Legislators upholds international adoption ban, recommends facing out children’s homes

By Lydia Gichuki

To safeguard children from rogue international adopting parents, legislators during the second reading of Children’s bill 2021 in Parliament yesterday, upheld the 20 years moratorium on adoption that was enacted by the government in 2014.

This was after the bill allowed children to be adopted foreign nationals in which adoption would be allowed whether they are residents or non-residents of Kenya, thus would be allowed to take children to their countries.

The moratorium banned adoption of Kenyan children by foreign nationals as there were concerns over the existing loopholes in adoption laws of local children by foreigners. Besides the moratorium, the government also revoked the licenses of adoption agencies.

The Moratorium was put in place following a review of the adoption process by the Technical Assessment of the Legal Provisions and Practices of Guardianship, Foster Care and Adoption of children by the Government of Kenya and UN children agency Unicef which showed there were weaknesses in the legal process, which was subject to manipulation leading to commercialization of adoptions.

Hon. Wachira Kabinga, chairman Labour and Social Welfare committee recommended amendment of the bill on adoption by upholding the ban noting that adoption have been commercialized and thus put children at risk.

He added that the there was no proper law that protected these children after they leave the country making them prone to all forms of abuses from their adopters.

He said the committee took note of two cases scenario of Rwanda, which banned foreign adoption and South Africa which currently re-opened intercountry adoption.

He noted that it is in the best interest of children, that Kenya for now, take a leaf from Rwanda until it have proper legal framework, like that in South Africa that can help document and trace these children after they leave the country.

‘We visited one of the children’s home that was involved in adoption and they was no documentation on the whereabouts of the children after they left the country. South Africa lifted the ban after they put in place proper legal framework in which they can trace the movement of adopters,’ he said

He said the attempt to reopen international adoption was by cartels who have commercialized the adoption process without a care of what happen to the children.

While supporting the recommendations, Hon. David Ole Sankok said that children of Kenya should remain in Kenya noting that research shows that for every one child seeking adoption in Kenya there are six willing Kenyan adopters. Therefore noting it’s unnecessary to reopen international adoptions saying push for reopening is by cartel who are ill intended.

Hon. Kibunguchy Wamalwa recommended that the bill should look into stringent conditions put in place for Kenyan parents seeking to adopt locally saying that this keeps many willing adopters at bay.

Still on adoption, Hon. Mboko Mishi recommended that the bill should accommodate intersex children as it does not have their provision as it sates a child cannot be adopted by a person of the opposite gender.

On children’s home the committee through the chairman recommends that Kenya to face out children’s home and adopt home care noting that this cannot be instant but can be done over the years.. He said through the home care children are successfully integrated into the community and receive the best care as compared to children’s homes.

Hon. Kabinga added that the country should do away with private children’s home as they have been so commercialized.

Hon, Sankok on the matter said that private children’s home do not accommodate children with disabilities and those infected with HIV/AIDs as institutions are highly commercialized.

‘Private children’s home do not accommodate children living with disabilities or those infected with HIV because they cannot fetch good money and they are there for business and not helping the children,’ he said

The law makers also recommended that there should be proper regulations to regulate children’s homes, charitable organizations and state children actors such as the Child Welfare of Kenya.

Photo credit; geralt (pixabay)

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