ADOPTIVE PARENT CRITERIA:
Nigerian law requires that a parent-child relationship be established before the court decision can be considered final. Each state determines the length of time it takes to establish the parent-child relationship, which can range from one month to two years.
Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age and 21 years older than the child. For married couples, at least one parent must meet the age requirements.
Both single individuals and married couples may adopt. Note that a single person will not be allowed to adopt a child of the opposite sex except in extraordinary circumstances
Only one state in Nigeria allows adoption to Non-Nigerian citizens. We do have a program in this state. All other Nigerian states the law states that non-Nigerians may not adopt in Nigeria. The exception to this would be if the adoptive father is Nigerian, the adoptive non-Nigerian mother would be considered Nigerian by Nigeria by marriage. You can be citizens of the United States but must retain your Nigerian citizenship. In order to adopt a child from Nigeria, you will need to meet the requirements of U.S. immigration law, your US State of residency requirements and of the Government of Nigeria.
There is no standard set limiting the size of family you already have
Families must prove they have financial stability and adequate income to care for an additional child. Nigeria does not have any income requirements for inter-country adoptions.
Though the adoption process in Nigeria does not set a criminal standard, it is assumed applicants who have criminal histories will have an explanation and a certified disposition by the court in their home study.
No requirements except health report in the home study certifying health is sufficient to raise adopted children.
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Prospective adoptive parents must have physical and temporary legal custody of the adoptive child for at least three consecutive months immediately prior to petitioning the court for an adoption decree. In Lagos, One Month bonding or fostering time is required. An applicant cannot have the child reside with another family member in lieu of living with the applicant, even if a Power of Attorney is in effect. The U.S. Consulate has seen waivers issued to parents who claimed to the court that meeting this requirement was a burden.
Nigerian law has no post-adoption requirements for adoptive parents. Parents should confirm any post-adoption requirements with their legal representatives and Little Miracles. Little Miracles International will require your family to have at least one post adoption report done by your social worker at 6 months home. This will be a pre-paid report and must be done in order to close your adoption case. Some States will require more reports and you will be required to pay a deposit before bringing your child(ren) home. These reports will need to be pre-paid.
Lagos Post Adoption: Families adopting in Lagos must submit social worker reports at 6 months, and annually for the first 4 years and then the family submits annual self-written reports until the child turns 18. Additionally families must come to Little Miracles in Texas every 1-3 years for a family reunion to meet other children and adoptive families and to meet people from the ministry and a Morgan Hill representative, determined by the ministry. These reports will need to be pre-paid.
Nigerian adoption laws are complex and vary from state to state. At the national level, adoptions are regulated by the Nigerian Child Rights Law or the Adoption Act of 1965. Depending on where the adoption takes place, the specific law and regulations governing the adoption may differ.
On the Nigerian side the only legal way to do an adoption in Nigeria is to work with the respective state social welfare office (usually named the State Ministry of Women’s or Family Affairs,) or through the one Lagos accredited adoption agency in Nigeria, working through Little Miracles. Lagos State will accept non-Nigerian families. Families must also obtain a Hague Accredited Homestudy and have begun the adoption process with a US Primary Service Provider and obtain immigration approval before moving forward with the adoption process in Nigeria. All paperwork on the child must be given to the US agency for review prior to proceeding. Prospective adoptive parents should not attempt to process their adoption through local officials who may attempt to circumvent the legal process.
Adoptions of children who are allegedly relinquished by their parent, who is still living, are subject to investigation as the U.S. Consulate has found that parents in Nigeria may relinquish their children to relatives living in the United States strictly in order to afford the children the ability to immigrate to the United States.
Abandonment of a child in Nigeria is often poorly documented and may require a full investigation by the U.S. Consulate to confirm the abandonment.
According to Nigerian law, a child must be below the age of 16 (according to the Adoption Act of 1965) or 17 (according to the Child Rights Law) in order to be adopted. The specific law governing the adoption will depend on the jurisdiction in which the adoption takes place. Important note: U.S. law requires a child to be under the age of 16 at the time the petition is filed to qualify for a U.S. immigrant visa, unless the child is the natural sibling of another child who was adopted by the same parents while under the age of 18.
There are no specific guidelines regarding adopting siblings in Nigeria.
Adoption decrees issued in Nigeria will generally specify any special needs or address the general health of the child to be adopted. The U.S. home study should match any specifications of special needs that are observed by the Nigerian court.
Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when it becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have not relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption. In Nigeria, many orphanages or organizations claiming that they arrange adoptions are for-profit enterprises which operate without licensing or oversight. LMI only works with the orphanages approved by the Adoption Authority of that State. There should be no fees assessed by the orphanage that any family should pay.
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