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How to adopt a child in Uganda

It is said that in every person’s life, there is always a family we have, and a family we choose. Ideally, your natural family is one of the families we don’t get to choose. Legally, however, a family or individual may have the opportunity to defy these odds through adoption or guardianship.

Adoption is the legal process where a person permanently assumes parental rights and responsibilities for a child from his or her biological parents.

Guardianship, on the other hand, is the process whereby a person is appointed by the court to take care of a child, with this, they acquire temporary parental rights and responsibilities.

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 “Adoption – because family isn’t made from blood, it’s made from love.”


Who can Adopt?

Adopting a child may be simple enough on paper, however, the law presents a few conditions that allow a prospective parent to adopt. These are; 

A. Citizen Adoption 

i) A person at the age of 25 years can adopt a child however a prospective parent must be 21 years older than the child to gain custody. 

ii) A prospective adoptive parent must have fostered the child for at least 36 months under the supervision of a probation officer. 

iii) In circumstances where the prospective adoptive parents are a couple, they must be able to adopt a child jointly.

iv) A single parent can also adopt a child however, they are not allowed to adopt one of the opposite sex save for exceptional circumstances. 

v) Prospective adoptive parents must be in good physical and mental health as determined by a medical practitioner.

B. Foreign Adoption

i) For a foreigner to adopt a child, the prospective parent must have fostered the child for at least 36 months while in Uganda under the supervision of a Probation Officer.

ii) A foriegn adoptive parent must;

a) Have no criminal record 

b) Have been approved by their country of nationality to adopt

c) They must possess proof that their country will respect the Ugandan adoption Order.

d) Must meet the same requirements for adoption as a citizen.


A prospective parent will require the following consent before they are allowed to adopt a child;

 a) Under circumstances where a child’s parents are; known, alive, of sound mind and can be found, consent must be given for the said child to be adopted. 

b) Children who are of 14 years and above must also consent to the adoption. 

c) A child or parent is at liberty to withdraw their consent to adoption before the adoption order is made. They are also allowed to challenge said adoption in circumstances where consent wasn’t obtained legally. 


The adoption order must be registered with the Office of the Registrar General, Probation office and National Council for Children. Where the prospective parent is a foreigner, the court will order that the Adoption Order be registered with the Embassy of Uganda in the country of the adoptive parents.