Adoption process explained

31 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Veronica Gwaze

FOR long, local couples battling infertility have suffered in silence.

Solutions such as child adoption and In-Vitro-Fertilisation (IVF) are seemingly not an option for many because of the huge costs and cumbersome processes involved.

With no ‘easy’ solution in sight, some people have resorted to desperate and illegal measures like child snatching.

Adoption is defined as legalised social birthing or a permanent arrangement whereby adoptive parents and the adopted child acquire the same rights, duties and privileges towards each other as if the child had been their biological offspring.

Adoption can either be de facto or non de facto.

“The de facto adoption option is whereby a couple jointly adopts a child belonging to the other spouse or is related to the other spouse, that is, where there is some prohibitive degree of consent between the adopters and the child.

“Then, non de facto is whereby a couple or an individual adopts a complete stranger,” explained Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima.

Globally, adoption and IVF are the common solutions for most couples battling infertility.

IVF Zimbabwe is the only institution that currently carries out the procedure with the costs pegged between USD$4 500 and USD$5 000 for patients with less complicated situations that require straightforward procedures.

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The process costs more for those with complex issues.

Minister Mavima notes many people are increasingly going for adoption as they become more and more enlightened on what adoption entails.

“We do not have adoption agencies in Zimbabwe since Section 57 of the Children’s Act (Chapter 5:06) states that the adoption assessments are only handled by probation officers appointed by the court. Through awareness programmes, myths and misconceptions on adoption are being demystified,” added the Minister.

The adoption process is guided by the Children’s Act under Part VII, Sections 57 to 75.

The act states that no adoption order can be made except with the consent of the Minister (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare) in all cases where the applicant is under the age of 25 years.

It is also the same case when the applicant is less than 21 years older than the minor who is to be adopted.

An applicant that is not a Zimbabwean citizen also observes similar laws.

Also, no adoption can be made where the sole applicant is a male and the minor is a female. Likewise, spouses also have to jointly consent to the move before an adoption order is issued.

Here, we further highlight some of the major adoption procedures.


Prospective adopters who are a couple or an individual, apply for adoption at their local Children’s Court.

The Children’s Court refers the application to the Department of Social Welfare where an officer to deal with the application is identified and referred to the Children’s Court for appointment as guardian ad litem (a guardian that a court appoints to watch after someone during a case).

An initial assessment is done by the guardian ad litem and a file is opened.

Police vetting and clearance for prospective adoptive parents begins. Applicants should provide names and addresses of three referees one of which should be a family medical doctor, two referees of whom one should be a minister of religion who can vouch for him/her as to their personal character and social standing. Requests are then sent by the guardian ad litem for written references from these referees.

Meanwhile, a rigorous assessment and investigation of the prospective adoptive parents through home study, interviewing of extended family members, significant others in their community, workplaces and former schools would be taking place.

On receipt of the background check report from the International Social Services on the prospective adoptive parents who are not Zimbabwean citizens, in the event that it is positive, a Ministerial Consent to adopt in terms of Section 59 subsection 7 of the Children’s Act (Chapter 5:06) is sought from the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

The identified prospective adoptive parent is then put, by the director of Social Welfare, on the adoption waiting list register. The process of identifying the child through the process of matching then begins after which the guardian ad litem prepares a narrative report and presents it to the Children’s Court.

The Children’s Court then holds an enquiry and issues an Adoption Order upon finalisation of the case. The order is sent directly to the Registrar of Births and Deaths for registration.

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