Adoption in Ghana is gradually gaining recognition. However, a lot more sensitization is needed to eradicate the stereotype attached to it. As a careleaver, I understand what family means to every child. Most Ghanaians love to adopt but fear the “what ifs” of adoption. Others do not even know where to start. Others also have tried adopting and given up because of the process’s cost and robustness. This article is for all the categories of people mentioned above. You can always try again with the information provided in this article. I discovered on my adoption search that adopting a child through the Department of social welfare takes a lot of time for reasons I am yet to discover, thus leaving many people no choice but to go with adoption agencies, which come at a higher fee. Adoption in Ghana is not cheap anymore, thus leaving good-hearted people with little resources and no opportunity to provide families for children.
I believe that the Central Adoption Authority, the legal body for adoption processes in Ghana, should regulate these private agencies to beat down the cost of adoption in Ghana. Reaching out to these agencies also proved that the adoption fees vary from one agency to the other.
The process for adopting a child from Ghana generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt (or gain custody of) the child in Ghana
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
- Bringing Your Child Home
1. Choose an Adoption agency:
Until recently, the Government of Ghana did not authorize adoption agencies. Only the Department of Social Welfare, under the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, was authorized to provide adoption services in Ghana. The Central Adoption Authority has recently begun to approve adoption agencies to assist in preparing adoptive families for adoption.
To begin the adoption process, either the prospective adoptive parents or the designated agency should contact the Department of Social Welfare to purchase adoption application forms. These forms may be purchased from the Director of Social Welfare at any regional Social Welfare office.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
You must meet Ghanaian law’s requirements to adopt a child from Ghana. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the Department of Social Welfare of Ghana.
Applicants purchase the adoption application form from the Director of Social Welfare at any regional Social Welfare office and submit the completed application, along with the attachments specified, to the Regional Director of Social Welfare in the region where the adoptive child lives. For domestic adoptions, a Social Welfare Officer visits the applicant’s home and conducts a series of interviews to compile a report on the prospective adoptive parents. The Social Welfare Officer then submits the report to an Adoption Placement Committee within the Department of Social Welfare. For intercountry adoptions, the report submitted to the Adoption Placement Committee is a home study report prepared by an authorized agency in the country of residence of the applicants. The Adoption Placement Committee then reviews the application and home study documentation to determine whether the prospective adoptive parents meet eligibility requirements.
If you apply through the adoption agency, the agency does most of the groundwork for you but remember that it comes with an extra fee.
3. Be Matched with a Child:
If you are eligible to adopt, a child is available for intercountry. In-country adoption, the Department of Social Welfare in Ghana will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child. The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Ghana’s requirements. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan.
4. Adopt or Gain Legal Custody of Child in Ghana:
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Ghana generally includes the following:
Role of Adoption Authority: The Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare has the sole legal authority to process adoptions in Ghana. The Department of Social Welfare Head Office has oversight authority for all adoptions throughout Ghana.
Role of the Court: According to the Ghanaian Children’s Act 560 (1998), an application for an adoption order may be made to the High Court, Circuit Court or to any Family Tribunal which has jurisdiction where the applicant or the child resides at the date of the application.
Role of Adoption Agencies: Until recently, adoption agencies did not operate in Ghana. In 2012, however, the government of Ghana began a pilot program of authorizing some adoption agencies to help facilitate intercountry adoptions. Any adoption agency must to be approved by the Department of Social Welfare before working in Ghana.
Time Frame: It generally takes about one year or even more to complete an adoption in Ghana.
Adoption Fees: Fees for adoption in Ghana vary depending on the circumstances.
Documents Required: Generally, the documents required are the same as for adoption in the United States, including birth, marriage, and divorce records, medical examination and clearance, and evidence of financial stability and gainful employment. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to prove that the documents are genuine.
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
6. Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for an immigrant visa to bring your child home if it is an intercountry adoption.
Birth Certificate & Medical Report: If you have finalized the adoption in Ghana, you must first apply for a new birth certificate and carry out a medical report for your child. If your adopted child does not already have a birth certificate, you can obtain one through Ghana’s Births and Deaths Registry. You can do this by visiting the Central Registry Office, which is in Accra at the Ministries Annex near MDPI (Old Passport Office), or any District Registration Office.
These are a few adoption agencies in Ghana you could reach out to. (Feel free to add any adoption agency you know in Ghana that is not included in this article in the comment)
Child Assist Agency : Apart from offering advice and information to our clients on how we can help them adopt a child in Ghana, we also provide information on other ways to help clients expand their families. Our services include the provision of information on the surrogacy and In Vitro Fertilisation processes in Ghana. Coming by such information in Ghana requires extensive research. Hospitals and clinics often do not wish to divulge such information to potential clients unless they have been to their facilities personally and have had one-on-one consultations with their doctors.
