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Overview of Zambian adoption



Overview of Zambian adoption

Posted by : Holly in Africa Adoption Blog at 05:07 pm , 418 words, 422 views  
Categories: Zambia
International adoption in Zambia is a relatively new process. Like many countries in Africa, it has a long tradition of families reaching out to care for those in need. That’s as it should be, of course. Apparently, they don’t even have a word for “adoption” in Zambia, but they certainly understand the concept. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “I have 3 children, but am raising 10", or numbers like that. In fact, people would ask how many children I had and I quickly learned to say “3 living but we are raising X". They didn’t even bat an eye. In fact, several people - government workers included - complimented us on our family size and expressed the hope that we would be able to add Zambians to our mix.

Right now, the law requires 12 months of residency and 3 months of fostering, but that law also allows judges to waive those requirements. The judges are taking homestudies and the I-171H (immigration pre-approval) in lieu of the residency and long fostering process. There is some talk that the adoption law will be revisited and revised. I have no doubt that will be true, but do not know what kind of time frame to expect.


The process can be quick and relatively easy, but because it’s a new process and there are many people involved in many steps, the unexpected can crop up at any time. Since non-family adoption is so new there are very few children actually freed for adoption. Those familial ties are important and far-reaching, so even “double orphans” (both parents are dead) may have aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, etc, who hope to be able to care for them in the future. Because of this, there are very few children actually legally free for adoption. You could compare it to our foster care system - most of the kids in the system still have intact family ties and are not eligible for adoption. In Zambia, most children in the orphanages still have family ties and are not eligible for adoption. What that means is most of the children who will become available in the next few months are most likely going to be abandoned children, usually infants. It would be more difficult to request a sibling group, for example, but it can happen. Again, as a new program, there are a lot of unknowns and uncertainties, but it seems likely that Zambia will definitely be a place to consider for adoption.
2006 Dec 23