How to Adopt a Child in Nigeria

Will you like to adopt a child in Nigeria? If yes, read this step-by-step guide to do just that with ease. It’s quite simple that you think…

Children are God’s gift to man, the joy they bring into any home or marriage cannot be over compensated. Not every couple has been blessed with it biologically.

Some of them try and some lose them either through miscarriages or stillbirth.

Whereas, some are blessed without having to try too hard, unplanned pregnacies, rape, or just promiscuity on their part and they see no need to keep the child or cannot cater for them after delivery.

These innocent unwanted children either end up in orphanage homes or by the road side through no fault of theirs. This disheartening acts and misfortunes are the reasons why adoption came into being.

Are you a Nigerian couple? A single parent? A foreigner? Who is looking to adopt a child and don’t know how to go about it?

This article is just for you. Nigerian adoption laws are complex and what applies in a state might be different in another state.

On April 1, 2008 the Hague Adoption Convention went into full force in the United States. The convention bothered on the protection of children and co-operation in respect to intercountry Adoption.

Nigeria wasn’t a part of this convention, thus, her intercountry adoption process did not change.

The process for adoption in Nigeria follows the U.S Government 8 code of Federal Government.

The entire process can be frustrating if not tiring sometimes, it can   take up to 24 months, but there have been cases where the process was completed within 16 months, who knows, you just might be lucky too.

If you follow these steps as laid out, you won’t have any anything to worry about; your adoption service provider is there to make the whole process smooth and easy.

Please note that document and identity fraud is of serious concern to the Nigerian government. And according to the U.S Consulate General in Lagos all adoption are to be investigated in person.

Prospective adoptive parents who intend to adopt must first choose an adoption service provider they will conduct home study and also assist with child placement, start filling out the home study document form as stipulated by the homeland security department of the United States. Form 1-600(application for advanced processing of an orphan petition).

In Nigeria, this requires you to provide the following,  copies of birth certificate, medical certificate of fitness of the child, a jumbo sized photograph of the child, passports photographs of the adoptive parents,, employment letter from employers of parents, consent letter of application from the biological parents (where applicable), power of attorney(where adopting parents are represented by a lawyer).

The next step would be to apply to the social welfare office in the state the child resides. Once found eligible a referral will be given to you for an adoptable child, the said child will be matched with you to confirm eligibility.

This affords you temporary custody of the child; it is up to the court to determine the length of time it takes to establish the parent- child relationship. Finally the court will meet with you at a set date to confirm or deny your Nigeria adoption application.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: it would be wise to come prepared and have these documents at hand as they may be required.

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce decrees (if applicable)
  • Proof of Nigerian citizenship
  • Financial documentation
  • police report
  • proof of U.S citizenship

Looks easy now right?

However, to get the process started there are certain questions that need to be answered, e.g. who is eligible? What age should the adoptive parents be? Marriage requirement etc…

All these and more are necessary if you are considering being a foster parent. I will list them down for you to be well guided.

For adoption to take place, a child must meet the definition standard of an orphan as stipulated in the U.S law before him or she can be taken back home to the United States.

HOW TO ADOPT: The authority in charge of Adoption in Nigeria is the magistrate court.

To get started, a formal application to the relevant authority in the state in which the adoptive child resides should be typed in this format .e.g. To the Director, Child Development Department, Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Development Abia state.

Next should be a formal application to the court which in this case is the magistrate court as already stated. The other details will be sorted when you select your adoption service provider. They are to guide and assist you through the entire process.


