Adoption is a legal process whereby persons assume the role of parents for a child who is not their biological child.
The Child Care Board facilitates the process through the assessment and approval of the prospective adoptive parents; placement of children with the approved parents; statutory supervision of the child/children in the adoptive placements and provision of Court Reports.
What is Adoption?
Adoption is a procedure by which people legally assume the role of parents for a child who is not their biological child. Adopted children become full members of their adopted family and have the same legal status as the family’s biological children.
Why do Persons Adopt?
Many persons seek to adopt when they discover that they cannot give birth to biological children. Others adopt children to add new members to their families that include biological children. However, many persons adopt simply to give a home and family to children who might not otherwise have a home.
Any person desirous of adopting a minor shall make an application to the Child Care Board. This agency is the only legal entity authorised to process adoption applications.
Where do the children come from that are placed for adoption?
These children come from the Child Care Board’s residential centres or from families that are in crisis or under some degree of stress and are unable to provide the needed care for their children.
Who is eligible to Adopt?
- A citizen of Barbados or a person who is a citizen of a country with which Barbados has diplomatic relations or consular relations and who has made Barbados his or her permanent home.
- An applicant or applicants who fulfil the criteria at (1) above and (i) are not less than 25 years old and are not less than 18 years older than the minor to be adopted; or (ii) who is at least 18 years older and is a relative of the minor or; (iii) the mother or father of the minor.
- A spouse in a marriage who is at least 25 years old and at least 18 years older than the child to be adopted as long as the spouse has the consent of the other spouse.
- A single female who fulfils the requirement at (1) and (2) above.
- A single male in respect of a minor who is a female in very exceptional circumstances.
- A single male who fulfils the requirement at (1) and (2) above in respect of a minor who is male.
In all cases, the applicant and the child must both reside in Barbados except where the adoption is to take place abroad. The applicant who resides abroad must first obtain a Licence from the High Court of Barbados to remove the child from the jurisdiction of Barbados for the purpose of being adopted abroad. Investigations are carried out on the prospective adoptive parents abroad before such a Licence is granted by the Court.
How long does it take for the adoption procedure to be completed?
The process takes approximately thirteen (13) months and includes an assessment of the applicants, introductions of the child(ren) to the prospective adoptive parent(s), a six (6) month statutory supervision, the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem and the Court process for the finalization of the Adoption Order.
Do Adoptive Parents need to earn a certain level of income?
No, but the Child Care Board will want to know that they have an adequate income as the placement of a child is permanent.
Are there any fees involved?
The only financial cost to prospective adoptive applicants is the legal fees for the processing of documents for the finalization of the Adoption Order and Court appearance.
Why is a Parent's Consent Needed?
Before the Court can make an Adoption Order it has to be satisfied that the parents have consented of their own free will to the Order being made. The parents are required to sign a Form of Consent which will be presented in Court as evidence of their consent.
Can a mother return for a child who is adopted?
When Adoption Orders are completed in the High Court, this means that a parent(s) will have no further rights to see the minor or have the minor returned to them.
Can adoptive parent(s) change their minds?
When the High Court grants an Adoption Order it means that it cannot be changed and the adoptive parents are now the legal parents of the child.
Can a person choose the type of child they want to adopt?
Adoptive parents have the opportunity of deciding the age and sex of the child that would best fit into their family.
What is the role of the Guardian Ad Litem?
The Court will appoint a person called the Guardian Ad Litem to carry out certain checks and interviews to satisfy himself or herself that the proposed adoption will be in the best interest of the child; that the natural parents of the child fully understand what adoption means and that the proposed adoptive parents also fully understand their rights and their responsibilities relative to the adoption.
The law states that such a person should usually either be a Probation Officer, or a Welfare Officer nominated by the Child Care Board or an officer nominated by the Solicitor General.
What is the difference between Adoption and Foster Care?
Adoption is a permanent placement of a child with a family or individual, while foster care is a temporary placement of a child with an approved family with a view to the child being re-integrated in the community with his/her family. This placement is supervised by the Child Care Board.
The Board’s Adoption Programme was officially started on July 24, 1981, when the Welfare Department handed over all documents and forms pertaining to adoption. The Adoption Programme extended beyond Barbadian applicants, in that applications were received from the Eastern Caribbean Region and from North America.
Children with no ties to natural families are made available for adoption, and legally become members of other suitable families. Adoption establishes a parent-child relationship between persons who are not related by blood. The majority of children in the hard-to-place category are unfortunately males and/or children over five years.
The Board is encouraging prospective adopters to consider adopting boys as an alternative to girls. The concerns for this Programme have remained relatively constant over the years; namely, the cost incurred in adoptions, the role of the Guardian Ad Litem, and the delay in court proceedings.