Throughout the history of international adoption, many families have had a strong desire to adopt from Africa. With changing adoption laws, it can be difficult to predict which African countries will be options for families seeking to begin their adoption journeys. In November 2014, MLJ Adoptions opened our Burkina Faso program to help meet the critical need for adoption from Africa, but also to give families the option of adopting from a Hague Convention country. Burkina Faso has been matching European families with children since 2008, so the procedures for international adoption, and the Hague Convention in particular, are not new to the country, even though it’s a newer program for MLJ Adoptions.
Our first two families to begin the program have been matched with children! We are thrilled that these children will be able to join families who are able to meet their needs and provide love and support. As the program continues to grow, we’ve begun receiving more questions about the program, and if it would be a good fit for families. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
Who matches children with families?
Since Burkina Faso is a Hague Convention country, the Central Authority matches children with families. The Central Authority in Burkina Faso is called the Ministère de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale. The Central Authority takes into account what each family is open to and approved for regarding the characteristics of a child (age, special needs, etc.) and makes a match that is in the best interest of the child.
How long do families usually wait to be matched with a child?
To date we’ve had two families matched with children. One family waited seven months to be matched with a three year-old boy. The other family waited twelve months to be matched with a three year-old boy. We estimate that families will wait between twelve and twenty-four months to be matched with children. This time frame can be impacted by how open a family is to a child’s characteristics, how open other waiting families are to a child’s characteristics, the procedures in Burkina Faso for issuing matches, and the children in need of families at any given time.
When a family receives a referral, they will receive a letter from Burkina Faso’s Central Authority announcing the match, the child’s birth certificate, a social investigative report with the child’s background, a placement form, medical and/or lab reports, and in some cases a follow-up report on the child.
What are the requirements to adopt from Burkina Faso?
Only married couples who have been married at least five years are eligible to adopt from Burkina Faso. One spouse must be over the age of thirty when the family’s dossier is submitted. Families with more than one child already in their home should be open to adopting a child with additional needs, or a child over the age of six.
What are the travel requirements?
One trip with approximately two weeks spent in Burkina Faso is required. On this trip, families who adopt from Burkina Faso will be united with their child and attend multiple appointments to finalize the adoption process in country.
What special needs could the children in Burkina Faso have?
Children in need of families in Burkina Faso may be over the age of six, test positive for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or Sickle Cell disease. It is not uncommon for children adopted from Africa to have been treated for malaria or parasites. The Central Authority in Burkina Faso maintains a list of waiting children, but in order to be considered as a family for a waiting child, a family must have submitted a dossier already.
If you have additional questions about adopting from Burkina Faso or adopting from Africa, please contact us.