian is adopting: 

– Consent from the biological parent;

– Waiver of consent if the biological parent cannot be traced (Waiver is issued by the court);

– Birth certificate.

Registration of Adoption

The court shall issue an adoption order upon being satisfied of the applicant’s qualification to adopt and the child’s adoptability.

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