Preparing for Fifteen Days in Burkina Faso


MLJ Adoptions’ Burkina Faso program has been growing in leaps and bounds! For families hoping to adopt from Africa, Burkina Faso is a great option. Burkina Faso is signatory to The Hague Adoption Convention and as such, provides an ethical and transparent adoption process. MLJ Adoptions anticipates the second adopted child to travel home before the end of this year. Additionally, two more families are matched with children and currently working their way through their adoption processes.

Part of your adoption process from Burkina Faso requires a fifteen day stay in country. Families travel to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capitol and soon upon arrival are united with their adopted child. So what else occurs during this time in Burkina Faso?

The fifteen-day stay is intended to provide a socialization period where families are united with their child and provided a two-week period to bond. It also provides an opportunity for adoptive parents to meet the caregiver of their adopted child. During your stay you are also required to attend two meetings with the Ministère de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale, La Direction des Placements et des Adoptions, Burkina Faso’s Central Authority, also referred to as the “Ministry”, to allow the staff of Burkina Faso’s Central Authority to meet the adoptive family that was matched with the child.

The key to a safe and enjoyable trip is to prepare before leaving the U.S. Key things to remember when traveling to Burkina Faso:

  • Burkina Faso has a tropical climate, make sure to dress appropriately for the weather
  • Being a majority Muslim nation, remember to dress modestly
  • When meeting with government officials and the U.S. Embassy, dress professionally
  • Be respectful of the local customs and traditions
  • Remember to pack clothing and toys appropriate for your child for your stay and trip home
  • Obtain your Yellow Fever vaccination & entry visa
  • Consult with a travel physician prior to departure
  • Main language is French; bring a quick reference French translation handbook

MLJ takes traveling to a foreign country very seriously and additional steps are taken by our staff to prepare adoptive families prior to travel. Families traveling to Burkina Faso receive a Travel Guidebook and a telephone consultation prior to their departure for Burkina Faso where they are provided additional advice and are counseled on what to expect during this trip and the re-entry process coming back to the U.S. Telephone consultations are provided to families to familiarize them with the travel details and additionally on what to expect when finally, being united with your adopted child for the first time. While in Burkina Faso, families are assisted by MLJ’s foreign provider to help them navigate their time in country.

For safety precautions prior to travel, families should register with the Smart Traveler website, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and view current Travel & Alert warnings posted on the Department of State’s website. Additional travel warnings can also be viewed at the website of the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou.

This is a much-anticipated trip for adoptive families. The key to enjoying this trip and staying safe while in Burkina Faso is to prepare prior to traveling. For additional information about MLJ’s Burkina Faso adoption program, click here.

Photo Credit 1: Jeff Attaway

Photo Credit 2: Rod Waddington

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.