Nigeria Adoption

nigeriaFlagA Family in Bloom Adoption has experience acting as Primary Provider for adoptions from Nigeria. At least one and often both of the adoptive parents need to be dual Nigerian-American citizens to adopt from all but Lagos State. Please see the separate Lagos, Nigeria Program page on our agency website for more information. As is the case with all international adoptions to the US, at least one of the adoptive parents must have American citizenship. Nigerians adopting from their native country can adopt family members or children legally available for adoption from orphanages through the adoption authority/social welfare office in the Nigerian state where the child is located. In order for a child to receive a US Immigrant visa, they must meet orphan status under US law. The US Consulate can conduct their own full field investigations in order to verify the authenticity of the information provided about the child.

Our agency evaluates carefully each potential adoption case from Nigeria on its
own merits. A Family in Bloom Adoption, which is based in Colorado, partners with different agencies throughout the United States who will conduct the requisite home study and post-placement work as needed. The foreign supervisory piece is handled through a family’s foreign attorney or verification from the Nigerian state social welfare office.

A Family in Bloom Adoption’s Primary Provider fee for the International Administration work is $4,000 due to the complexity of many Nigerian adoptions.

The information about the requirements for Nigerian adoption below is transcribed directly from the U.S. Department of State’s Intercountry Adoption Page for Nigeria.

Who Can Adopt

lagosIn addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Nigeria:

  • Residency:  Nigerian law requires that a parent-child relationship be established before the court decision can be considered final.  Each state determines the length of time it takes to establish the parent-child relationship, which can range from a few months to two years.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  In Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age and 21 years older than the child.  For married couples, at least one parent must meet the age requirements.
  • Marriage:  Both single individuals and married couples may adopt. Note that a single person will not be allowed to adopt a child of the opposite sex except in extraordinary circumstances.  In most states, married couples must adopt jointly.  If married, both members of the couple must be Nigerian citizens.  In the case of single-parent adoption, only the adopter’s name should be listed on the Nigerian birth certificate and the other parent’s name should be left blank. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals or married same-sex couples in the United States who are known by the Nigerian court to be LGBT may not be able to adopt children from Nigeria.  It is unclear whether the Government of Nigeria and Nigerian law permit such adoptions at present; if it passes, a proposed bill will explicitly prohibit adoptions by LGBT parents in Nigeria.
  • Income:  Nigeria does not have any income requirements for intercountry adoptions.
  • Nigerian Citizens:  Nigerian law states that non-Nigerians may not adopt in Nigeria. While the law is sometimes inconsistently applied, the U.S. Consulate strongly advises that non-Nigerian citizens are not eligible to adopt children from Nigeria.  U.S. citizens who adopt in Nigeria without having Nigerian citizenship risk having their I-600 petitions returned to USCIS for revocation.

Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Nigeria has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

  • Relinquishment:  Adoptions of children who are allegedly relinquished by their parent, who is still living, are subject to investigation as the U.S. Consulate has found that parents in Nigeria may relinquish their children to relatives living in the United States strictly in order to afford the children the ability to immigrate to the United States.
  • Abandonment:  Abandonment of a child in Nigeria is often poorly documented and may require a full investigation by the U.S. Consulate to confirm the abandonment.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  According to Nigerian law, a child must be below the age of 16 (according to the Adoption Act of 1965) or 17 (according to the Child Rights Law) in order to be adopted.  The specific law governing the adoption will depend on the jurisdiction in which the adoption takes place. Important note: U.S. law requires a child to be under the age of 16 at the time the petition is filed to qualify for a U.S. immigrant visa, unless the child is the natural sibling of another child who was adopted by the same parents while under the age of 18.
  • Sibling Adoptions:  There are no specific guidelines regarding adopting siblings in Nigeria.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  Adoption decrees issued in Nigeria will generally specify any special needs or address the general health of the child to be adopted.  The U.S. home study should match any specifications of special needs that are observed by the Nigerian court.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  Prospective adoptive parents must have physical and temporary legal custody of the adoptive child for at least three consecutive months immediately prior to petitioning the court for an adoption decree.  An applicant cannot have the child reside with another family member in lieu of living with the applicant, even if a Power of Attorney is in effect.  The U.S. Consulate has seen waivers issued to parents who claimed to the court that meeting this requirement was a burden.

Please contact us to learn more about our international adoption services.