Oli otya! This is the friendly greeting you will hear in Uganda. Most of the population speaks English. The country achieved its independence from Great Britain in 1962. The Republic of Uganda is considered “The Pearl” of Africa due to its natural resources and wildlife. You will find gorillas, elephants, lions and chimpanzees in the national parks. The capital city of Kampala is on Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa.
Although we use the term “adoption,” in this description, the process in Uganda is guardianship in preparation for adoption in the U.S. Uganda is not a Hague Convention country, but the adoption process there is well-regulated by the Department of Youth and Child Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development. Adoptions are processed by the courts.
Please review the website of the U.S. Department of State on adopting from Uganda:
- Babies as young as 9 months and children up to 15 years of age. However, the majority of children are 12 months to 5 years. Children 14 years old and up must consent to their own adoptions.
- Children of both genders are available and families may indicate a preference. However, single women may only adopt girls.
- Children may be identified as healthy or have minor developmental delays due to institutional care. Children who have other minor and/or correctable special needs or who have moderate to severe medical issues also need loving parents and often thrive under the health care in the U.S.
- Before travel, prospective parents will receive photos and a social and medical history, with lab test results. You must consult with an international adoption doctor who can help you evaluate the child’s records.
- Biological siblings are sometimes identified for adoption, but it is rare. Unrelated children cannot be adopted at the same time.
- Heterosexual married couples or single women.
- Applicants must be at least 25 years old and 21 years older than the child to be adopted. In the case of a married couple, it is sufficient for one spouse to meet these requirements. Older applicants may be considered for this program on a case-by-case basis.
- Families with other children are welcome. Most children’s homes and courts prefer no more than five other children already in the family.
- Prior divorces are OK.
- Minor health conditions are considered and more serious medical issues will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
- No criminal history is preferred by Uganda. You may discuss older, minor infractions with the coordinator.
- Financially stable.
- At least one parent must be a U.S. citizen.
- Contact Across The World Adoptions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (925) 356-6260
- Complete an application for ATWA, sign the fee agreement and return with $250.
- Undertake a home study by an agency licensed in your state of residence. ATWA can assist you in California or we will help you find an agency in another state. ATWA is not able to accept home studies by independent social workers, even if permitted in your state.
- Complete adoption education during the home study process.
- Apply for I-600A approval from CIS and receive immigration approval.
- Prepare a dossier of documents required by Uganda under our guidance.
- After a completed dossier is received, the current wait for a referral is expected to be 1-9 months depending on your child request.
- Our team completes an independent investigation of the circumstances of each child. The Probation and Social Welfare Officers also prepare a report about the child. You will receive this information, a photo and a medical report.
- Once you have accepted a match, the dossier and child’s information will be delivered to an attorney who will file for a court date. Court dates are usually set 1-3 months after request, depending on court schedules and holidays. A court date may be set with one week’s notice, but this is rare.
- The petition will state the intention to immigrate the child and complete the adoption in the U.S.
- Travel to Uganda during one trip is preferred. If married, both parents must appear in court but one parent may leave once the ruling has been issued.
- You should plan to be in Uganda for up to six weeks. Occasionally the time in country may be less. This is an excellent opportunity to bond with your child and learn about the culture. Children may be with their parent(s) after court but travel within Uganda is discouraged during this time due to safety and lack of medical resources.
- Some probation officers require two trips. If this is the case, the family will be informed at the time of child referral. If two trips are required, the first will be about seven days.
- You will not be able to have the child with you on the first trip, as it is hard on the child to meet you and then have you leave. The second trip will be approximately fourteen days.
- After the ruling is final, the child’s passport and other paperwork will be prepared for the U.S. embassy.
- Child’s medical exam at a U.S. embassy approved clinic.
- Apply for visa at U.S. embassy.
- Return to the U.S. and complete post-placement visits at 3, 12, and 24 months following court in Uganda with an agency social worker, as required by BOTH the Ugandan court decree AND your state. For instance, California requires four visits over at least a six month period before finalization.
- Finalize the adoption in your state’s court!
- Your child is now a U.S. citizen but you must apply for the Certificate of Citizenship to have proof.
- Provide a certified copy of your state’s court order of adoption for submission to Uganda.
- Register the adoption with the Ugandan embassy in Washington D.C.
Fees and Expenses:
- While in Uganda, you will be in the caring hands of a local guide. The staff will assist you with a travel package which will include a guest house or hotel in the location from which you will be adopting. The cost of travel, housing, a driver and gas are paid separately from the adoption fees.
- Other additional expenses paid to third parties may include the home study, CIS fees, document preparation, U.S. visa fees and post placement. Fees and expenses are paid in increments.
- A federal tax credit up to $13,190 is available to eligible taxpayers to offset fees and
expenses after adoption finalization.