The Observer (Kampala)

13 November 2012

Uganda: Charity Searches for Foster Parents

It is seven months since Amelo Ejalu adopted Mayowale, a 10-month-old baby from Malaika Babies' home.

Mayowale, which means "you bring joy to the home", was adopted following a media campaign by Child's i Foundation to find adoptive families for the home's babies. Child's i Foundation, a UK-based charity organisation which operates the babies' home located on Sentema road in Mengo, recently launched the second media campaign to find foster parents for destitute children.

Last year's campaign found adoptive families for 30 babies while 57 were resettled with their biological families.

"Adoption and foster care are not common in Uganda, but we've proved that Ugandans are willing to open their hearts and homes to a child who is not theirs biologically," Susan Allan, General Manager at Child's i Foundation, said.

For one to be eligible to adopt a baby, one should be at least 21 years, older than the child, have a good support network and the ability to provide for the child's needs. The adoptive parents should also be married or a single parent at the minimum. However, a single parent cannot adopt a child of the opposite sex unless approved by the panel.

Adoption process:

According to Allan, a person intending to adopt a child must complete a government application form with at least three references and an LC-1 letter of recommendation. A social worker then conducts interviews of the references and this is followed by study sessions for the couple or individual to agree on a possible match.

"The social worker provides the family with a profile of the match and if agreeable to the couple, introductions of the child to the couple begin, lasting two weeks," Allan says.

The area probation officer then provides an agreement of undertaking and the child is placed with the family. Once placed, the family goes through a three-year foster period before the adoption is finalised. Also, follow-up visits occur once a month for the first three months.

These visits provide the basis of the final report for the granting of the adoption order.

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