Practical challenges of working with intercountry adoption with the best interest of the child in focus
Intercountry adoption presents both immense challenges and innumerable opportunities for child welfare in sending countries. The last decade has brought out the extent of these challenges. Chief among them are the political context and legislative framework. The Executive can play a pivotal role in either stifling or enabling child-centric legislation. A case in point is the 2014 intercountry moratorium that is still in place in Kenya.
The interpretation of the 'best interest principle' by a sending country presents both opportunity and challenges for domestic and inter-country adoption. A stable Central Authority together with independent Governing Institutions ensure a sound policy and practice environment for adoptions.
Moreover, the media plays a key role in disseminating information that can either enhance or deter domestic and inter-country adoptions. Determination of abandonment and tracing of birth parents/ families within the context of the best interest of the child can create loopholes in the adoption process.
Inter-country adoption remains a viable, child-centric option that should not be shelved to the back burner. Indeed, intercountry adoption challenges in a sending country may stem from glaring legislative gaps or glaring inaction in implementing existing legislation. Further exacerbating these challenges are the dire socio-economic undercurrents in the country.
About Susan Otuoma
Susan Otuoma has over 17 years’ experience in Child Protection and Alternative Care of children with special focus on adoption and kinship care. In the course of her child protection work, she has overseen the placement of over 3,000 children into families in Africa and in Europe: with their biological parents; with relatives or into new adoptive families.
Susan has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Little Angels Network, a Licensed Adoption Agency in Kenya since 2014. She is also a Founding Member and Director of the Alternative Child Care Alliance of Kenya (ACCA), which organized the first Eastern Africa Adoption Conference in 2013. She is also a member of the Eastern Africa Orphan Alliance that brings together professionals and organizations from the said region to advocate for Orphans and Vulnerable children.
She holds a master’s in strategic leadership Towards Sustainability from the Blekinge University of Technology (Sweden). Her research focused on Social Sustainability Assessment of Alternative Child Care Policies.