  • Residency Requirements:  the Nigerian law on this states that, a parent –child relationship must have been established (temporary custody) before the court decision can be considered final.
  • Age Requirement: these vary from state to state, in the following states, Anambra, Akwa-ibom, Abia, Rivers, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Bayelsa state. Prospective adoptive parents must be at least aged 25 years of age and 21 years older than the child. For married couple, one of the parents must meet the age requirement.
  • Marriage Requirement: both single and married parents can adopt, but a single person will not be allowed to adopt a child of opposite sex, except in rare circumstance. Due to child abuse and molestation. In majority of the states, married couples are required to adopt the child jointly.  In the same vein, lesbians and gays couples may not be allowed adopt in Nigeria as the law prohibits same sex marriage.
  • Income Requirements: Nigeria does not have any stipulated income requirement for inter-country adoptions. But, in some cases it’s the fee charged for filing to the court.

Are you interested in adoption in Nigeria? Stop delaying.

These information will help you on that decision, you can go now and start the process and don’t forget to refer to this article if you get confused at some point.

I wish you all the best in the process, the joy and happiness that only a child can bring into your home.

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Nnenna Kalu is a Business Analyst and Content Developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Roberts. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Roberts. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.


  1. Eze Ezeonye

    June 15, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Hi, apart from the requirements mentioned, what fees or is there any sum of money required to be paid to any of the agencies or authority? Thank you

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      June 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Hello Eze Ezeonye, There is no monetary exchange in child adoption anywhere in the world but you have to demonstrate that you are financially capable to take care of the child. Please take note, child adoption is not child buying. The only place you will spend money will be when you want to legalize any document in the court and this court fees are relatively low (N250 or less). But if you are using a legal practitioner for this service, you may required to pay his/her service charge. Hope this helps.

  2. Olayinka

    January 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I have 3 lovely boys and I am thinking of adopting a girl to add more joy to my family. What do you guys suggest?.

    Thank you

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      January 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Olayinka, that will be great especially if you have the approval from your boys.

  3. psalmzz

    October 30, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Nice article…. quite inspiring…. the awareness is motivational enough… #keepupthegoodwork

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 31, 2015 at 4:05 am

      Thanks Psalmzz

  4. Chimdike

    October 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    An amazing article. Steve Jobs of blessed memory and many like him are products of wanted pregnancies, rejected stones that turned out to be ccornerstones of the family and of the society. Rather than spend time judging the parents of unwanted children, able hands in the society, lovers of humanity should spend time and resources in securing their futures. They just may be the hope of our children’s own generation. Let’s encourage adoption. It is charity and it attracts rewards from God.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 31, 2015 at 4:06 am

      @Chimdike, I totally agree with your standpoints

  5. sophia

    October 29, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Adoption is really good in Nigeria cos d population keeps rising……. so in other to help d less privileged adoption should play a basic role

    • Nnenna Kalu

      October 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Really true. Thanks once again.

  6. Vonjosh Ude

    October 29, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting….might think of adopting one when am done having my own kids.

    • Nnenna Kalu

      October 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      That would be a great idea. I wish all the best.

  7. Essien

    October 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    This is nice. But I guess the cumbersome nature of the processes involve is what discourage people from adopting. Other than that, its a nice option.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 29, 2015 at 4:33 am

      @ Essien, I think the cumbersome process to mean to explain the fact that a child is a precious jewelry so that many will not abuse it.

  8. Izak

    October 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Amazing lead ! Child adoption should be encouraged Nigeria, considering our population and the crisis we are in right now.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      You are very correct @ Izak

  9. joyce

    October 28, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    nice one, never knew there are lay down rules for child adoption.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 28, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Sure, there are stringent procedures for successful adoption in Nigeria and elsewhere.

  10. olumide alabi

    October 28, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Finally!!, a proper guide… helps change the mindset of those of us who think adopting a child in Nigeria is easy

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 28, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      @Alabi, adoption is actually easy if you follow the laid down procedures. Thanks for reading our blog

  11. Jude

    October 28, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Nice write up; quite informative and educational. Well done!!!

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 28, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks Jude, good to have you here.

  12. Kingsley

    October 28, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Great piece of article on child adoption.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 28, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks @ Kingsley

  13. emsly

    October 28, 2015 at 10:11 am

    impressive information. Eye opener.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Very true @Emsly

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