Adopting a Child from Morocco FAQs

Things to know about Moroccan adoption

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Only children deemed by the Moroccan Court of Minors abandoned and legally free for adoption are eligible for referral to families and guardianship. Children include healthy infants under the age of 13 months, older children (3+) and some siblings. There are more boys than girls. Children come into care for a variety of reasons, but primary reasons the relinquishment of an infant by a single mother, or older and special needs children whose birth family is unable to parent them. Children are cared for in orphanages before placement with their adopting families.

Who is eligible to adopt from Morocco?

Morocco recognizes married heterosexual couples or single women age 25 and older and employed as prospective adoptive parents. Families adopting from Morocco must be practicing Sunni Muslim families who regularly attend mosque. If married, both spouses must be Sunni Muslim. See Eligibility Requirement below for more information.

What is “kafala” in adoption?

Kafala is the Arabic term for guardianship. In the adoption of children from Morocco to the U.S., kafala is the process completed via the courts in Morocco, and then the adoption is finalized in the United States upon the family’s return to the U.S. with the child. Kafala preserves the heritage, identity, and lineage of a child while allowing the adoptive parents love and care for the child throughout his/her life.

Since you are given kafala or guardianship of your child, you will need to finalize the child’s adoption after arrival in the United States. You can usually complete the finalization within the first six months after having returned to the U.S. New Beginnings will provide you the necessary information to finalize the adoption. Once completed, the child will have automatic U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. However, you will need to file the N-600 to receive the Certificate of Citizenship.

How long does the process take?

The application and home study process are dependent on the prospective adoptive parents and the home study agency, but usually can be completed within 2 to 4 months. Approval of the I-600A from USICS can take 1-3 months during which time you can finish the dossier. From the receipt of the dossier in Morocco to the referral and travel, families wait 6-9 months. The final Moroccan stages happen while the adoptive parent(s) are in the country and can take 4-7 weeks.

What information is in the child referral?

The child referral generally includes one or more photographs of the child, videos as available, name, gender, and date of birth of the child. Also included are measurements and medical reports from the time the child has been in the care of the orphanage as well as a current developmental milestone assessment report NB will have received the original Arabic and translated version of the abandonment certificate and will provide that with any identifying information of the birth family redacted from the document. Birth weight of child and circumstances of the birth of the child are not typically available.

Can I get additional medical information?

Before travel and after the family has reviewed the referral, NB staff will follow up with the orphanage to ask additional questions or obtain additional information (as available) on your behalf. However, referrals are usually given to the family in a short window of time before the family needs to travel to Morocco and meet the child. A preliminary acceptance of the referral is allowed, and then once in-country, the family can arrange additional physical exams. Please note that many of the genetic tests, more sophisticated testing may not be available in Morocco.

How much travel is required?

Depending on the region from which the kafala is granted, families can expect to take or one trip of 5-7 weeks on average, or two trips (a first trip of 1-2 weeks, and a second trip of 4-7 weeks).

When can I have custody of the child?

Upon your arrival in Morocco, within 2-4 days, you will appear 2-3 times in front of a judge to receive kafala guardianship. Once you receive the guardianship order, you can travel to the orphanage and receive your child. (You will be permitted to meet and visit the child before the issuance of guardianship.) From this point, your child will be in your custody. Before kafala issuance, you can visit the child as scheduled with the orphanage.

Who is eligible to adopt from Morocco?

  • Age of Applicant: 25 years or older; Preference for the youngest spouse to be less than 40 and no more than a 12-year age difference between spouses.
  • Marital Status: Single women (living alone); married heterosexual couples, no divorces.
  • Age of child at placement: 5 months and older
  • Gender Preference: Both boys and girls; short wait times to be matched with boy.
  • Family Composition: Must be practicing Sunni Muslim(s). Preference for childless families.
  • Income: Must be employed; financial security.
  • Parent Health: Excellent health without major medical concerns.
  • Parent Mental Health: Considered on case-by case basis; no severe conditions.
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent education.
  • Prior Criminal History: Would consider minor offense older than 5 years; no drug offenses.
  • Length of Time: 12 to 18 months.
  • Placement Areas: In all U.S. states.
  • Exception Waivers: None stated.
  • Length of time in country: 1-2 trips depending on region; longest (or only) trip is 4-5 weeks.

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