Dear Pro-bono Partner,
My name is Mrs. Martha Okon Effiong, I work with the Ministry of works and Housing, Calabar. My husband and I have been married for fifteen (15) years but we have not been able to have children of our own. We have visited several hospitals, ran various tests and have a failed IVF twice. I have prayed all the prayers that I can, attended several night vigils and miracle crusades, all to no avail. I have had fibroid removed from my womb twice and it keeps growing back. My doctor has advised I have a hysterectomy to save me pain and my life. As heartbreaking as that can be, I have no other option as to have my uterus removed. As a result of this, we are considering adoption. My husband and i are not very familiar with the adoption procedures in Nigeria. Could you please educate and advise us on what to do.
We look forward to your response.
Dear Mrs. Martha Okon Effiong,
I really sympathize with you, I must admit you are a strong woman and I really admire your resilience and persistence. There are many adopted children who treat their foster parents better than biological children, I trust God to bless you and turn your troubles to joy.
There are basically two stages you shall be required to complete in the adoption process after you have visited an orphanage home or wherever to indicate your interest to adopt a child.
They are as follows:
- You will make a formal application to the relevant authority. The relevant authority depends on your location, so, you will have to make enquiries on which state department is responsible for handling adoption applications in the state where you reside. for example , it may be addressed to:The Director,
Child Development Department,
Ministry of Women Affairs & Child Development
Cross River State.
- Making a formal application to a court of competent jurisdiction (usually a magistrate court).
At the ministry, you shall also be required to fill and submit a prescribed set of forms, accompanied with:
- Copies of birth certificate of the child,
- A medical certificate evidencing the child’s fitness
- Two medical certificates (or as the case maybe) of the adopting parents showing their medical fitness as well. This must be from a recognized government hospital.
- A jumbo – sized photograph of the child, passport photographs of the adopting parents.
- Evidence of sustainable Livelihood.
- Affidavit of record / means deposed to by the applicant.
- Letter of consent from the biological parents of the child or death certificate (where applicable) or the orphanage home.
Note that a power of Attorney is also required where the adopting parents are represented by a lawyer.
At the point of submitting the application, you shall be required to make some payment. Note however that the amount varies from state to state. After payment has been made to the relevant authority, a formal application is then made to the court.
The hearing of the application may be in open court, or in chambers. Where the court is satisfied, it grants custody of the child. However, where the court is not satisfied the custody of the child would not be granted.
Good luck, Ma.
Molindo Mary Nkoyo – (Pro-bono Partner)