Morocco Adoption Program
In Morocco, parents apply for guardianship, not adoption, of a child. This is called kafala in Arabic. Kafala preserves the heritage, identity and lineage of a child while caring for and loving him or her as their own child through adulthood. An adoption does not take place in-country. When you decide to adopt a child in Morocco, you are issued an IR-4 visa. This means you complete or finalize your adoption after you return home to your state of residence.
Children Available for Kafala/Adoption
Most children available for adoption have been either abandoned or relinquished by parents. They range in age from 3 months old infants to teenagers. Most children waiting to be adopted are boys older than 3 years of age and special needs children. Generally, only healthy children are referred but there is a great need for homes for special needs children and requests for these children are always welcomed by the orphanages and will be expedited. Requesting the gender of a child is strongly discouraged.
Qualifications to Adopt in Morocco
According to the US Department of State Adoption site:
- Residency: Although residency is not a legal requirement under the Kafala law (an argument some courts used in approving Kafalas), a 2012 Ministry of Justice circular ordered prosecutors to request evidence of residency when processing guardianship requests. Evidence of residency may be required at any stage of the Kafala proceedings, and may differ from city to city and court to court. For example, a prosecutor may require it before sending the case to court, or a court may seek proof before considering the case. It is recommended that prospective adoptive parents consult with an attorney in Morocco about residency requirements.
- Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age.
- Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents must either be a single female or a married couple. Morocco does not recognize same sex marriages or domestic partnerships.
- Income: The Government of Morocco requires that people seeking legal guardianship of Moroccan children be employed.
- Religion: Prospective adoptive parents of Moroccan children must be Muslim.
- Other: Prospective adoptive parents must have a letter from a doctor practicing in Morocco indicating that they are in good mental and physical heath and capable of caring for an adopted child.
*Although the Department of State’s website indicates that residency may be required, the Judges in the jurisdictions that New Star Kafala works in, have not required this for the past year. This requirement has been determined by appellate courts to be subject to the interpretation of the individual judges.
The Kafala Process
New Star Kafala will assist you from obtaining a home study through post placement support. We will assist you to assemble your dossier and send it for certified translation into Arabic. Our Morocco representative will submit it to the Orphanage Director for review.
When a child is free for adoption that fits the family’s request, the parents are notified. A referral is given with a picture and basic information such as why the child is in care, height, weight and any significant medical history. If Parents tentatively accept the referral, they will arrange to travel when the orphanage and court can schedule their case, usually within a month or two.
There are occasionally instances where the child is recommended for adoption pending the termination of parental rights. In those cases adoptive parents must wait between about 3 and 6 months. Parents are not guaranteed that a referral of a particular child will be made until the Court of Minors determines that child is legally free.
New Star Kafala’s Moroccan coordinator will transport and accompany Parents for every adoption related task and visit with the child from airport arrival through departure for home. On the day of arrival you will usually be taken to the orphanage to meet your child! You will be permitted to hold and interact with him. You will be given access to any additional information on file and be able to have it translated if in French or Arabic After obtaining a After you you’re your child you meet him in Morocco, review any additional records and have the opportunity to have him examined by a physician.
The coordinator will follow up on paperwork and assist the applicants through the required steps to complete the Kafala. The process may take one or two trips depending on the region. Most referrals are for one trip of 4 weeks.
Kafala Procedure in Morocco
The order and timing of these steps may vary by region.
- Obtain Moroccan criminal clearances at Ministry of Justice in Rabat.
- Submit the dossier to Court of Minors and Department of Social Services in the jurisdiction where the child is located.
- Obtain Parents’ medical report after examination by a Moroccan Physician.
- Obtain approval of Imam, Prosecutor, Police and Social Worker (All receive a copy of dossier).
- Introduction to child and visits observed by the Court Assigned Social Worker and other staff interacting with child before recommending an approval.
- Parents have at minimum 10 days to accept or reject the referral and may have the child examined by a physician or specialist and send any records/videos/photos to consultants.
- Attend Court of Minors hearing to receive approval of Kafala by Judge of Minors
- Obtain birth certificate, relinquishment or abandonment papers, Kafala decree and obtains translations.
- Obtain child’s Moroccan passport
- Examination by a US Consulate approved panel physician
- Application for the child’s visa in US Consulate in Casablanca for interview and pick up.
- And then you will be taken to the airport to go home with your child!
Adjusting After Your Kafala
Support and monitoring post placement are a very important part of your Kafala. Our staff will check with you shortly after arrival and thereafter to review your child’s and family’s adjustment. We are here to listen, advise, refer and connect you to a community of other Muslim adoptive parents. We will follow your progress in coordination with your home study agency both by phone and in person. We are available to discuss your concerns as they arise. Two Post Placement Reports within the first year home are mandatory. We allow flexibility in timing since post placement reports are also part of the finalization process (see below).
Generally parents should try to submit their first post placement between 3-6 months and their second at 6-12 months. Parents must additionally agree to submit annual self-reports by email including medical report and photos until age 5 and thereafter at ages, 8, 13 and 17 with photos and report card. These reports will be sent to Moroccan and Embassy officials. Parents must register their Kafala at the Moroccan Embassy within 30 days of arrival and agree to comply with its requests for information about the child’s wellbeing until they are 18. It is critical to the future of Kafala that parents comply with all post placement requirements. Officials need to know that their children are being raised in loving Muslim homes. Failure to provide these reports or maintain contact may contribute to official concern that could result in a suspension. Parent’s commitment to comply must remain a priority for the sake of all children.
Morocco Kafala is a guardianship. Therefore your child’s adoption is not completed when you leave. The child must be adopted in his state of residence when he arrives home. This can be coordinated with your post placement monitoring. Finalization is essential to your child’s legal status for citizenship. Failure to finalize has resulted in some adult adoptees being deported. Your home study agency or a family law attorney can best advise you how to adopt your child in your state.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States, a child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States, an adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.
*Please be aware that since your child does not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For more information please see: http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/country-information/learn-about-a-country/morocco.html
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*The donations that go towards our work placing Muslim children with Muslim guardians are considered sadaqa. If you indicate your donation is a zakat donation, that donation will go towards other charity programs that are zakat-eligible.