Ugandans had always adopted children informally by raising their relatives’ or friends’ children. But now, there is a growing culture of formally adopting children through the court process.
Ugandans had always adopted children informally by raising their relatives’ or friends’ children. But now, there is a growing culture of formally adopting children through the court process. Esther Namirimu found three Ugandan families having the time of their lives with their "new" children.
For years, Ugandans have informally adopted children. We have either lived with relatives, been raised by relatives or are raising our relatives’ children. Today, they have taken it a notch higher by following the court process of adoption. More and more Ugandans are opening their hearts and homes to young, vulnerable and abandoned children. It is no longer exclusive to foreigners.
Amelo Ejalu and joyful sasha
Ejalu is a management consultant. She adopted Sasha in March 2012.
“I must say, the adoption experience was not as traumatic as I thought it would be. This was because of Malaika Babies Home’s efficient, structured approach to the process,”
The process involves assignment of a social worker, assessment for adoption approval, follow up and assistance in the legal process. One gets a pre-bonding month with the baby at the home and a couple of day and sleep-over outings, handover of the baby and periodic follow-ups to check on the baby and mother progress.
“It may sound like a long process, but, with all the requirements ready from my side, it took less than two months to complete the process,” Ejalu explains.
Supportive family and friends
“Sasha Mayowale Oluka came home when she was three months old. She has settled in well and is now a very happy child. She was given the name “Mayowale” by one of my friends, which means “you bring joy home” in the Yoruba language and she is living up to her name.
My social worker has been very supportive. I now see her as a friend and not as someone with a stern face on the other side of adoption paperwork. I appreciate the time she has taken to attend Mayowale’s first birthday party and her christening, in addition to the formal adoption visits.
Adopting is a personal decision. While you seek advice from family and friends, look for it outside family and friends, in order to get a balanced view and help in making your decision.
Alice’s family adopted a son in August 2012. Her husband works upcountry. She is a teacher and they live in Bweyogerere.
She says: Adoption has changed their lives for the better. It has been an amazing, rewarding and fulfilling experience. “It is going well. We are blessed because our son is doing well. He is a healthy boy.
“Our relatives love our son. We took him to the village on Christmas last year and they were so happy. They welcomed him. They have accepted him as part of our family and love him.
The community around us is wonderful; our son is a friend to most of them and their children.
Our relatives come to visit our son. He has brought so much joy to our home, which has spilled over to our relatives.
Our social worker conducts follow-up visits which have been very helpful and she also calls regularly to find out how our son is doing. When we need information or guidance, it is comforting to know that she is just a call away,” Alice says.
Adoption is a life-long experience which, with the support of your social worker, is worth pursuing. If you are thinking of adopting a child, and you have doubts, talk to a social worker, they will guide you.
If you are thinking of adoption, then you already have the good seed sown, the next step is taking the decision to bring the child into your home.
I have a friend who has been observing the journey with our son, and has also decided to adopt. We encourage her in every way we can and she will soon be making her first trip to Malaika Babies Home in Mengo”.
Christina Sempebwa’s family
Tessa is a delight to have in my home. We have bonded totally with her and she is part and parcel of my family. Tessa has gone through her various stages of growth, passing each milestone early and without any trouble at all. She is a very happy child. This year, she joined a play group which she enjoys very much.
The visits from the social worker, Maria, have been regular and encouraging.
My family was happy that I adopted a child. Tessa gets on well with my nieces and nephews. She is invited to all birthday parties and participates in all family events for that age group.
The other children share toys and clothes with her, as she also shares with them.
My daughters, in particular, are very happy and love Tessa to bits.
They enjoy teaching her rhymes, games and just being around her. She lights up our home. It is quiet and boring when she is at school. My daughters take lots of pictures of Tessa and she is close to both of them and to the rest of the young people in my home.
My friends at church are also very supportive and love to help out in everyway they can. One friend who works in South Sudan regularly sends me milk for Tessa.
Tessa is a dedicated member of our church and she goes to Sunday School with the young children. She is completely settled in my family. She knows that I am her mother and that she has sisters, uncles, aunts and a grandfather.
The social worker makes regular visits and phone calls to check on us. She answers any questions I have. She provided guidance when I inquired about getting a birth certificate for my daughter.
If you want to adopt, you have to prepare yourself for the new child and prepare your family and friends. Go into it wholeheartedly just as if you are going to give birth to a child.
When I gave birth to my first child, my mother told me that this child is totally dependent on me for everything. When you adopt a child, know that the child is totally dependent on you for everything and they are yours forever, just like the children you give birth to.
It is important to remember that children are a gift from God and that we have a responsibility to God to take care of them and give them the best foundation that we are able to, so that they can have a bright and productive future. Children are a blessing and little angels in our homes.
The joy of adopting a child