In November 2014, MLJ Adoptions opened our ninth international adoption program in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is located in the horn of Africa; it is landlocked and surrounded by five other African countries. With limited resources, the need for international adoption is great. The need for international adoption from Burkina Faso is not just for young healthy children, but like other country programs, there are sibling groups, older children and children with special needs legally free, and in some cases, waiting for immediate adoption. Burkina Faso is party to the Hague Convention making the process stable and predictable for families interested in adopting from Africa.
Burkina Faso has several requirements of prospective adoptive parents. Only couples married for five or more years, with one spouse at least 30 years old qualify to adopt. Families with more than one child currently in their home should be prepared to adopt a child with additional needs. Families without children in the home, or with only one child currently in their home can choose to adopt a child without additional needs.
In August, MLJ Adoptions received information about five waiting children from Burkina Faso. Their ages ranged from under one year old to 8 years old. Their needs ranged from sickle cell to Hepatitis B to older age (age 8). While these children have since been matched with families, if you are interested in adopting from Burkina Faso, we keep our Waiting Child Photolisting up to date. We are encouraged by Burkina Faso’s commitment to find loving and permanent homes for all children, and are eager to come alongside them to find families for children in need.
There is not a separate process for families adopting children with additional needs from Burkina Faso. They follow the same procedures as other Burkina Faso families by first submitting an Adoption Application with MLJ Adoptions, making a first payment to become an MLJ Adoptions’ Family, completing a home study and submitting their dossier. We currently have several families in this process.
As children with special needs become legally free for international adoption, MLJ Adoptions is made aware of them, and is able to share the information with families currently in the Burkina Faso program. We will also continue to share the needs of these children with prospective adoptive families to help them better understand the possible diagnoses special needs children from Burkina Faso may experience. Families with submitted dossiers may apply with the Ministry in Burkina Faso to adopt a specific waiting child. The process for adopting a waiting child is usually expedited, but timeframes may vary.
Since Burkina Faso is a pilot program, there are several unknowns. The frequency in which waiting children become legally free for adoption is not yet known, nor is the range of needs that the children may have. Families with more than one child currently in their home who enter the Burkina Faso program should be prepared to adopt a child with special needs that could range from minor correctable to more severe.
Adopting a child with special needs is a lifelong commitment. We recommend that all families take their referral information to an International Adoption Clinic to best understand what immediate and long-term care may be necessary, even if the referred child appears to have no additional needs. Before choosing to move forward with a waiting child, a family can request additional information to better assess if they are the best fit for providing a specific child with the loving care they require.
MLJ Adoptions’ Burkina Faso program is not strictly a special needs program. Families without children in the home, or with only one child currently in their home can choose to adopt a child without additional needs. If you’re interested in learning more about adopting from Burkina Faso, please contact us.