Providing a safe and caring environment in which to be nurtured is one of the most beautiful and rewarding gifts one can give a child. During the period 2016 to 2020, Jamaica saw over 762 applications for adoption with 259 of these coming from overseas applicants, according to the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).
This process of legally adopting a child who is of a different nationality to live permanently in one’s home country is referred to as intercountry adoption, commonly known as overseas adoption. Applications for overseas adoptions mainly come from the United States of America (USA), Canada and the United Kingdom (UK). According to the CPFSA, most children are adopted within families while others are taken from State care.
Children Eligible for Adoption
All overseas applicants are advised to first obtain information from the immigration directorate in their home country about the specific requirements to adopt a child from Jamaica. However, generally, a child must be over 6 weeks and under 18 years old. Applications for adoptions must be received by the CPFSA at least eight months before a child’s 18th birthday.
Persons Eligible to Adopt
The following individuals are eligible to adopt a child:
- Persons 25 years old and over; applicants who are related to the child being adopted must be over 18 years old
- A single female
- A single male (conditions apply)
- Divorcees (must submit the original decree absolute)
- Married couples as per The Children (Adoption Of) Act
- A married person can adopt without their spouse once it can be proven that the:
– spouse agrees
– spouse cannot be found
– couple is separated and the separation is likely to be permanent
– spouse is physically or otherwise incapable of giving consent
There is currently no cost for application forms in the processing of an adoption. However, there may be costs associated with home studies, DNA tests, reports (medical or police), etc. To begin the process, persons must:
- Contact a home study provider to conduct a report. A home study is where the potential parents’ home and lifestyle are assessed, which is required by law for all international adoptions.
- Submit all the necessary documents: All original documents are required. These include:
- Birth certificates of applicant(s) and child
- Proof of income of applicant(s)
- Passport-size photos of applicant(s) and child (1 photo each)
- 2 Letters of reference on the behalf of applicant(s)
For children in State care, caseworkers will prepare relevant documentation. Failure to provide these at the time of the application submission will result in the application being returned by registered mail.
- Attach a letter of responsibility: This letter is written by the individual who will take responsibility of the child if the adoptive parent becomes incapable of doing so. This is required if the applicant is single.
- Submit a medical report: There are prescribed medical forms located on the CPFSA website to go along with the medical report. These are not to be substituted or amended.
- Submit completed application form: An application form should be completed along with the other requested documents.
All documents should be packaged in one envelope and mailed to the CPFSA corporate office. The process normally takes 3 to 6 months, notwithstanding unforeseen circumstances. Once the child has moved abroad, the home service provider in that country will conduct periodic checks until the adoption process is finalised.
For additional information, contact:
Child Protection and Family Services Agency
48 Duke Street
Telephone: 876-948-6678 or 876-948-2841-2