Mr. Stephen Tikai Dombo, Deputy Director in charge of Central Adoption Authority at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has said there is nothing like middlemen in an adoption process.
He said any adoption process that does not end up at the High Court could not be recognised as an adoption, emphasizing that sometimes people think because they provided support for a particular child, they had adopted the child but this is not so.
Mr Dombo said this during a Regional sensitization meeting in Wa, and explained that adoption simply meant that a parent giving his/her parental rights and responsibilities to another family and when that happens, the parents in question had no legal right whatsoever over that child again.
“Adoption is a process, there is a beginning and there is the end, which is the High Court in the region where the child resides”, he said.
“So, the public must know and understand that adoption is a process and in that case, when people apply to adopt a child, they must be patient and go through the process”, he advised.
Mr Dombo said an adopted child now belonged to the new family and as required, the family had the right to change the name of the child to their preferred one.
“Adoption is not like you are giving out the child so that you can come after sometime to take him/her, no”, the Deputy Director stated.
He said there were three categories of children that were placed for adoption namely; orphan children, an abandoned child and the child that is relinquished by the parents to the state, which is represented by the Department of the Social Welfare at the Regional level.
He said parents or families who relinquished the child would have nothing to do with the child again, and that was why in relinquishment, the Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare usually would invite the parties concerned and take them through counseling process to discourage them from going on with their intended purpose.
“Now, after the Director had explained to them all the implications involved in their decision and they are well educated but still want to go ahead to relinquish the child to the state, that is their decision”, he said.
“One of the basic challenges is the matching and the placement of the children. Before the reforms, children were placed at the regional level by the Regional Social Welfare Office”, he added.
Mr Dombo said based on the reforms, there was a committee called the Technical Committee that had responsibility to match adoptee parents in line with the trust study report of the applicant.
The Deputy Director described the reforms as one of the best as it also introduced what was called “post adoption monitoring”.
According to him there was nothing like shortcut in adoption process, and urged all who were interested in adopting to work go through the legal process which will end at the High Court.
He urged the public to appreciate the fact that adopted children were as good as any other child in the family and they were not supposed to be domestic tools especially using them to do things that the adoptee parents would not allow their own children to do.
“Adopted children are to be treated as any other child in the family. They are to be loved, cared for and provided for” he said.
“Any child that is adopted, the law mandates the new parents to disclose to the child that he/she was adopted before neighbours do so.
“The law says 13 years and above but you must also consider if telling the child he/she is adopted will be in the best interest of the child”, he stated.