If you would like to adopt a child in The Bahamas, you have an exciting but potentially difficult road ahead. First, you should determine whether you are eligible under Bahamian law to adopt. Second, you will need to follow all steps of the adoption process.
The Adoption of Children Act lists three basic requirements for adoptive parents, and you must meet at least one of them:
- You are at least twenty-five years old and are at least twenty-one years older than the child you would like to adopt,
- You are at least eighteen years old and are a relative of the child, or
- You are the mother or father of the child.
Usually, only one person can adopt a child unless the two people seeking to adopt are married. One spouse cannot adopt unless the other consents, cannot be found, cannot give consent, or the couple is separated permanently.
The parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child to be adopted must consent to adoption, unless he or she has abandoned, neglected or persistently mistreated the child; persistently neglected or refused to contribute to the child's maintenance; cannot be found; is incapable of giving consent to the adoption; or unreasonably withholds consent. See Adoption of Children Act.
The Adoption Process
To begin the adoption process, you will need to visit the Placement Unit in Nassau to make a request to the Social Services Representative (SSR). The SSR conducts a preliminary interview to assess applicants' eligibility. The SSR will review your finances, health, living accommodations, police record, marriage certificate or divorce decree if applicable, and the eligibility requirements described above.
After that, another SSR will interview you. He or she will notify you of required documents that you will need to gather or complete. Then you will have a home visit. The SSR drafts an Adoption Home Study Report (AHSR) after the home visit. The Adoption Committee uses the ASHR to make its decision. If the Committee approves the adoption, your adopted child will be placed in your home.
To complete the adoption process, an application for an adoption order must be made to the Supreme Court. The requirements and procedure for making the adoption application will be discussed in a later article.
To learn more about adoption in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.