Ghana - Process
We are currently not accepting applications for our Ghana program. We hope to have the program open to new families again in the near future. For more information, please contact Marquita Thompson at email@example.com.
Ghana is a beautiful country about the size of Oregon, situated in the heart of West Africa. Ghanaian people feel a great responsibility to be friendly and welcoming to visitors of their country. Foreigners are greeted with “Akwaaba! You are welcome!“ Ghana is one of the most stable countries in Africa. Unfortunately the economy has struggled and, like most African countries, the majority of people live in poverty. 45% of Ghana’s people live on less than $1 per day, and up to 60% of Ghana’s children are involved in child labor or child slavery. UNICEF estimates that there are 1,000,000 orphans in Ghana. Traditionally the extended family would take on orphaned family members. But in today’s Ghana many children are not able to remain with their biological families. AAI’s Ghana program began in 2007. Ghana families should be flexible and have a pioneering attitude that will help to pave the way for future families when unforeseen delays or changes in the process occur.
Ghana Social Welfare prefers to place children through domestic adoptions, but when no Ghanaian family can be located for an adoptable child, they may be placed with an international family. This is not an "infant/toddler program." Both sibling sets and single children are available. When in the best interest of the child, unrelated children may be placed in the same adoptive family. HIV+ children may be adopted from Ghana. There is a great need for families who will adopt children 6 years old and older. Most all children in Ghana have at least some English skills by the time they are adopted (many with moderate English). Children adopted through our program may reside in foster homes or children's homes in any region within Ghana.
Ghanaian law stipulates that adoptive parents should be married and between 25-50 years old. We cannot assist single parents at this time. Parents must be 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child(ren) they intend to adopt. Couples where one parent is over 50 may be given permission to adopt on a case by case basis (Ghana desires the other parent to be no more than 43). Families with up to 5 children may adopt, but smaller families are preferred by Ghana Social Welfare. The family size limit is sometimes waived when the family wishes to adopt children with permanent special needs (such as HIV, limb difference, blindness, or Hep B). Social Welfare has a bias against "virtual twinning." They wish for children in the family to have enough difference in age that the ages could have occurred through giving birth (aka at least 9-12 months apart). Parents with health issues and disabilities may adopt as long as your doctor will support your decision to adopt. Previous divorce is allowed.
Parents will first obtain an approved homestudy and collect a simple dossier of supporting documents. AAI will introduce families to children who have been made available for international adoption, but Social Welfare will make all official matches between parents and children after they have reviewed parent and child documentation (usually a month or so before court). Social Welfare will then prepare a report on the child and adoptive family, and gain final permission from any biological family for the adoption. In most cases, both parents are required to travel to Ghana to appear in court. However, we can request court by proxy. The child's biological family is also required to appear in court. After the adoption decree is printed, it will be used to apply for a new birth certificate in the child's new name. After the new birth certificate is issued, families file immigration paperwork and initiate the process for the child's new Ghana Passport. After the passport has been issued and immigration paperwork has been approved we will represent the adoptive family at the US Embassy in Ghana in order to gain the US visa. Families may then travel back to Ghana to receive their child, or can arrange for AAI to escort their child to the U.S. The process from introduction to a child to immigrant visa typically takes 6-12 months.
Information includes at least one photo and all available social and medical information. Children are tested for HIV, Hep B, sickle cell, and TB before introduction. Waiting child information may be shared with homestudy-complete families with an application on file with AAI. The Department of Social Welfare in Ghana makes all official referrals to adoptive parents.
Families should be prepared that travel could be two trips and several weeks in country, or as little as 1 week and one trip to Ghana. Families travel according to the requirements of their child's region. In one region parents travel for 3-4 weeks, followed by a final pickup trip 3-4 months later. In another region travel would involve 2 trips, of 1 week each. In another region it may be that parents do not need to travel for court. In all cases, AAI requires (except in special circumstances) that at least one parent make at least one trip to Ghana. If a family has traveled to Ghana previously, the child may be escorted to the U.S. when the visa is issued.