We are grateful for the opportunity to advocate for many Ghanaian children in need of permanent loving families. More and more prospective adoptive parents are choosing to adopt from Ghana. We are very happy to see this increased interest, as the need for permanency families for children in Africa is greater than any other regions in the world. It is very important for each adoptive prospective family familiarize themselves with the history and back ground of the country as well as the process of an intercountry adoption from Ghana.
Check out the lastes post on Ghana adoption to learn more about the program.
Ghana is a small West African country located off the Gulf of Guinea. Ghana has a rich culture and history. May African American can trace their roots back to the shores of Ghana. Ghana’s official language is English, although many tribal languages are spoken in daily life. The largest tribes in Ghana include the Ashanti, the Ga and the Ewe (ay-way) tribes. Traditionally orphans in Ghana were “absorbed in” to the family’s fabric. Extended family members would take the child in and provide them with a permanent family. But, as the population has increased, and with the urbanization of the culture, more and more children are in need of alternative permanent placements. Therefore, the need for inter-country adoption as an option for permanency for the orphan children of Ghana has increased.
Ghana is not party to the Hague Adoption Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Ghana did not change. The Department of Social Welfare may consider an application for intercountry adoption as an alternative means of childcare, if a child cannot be placed in a foster or adoptive family in Ghana or cannot in any suitable matter be cared for in Ghana. A court may grant an intercountry adoption order if it is in the best interests of the child. Prospective adoptive parents must work with an attorney to complete the legal requirements for adoption in Ghana. The Government of Ghana does not accredit foreign adoption service providers. The Ministry of Social Welfare is the only agency to provide adoption services.
Families interested in adopting a child from Ghana should understand that intercountry adoption is a rare event there, only recently becoming a practical option. Because intercountry adoption is not very common families should anticipate occasional bumps in the road that could delay the adoption process. We are working hard to make sure that any possible bumps are addressed in advance so that the adoption process can smoothly proceed. It is important to note that in Ghana the adoption process may vary slightly from one region to another, and sometimes from one attorney to another. Ghana adoptions are conducted according to the Children’s Act of 1998 (Act 560). The adoptions are processed by the court system in each region rather than by a central governmental agency. There are two ways an international family may adopt from Ghana: through the domestic adoption law (subsection 67) or through the international adoption law (subsection 85). Under the domestic law families are expected to foster the child for at least 3 months (or provide foster care by another family) and then a final adoption decree is almost assured. In contrast, families may adopt under the international adoption law, which does not require fostering. However, families adopting through the international adoption law may, at the discretion of the judge, either be given a permanent adoption decree OR a two-year interim adoption. The two-year interim adoption does not seem to be a common ruling, but all adoptive parents need to be aware that the judge does have the power to grant a two-year interim adoption (which may prohibit the child from entering the United States).
To bring an adopted child from Ghana to the United States, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In addition to these U.S. requirements, Ghana also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
An adoption from Ghana must follow a specific process designed to meet the requirements by U.S. Immigration and the Government of Ghana. This process will follow 8 primary steps. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.
The purpose of the first trip is to meet your adopted child and go to Court for the adoption hearing. Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) will arrive in Accra and then transfer to the city where the child resides and where the court hearing will take place. PAPs should arrive in Ghana at least three (3) days prior to the Court hearing so that they can spend time with the child and be sure that they wish to move forward with the adoption. We highly recommend that PAPs visit with the child at the orphanage first and not immediately take the child with them to their hotel. That will allow for a gradual transition for the child as the child will be confused and frightened to immediately go off with “strangers.” At this time, we continue to advise that families prepare to spend 10-14 days in Ghana on their first trip, which allows for each family to bond with the child, complete the adoption hearing and file the I-600 application with the U.S. Embassy. After the court hearing PAPs will go back to Accra to file the I-600. Presently, the U.S. Embassy is saying that it normally takes them up to 60 days to complete their review of the I-600 and supporting documents. During that time period the Embassy staff will contact the orphanage, Ministry of Social Welfare and possibly extended family members of the child, if known.
The purpose of the second trip is to file the DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa for the adopted child. The U.S. Embassy requires that PAPs schedule a confirmed visa interview appointment on a Monday or Tuesday. With our most recent families, the visas have been issued at various times. Because the Embassy cannot guarantee in advance when the visa will be available we request that PAPs plan on being in country for one week. This trip does not require both parents to come to Ghana so one parent can make this second trip. PAPs will be in Accra for the entirety of the second trip.
Airline costs continue to increase with each passing day. The most economical tickets are those booked several weeks in advance. Waiting to book a ticket within one week’s time period will result in extremely high priced tickets. One example is the costs for a one way ticket from Ghana for the adopted child. We have seen the costs for adopted child’s one way ticket vary from $600 to $1,700. So, it’s best to try to schedule the visa interview at least two weeks out so that PAPs can search for the most economical tickets.
Families have been staying at various hotels in Ghana, so we have gained some understanding of the hotels each family can consider. While Ghana is a developing nation, the costs for most Western hotels are quite high. There are many reasonably priced hotels that come with breakfast, air-conditioning and swimming pools. Some families have stayed on or near the beach and have enjoyed the beach community (open air restaurants and live music). We are happy to provide PAPS with a list of the various hotels families have stayed at. All the hotels take visa and master card for payment.
|Child Documentation Fee||$3,500|
Fees are estimated for adoption of 1 child. There will be additional costs to adopt siblings, but it is not multiplied by number of children in the group because some fees may be reduced or waived for the second child or beyond additional ones.
Fees for homestudy, immigration services, and travel expenses are not included in the above costs.