Bethany Christian Services : Bethany Christian Services is known for setting the pace for formalized foster care and family-based care programs in Ghana. They partner with area orphanages, police officers, and hospital social workers who know they can call Bethany when they urgently need a safe place for a child. They also work closely with UNICEF and Ghana Without Orphans to champion family-based care.
Plus 1 : Plusone Charities is a licensed Non-Governmental Organization and an accredited adoption agency licensed to operate in Ghana. Plusone is open to offering services to prospective adoptive parents or agencies both in Ghana and abroad who do or do not embark on their adoption journey through plus one. Plusone offers its services in Orientation, Home study, training as well as post-placement review/monitoring and reporting, all at a fee.
Strong family : SFA started from humble beginnings as a Non-Governmental Organization that can proudly boast of renewing its annual license for the last thirteen (13) years and being in good standing with the Department of Social Welfare.
They are strictly bound by confidentiality rules and are unable to mention clients we have served.
That notwithstanding, SFA has found loving homes for children who could otherwise not have received the same from their biological families.
They have also taken care of young pregnant ladies who otherwise would have abandoned their babies in gutters, remained on the streets, and abandoned their children. The persons referred to have received medical care and some have been supported to start small businesses which have lifted them from a state of despondency and given them hope. Some of them are back in school. SFA has worked hand in hand with the Central Adoption Authority to salvage otherwise difficult or messed up cases.
AiBi Friends of Children Foundation: email@example.com
Lovelane : Love Lane Adoption Agency is an adoption agency in Accra, which help both local and foreign families to adopt children from Ghana. Love Lane Adoption Agency provide all the help one may need throughout the journey to find a child-in-need, a forever home.
Minshe : Minsheh Child and Family Welfare Services (Minsheh) is a Ghanaian private non- profit organization incorporated under the Ghana companies Act, 1963(Act 179).Minsheh provides core family welfare services geared towards improving and supporting children and families. These services include, counseling, parenting education, information/ referral services, family support services and adoption and promotion services etc.
New Hope Adoption : New Hope for Children has created a partnership in Ghana, Africa to provide loving homes for deserving infants and children through inter-country adoption.
Impact of Adoption on Adoptive Parents
Adoptive parents come to the adoption decision for many different reasons. Some adopt because of infertility, and adoption is their alternative way to grow their family; others adopt to add to their family, to help a specific child, or for social justice reasons.
Impact of Adoption on Adoptees
As discussion of the adoption process becomes more open and accepted in Ghanaian society, and as more Ghanaians have experience with adoption, there is also more attention focused on those involved in adoption—the adopted person, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents (often referred to as the adoption triad or the adoption constellation). This information examines the impact of adoption on adopted persons who have reached adulthood.
Just as with any other important decision in your life, you need to do some research and decide. When you are planning an adoption, you must consider your baby first, but also the desires that you have for this adoption. Here are some topics to think about, which may help you make an informed decision about adoption. Talking these things over with someone you trust may be helpful, too. A supportive relative or friend, or an adoption counselor or attorney may help you think these things through while you are making your adoption plan.
Years ago and even now in Ghana, almost all adoptions were and are conducted in secrecy, with no contact between the birth and adoptive parents. These are known as closed adoption. Today, however, most birthparents meet the couple who will adopt their baby and decide for some ongoing contact over the years.
Closed adoption means that there is no contact at all between the birthparents and the adoptive parents, and no identifying information is exchanged.
Semi-open adoptions involve agencies or other intermediaries who may pass correspondence between the two parties before or after the adoption. Still, they will not give out any contact information to either party. That choice is yours if you prefer not to correspond with the adoptive parents.
Open adoption offers a wide variety of contact choices. Still, the basic understanding is that there is open communication between the birthparents and the adoptive parents, both before and after the birth. Open adoption can include exchanging letters and photos; face-to-face, first-name-only meetings; sharing full-identifying information; and having access on an ongoing basis. The type of communication or contact, the frequency of communication, and any adjustments are worked out between the birthparents and the adoptive parents, often with the help of an intermediary, such as an adoption social worker, attorney, or adoption counsellor. Be aware that choosing an open adoption does not mean that you are co-parenting the child. The adoptive parents will be your baby’s legal parents and guardians.
Success Stories of Adoption in Ghana
Not many success stories on adoption are published IN THE NEWS daily. This is because of the cultural context and the stereotypes. Many adopted parents even hide to adopt babies. Others go through so much to the extent of relocating to a different region or town to nurse their adopted babies. It is time people are educated on adoption to have a different view about it. I recommend you thoroughly research online to have a fair idea of adoption.
Adoption is never a crime; hence adoptive parents or adoptees should not be stigmatized.Dzifah Tamakloe
Resources on Adoption
There is no Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene (the story of an Ethiopian woman helping orphans)
Loving Across the Color Line: A White Adoptive Mother Learns about Race by Sharon E. Rush
Beyond Good Intentions by Cheri Register
Cross-Cultural Adoption by Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz (quick and easy, good for relatives)
Inside Transracial Adoption by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall
In their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell their Stories by Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda