Accepting Applications for families interested in adopting children with Special Needs and at least 3-5 years old and older. This is not a program for families that must adopt a baby as infants and toddlers are not always available.
Uganda, located in Eastern Africa is a country that is like no other in Africa. If there were perfect words to describe the Ugandan people those words would be: loving and friendly and the country, tragically beautiful.
In Uganda children available are infants (very rarely), toddlers (occasionally) and children up to 15 years of age. The average age of children seen is around 3 years of age and up. Both boys and girls are available for intercountry adoption. Sibling groups and older children are available. Relatively healthy and special needs children are ready for adoption in Uganda.
Families starting this program need to understand that this is not a baby program, nor is it a good substitute for a closing or lingering baby program in another country (unless the family is willing to adjust their age expectations.) Due to recent changes in several countries slowing and families switching programs, applicant families must be willing and approved to adopt a child at least 3 years of age.
LMI prefers to work with only with children that have been fully abandoned (unknown parents) or have lost mother or both parents due to death. There might be exceptions to this policy with severely special needs children or other circumstances. Because of LMI restricting the children we place in Uganda, the wait for referral could be delayed.
When you research you may hear the term "AIDS orphan." AIDS Orphan does not indicate the child's medical condition, it indicates that the child became an orphan because of parents or relatives dying of AIDS. You may also hear the term war-affected, which means that the child's social history includes a geographic connection to a former war area, typically Northern Uganda.
ADOPTIVE PARENT CRITERIA:
Single adoptive Parents must be at least 25-years-old. Uganda requires a 21 year difference in parent and child for a Ugandan Adoption. Single women and Married Couples are allowed to adopt. Couples preferred to be married for a minimum of 1 year at the time of dossier submission. Adoptive Parents must be in good health and be able to show sufficient income to parent the child. There are no restrictions regarding the number of other children in the home to adopt from Uganda, however, larger families must be reviewed prior to continuing in the program.
For families in this program it is suggested families possess the following: flexibility, upbeat attitude when facing delays, tolerant of the risks involved in this type of adoption. A family that has had some international travel experience, particularly to African nations would be a blessing for this program! Families must be completely flexible with travel plans, they must possess adventurous spirits and go with the ability to spend plenty of time in Uganda to process their legal guardianship.
LMI can work with families living outside the US, however this is on a case by case basis. Please contact us with specifics about your situation and we can advise you.
LENGTH OF PROCESS:
After the dossier is submitted, families wait for the legal guardianship process to be completed.
Wait times in the Ugandan program are fluid and determined by many factors: (no true discernible pattern can be noticed yet in this program because each case has unique factors in the timelines):
- Age of Child Requested
- Gender of Child Requested
- Number of Children Requested
- Child’s medical exams
- Unrelated siblings cases
- Special and Medical Needs the Family Will Accept
- Homestudy completion
- Orphanage/Attorney Legal Paperwork
- Cooperation of the local officials
- Biological family ability to make appointments and cooperation
- Region the child lives in
- Background investigation of the child
- Political upheaval
- High Court Judge assignment and allocation of the case
Wait time depends on age of the child to be adopted. 6 months is a typical time frame for a child referral, but this time line is not always certain. Families will be matched to a child available for adoption, and will receive pictures and medical information on that child. Children have brief medicals and social history if known. Typical delays seen with orphans are expected, however, with the state of economy the children are undernourished, some have parasites and other treatable conditions and children usually go without proper medical care typically prior to arrival at the orphanage. Families are given the option to accept the child referral they receive. You will be given two weeks in which to accept the referral.
LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP AND ADOPTION IN UGANDA: Once a family has been approved to adopt on the US side, and their dossier of paperwork is submitted to the legal counsel in Uganda, and the wait for the Ugandan side process begins.
There are two different ways to adopt in Uganda. The Family is granted Legal Guardianship of a child to the adoptive parent through the high courts of Uganda. The Legal Guardianship grants parents the guardianship and custody of the child and allows the full adoption to be completed within the United States under the family's home state laws after returning home with the child. A second way families can adopt is that the family can go through an adoption process in Uganda after residing in Uganda for 3 years with the child then appearing before the High Court with their adoption petition.
The success of the process on a legal guardianship is dependent on the Courts of Uganda and the US Consulate providing an exit visa. Uganda is a legal risk adoption due to the fact that the family must return to the US to finalize the adoption process and many variances in the process of Legal Guardianship.
Both parents or single parent must travel and attend court, however it is possible for only one parent remain in country while one returns to the US after the court ruling is conducted. Both parents must attend court hearing(s) together. Families are currently spending 5-9 weeks in-country to complete the legal guardianship. Two shorter trips could be possible. Please know that in the past families under some circumstances have been given little advanced notice of travel.
