Activists to gov't: Amend adoption laws to favour Ugandans

Adoptive parent advocate, Mr Andrew Rugasira (right ) and Ms Sheila Kawamara during the press conference in Kampala on February 29, 2024 ahead of the  Adoption Awareness Conference in March. Photo/Shabibah Nakirigya

What you need to know:

  • According to Sanyu Babies Home, there are two million  vulnerable children  in Uganda  with about 50,000 currently living in over 800 childcare institutions. Sanyu Babies Home is taking  care of 50 children.

Adoptive parents and children caretakers have appealed to government to amend adoption related laws, saying the existing policies do not favour Ugandans to adopt.

Speaking to the  media in Kampala on February 29 ahead of the awareness conference  slated for March, Ms Sheila Kawamara, one of the adoptive mothers said that it’s not only people without children who go for adoption but there other circumstances which can lead one to adopt a child.

“There are challenges which are hindering Ugandans to engage in adoption culture and the main issues are the legal fees and fostering period,” she said. 

She added that the tadoption process is not easy because one has to prove that they are ready to take care of the child as their own. Then, you follow the legal processes to ensure the kid is in safe hands at all costs.

“An application to be adoptive parent takes like six months to be approved then the fostering period is one year though it was four years before and this period is very long for a Ugandan to take over  the responsibilities of the adoptive child,” she said.

She added that the legal cost to present your interest before court is not fixed with every legal officer having their own fee which is not fair for Ugandans.

“We want the legal fee to be subsidised by the government because whatever adoptive parents are doing helps the country to have responsible Ugandans,” she said.

Ms Kawamala added that when the children get an opportunity to live in a family and grow up with love, they have more chances of becoming important people in the country.

“Legal fee is something which the government should take over because the fostering period is also hard for some parents though they have interest to adopt a child and failure to pay the legal fees you cannot take on the child,” she said.

Mr Andrew Rugasira, an adoptive parent said that the length of time and the speed in which the cases are heard and resolved should be shortened.

“The government should focus on first tracking of adoption cases together with legal fees because it is quite a process and some clients lose interest along the way," he said.

He also noted that probation officers in the country are very few, with each district having only one. It’s the responsibility of the probation officer to check on the child and ensure the home is a conducive environment for proper child care.

“Ugandans needs to be sensitised on adoption culture because majority think you just approach the children’s centre and get the baby but there is  a process people need to know especially on bonding ,” he said.

Ms Barbara Nankya, the Executive Director of Sanyu Babies home in Kampala said more Ugandans should adopt children  because care takers do not have the capacity to follow up on the large number of children taken abroad.

“When the international applicant comes to high court and get adoption letter, they immediately take them to their home country and we are worried if they are in good hands,” she said.

 Ms Barbara Nankya, Executive Director Sanyu Babies Home. Photo/Shabibah Nakirigya

“Uganda does not have the capacity to follow up, that’s why we  would appreciate if many Ugandans come on board and embrace the culture of adopting  children," she added.

Ms Nankya also  revealed that there lots of things happening to vulnerable children because they are  in danger of being hunted for child sacrifice, extracting body organs for sale and being  introduced into activities of  homosexuality among others.

"That’s why it’s important for our children to go into Ugandan families which we are able to follow up and kept tracking when they are taken to these families," she said.

The Children adoption Awareness Conference 2024 slated for March 7  presents a significant step towards promoting a culture of adoption that prioritise the well-being and rights of children.

According to Sanyu Babies Home, there are two million  vulnerable children  in Uganda  with about 50,000 currently living in over 800 childcare institutions. Sanyu Babies Home is taking  care of 50 children.