My Aunt has been married for more than nine years and has no child of her own, However her husband and her have been living with a boy of 12 years and they now want to adopt him. A neighbor told them that they can just go to the police and inform them accordingly and they will be able to register the boy as their adopted child. Is that correct? Are there any requirements under the law?
The Law of the Child Act (Act) recognises an open adoption and stipulates a list of requirements that are to be fulfilled before initializing the process. Section 56 of the Act requires the prospective parents to be residing in Tanzania and to be above 25 years of age and at least 21 years older than the child. On top of that, in case of an application by one spouse, the other party has to consent to the adoption. You can’t merely go to the police station and adopt.
The applicant(s) will also be required to visit the District Social Welfare Office so as to be assessed of their suitability to adopt the child and ensure that the child’s views regarding the adoption are ascertained and recorded in the social investigation report.
Further to the above, the applicants will be obliged to submit three referees as well as obtaining parental consent of the parents or guardians of the child they intend to adopt. They will then have to lodge an application letter to the Commissioner for Social Welfare at Dodoma, before filing a petition in Court for purposes of adoption. The key test is always what is in the interest of the child and the suitability of the adopting parents.