The dossier guide you will be given will give you detailed instructions as to what documents are necessary to adopt in Uganda, and your dossier will be completely done for you by your LMI Dossier Specialist. Once you have immigration approval and your dossier is done, and you have selected a referral, your dossier will go through the legal channels in Uganda. LMI will submit a family’s dossier through a careful process of notarization in order for it to be used as a legal framework for adoption.
AFTER RETURNING HOME:
Children entering on an IR-4 visa (Legal Guardianship Process), are entering as permanent residents and do not qualify for automatic citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). These families are required to finalize their adoption (re-adoption) in the court in their State or county of residence. Through the finalization process, your child becomes an automatic citizen. Although the child will be a US citizen after the adoption is finalized, you will not receive a Certificate of Citizenship unless you apply for citizenship through US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) by filing the N-600 form and will require re-adoption. You can apply for a US passport after the finalization without filing the N-600. However, families should do both. USCIS issues the Certificate of Citizenship. The US State Department issues the US passport. As separate entities, each group has its own mission and enforcement powers. USCIS is the group that declares your child to be a citizen and the Certificate of Citizenship is proof that the child’s status is changed to citizen in the USCIS database. In this day and age, LMI cannot emphasize enough the importance of re-adoption and follow through of these processes. Because of tightening security measures across the country, the risk of adopted children running into problems is very real.
POST PLACEMENT REQUIREMENTS
Uganda and LMI will require post-placement reports to be completed by a social worker in the state of residency. The family will undergo an adoption finalization process in the U.S. Court System within a year of returning to the U.S. The child's adoption must then be registered at the Ugandan Embassy in the US.
Fees schedules are set to where Parents pay in increments for the Ugandan adoption process, so all fees are not due at once. Application, Registration, Agency and Commitment Fees are non-refundable. Fees in country are based on each family process, location and location of the child, and can vary from child to child, family to family.
To request information on our Ugandan Adoption Program please fill out our online INFO REQUEST FORM.
The Republic of Uganda, home to 27 million people, is located in East Africa. It borders Tanzania and Rwanda in the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Sudan in the north, and Kenya in the east. In addition to its own citizens, Uganda hosts thousands of refugees from Sudan, Congo and Rwanda. Many speak English – the official national language – in addition to Swahili or one of the Bantu languages.
From the moment you land at the Entebbe International Airport, located 40 kms from the capital city of Kampala, you’re assured of breathtaking sights. Winston Churchill called Uganda "The Pearl of Africa" and for good reason. Sprawled across seven hills, the capital city is a bustling cosmopolitan city weaves in the natural beauty to create an effect that no other city in the world can match. For where else do you have the chance to observe the lions prowling the open plains, watch the chimpanzees through the rain forest, navigate tropical channels teeming with hippos and crocodiles and set off into the misty mountains to stare into the eyes of a mountain gorillas. Uganda is the smallest of the four African countries whose bird checklist tops the 1,000 mark. A network of 10 national parks, on both sides of equator, and several other protected areas offers wildlife enthusiasts a thrilling opportunity to experience Uganda’s biodiversity.
Believe it or not, there’s more to Uganda than wildlife. There is the mighty Nile, punctuated by the spectacular Murchison Falls, and the setting for some of the world’s most thrilling commercial white-water rafting. There are the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori, which provide an unmatched adrenaline rush to the dedicated mountaineers, as well as the Virunga Volcanoes and Mount Elgon, both of which offer unmatched hiking opportunities through scintillating scenery. The islands of Lake Victoria and Bunyonyi are idyllic venues for the tourists to enjoy the laid back time of their lives.
Today, Uganda has the reputation for being ‘Africa’s Friendliest Country’. This stems partly from the tradition of hospitality common to its culturally diverse population, and partly from the remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists.
But there is a stark contrast to all of this beauty when you visit the history of the country. To say that it takes a village to raise a child is as true in an African village as it is in an American town. Especially if the children are orphans without hope of even a high school education. Uganda, has been living with social conflict, rebel conflict, violence, war and the AIDS pandemic for the past 20 years. Its growing economy is based on agriculture, with coffee, tea and cotton serving as its chief exports, yet Uganda remains one of the world's poorest countries. One of its most severe crises is the number of children orphaned each year by AIDS. Out of a population of 31 million people, one in 13 is an orphaned child. Of those, 1 million have lost their parents to AIDS, and that statistic is rising.
Uganda has an estimated over 3 million orphans, the highest number in the world, and 25 percent of all households look after at least one child orphaned by either HIV/AIDS or war. Uganda's population is very young, with 51 percent below the age of 14. The increased spiral of adult deaths in Uganda means that the number of children orphaned each day is expanding exponentially. Africa is staggering under the load. The infant mortality rate is 65 infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births.
The majority of Ugandan citizens struggle to acquire even the most basic health care. There are only 4 doctors and 28 nurses per 100,000 people.
Most Ugandans have to work 2 or 3 jobs simply to survive, often even to secure a standard of living below the poverty threshold. Moreover, one or more of these jobs are often within the informal sector which draws taxation.