Adopting a Child from Morocco FAQs
Things to know about Moroccan adoption
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Children in Need of Adoption
In Morocco, the children in need of kafala and adoption include healthy infants-age six to thirteen months, older children, children with identified needs, and some siblings. More boys are waiting for adoption in Morocco than girls. Children come into care for various reasons, but a primary reason is the relinquishment of an infant by a single mother. For a Moroccan child to be eligible for adoption, the court will have determined the child abandoned and legally free for kafala. Children are cared for in orphanages before placement into adoptive families.
Religious Eligibility Requirement for Morocco
To be eligible to adopt from Morocco, families must be practicing Sunni Muslims who regularly attend mosque. Eligible families include married heterosexual couples (both spouses must be Sunni) and single women age 25 and older. See Adoption Requirements below for more information.
“Kafala” in Adoption
Kafala is the Arabic term for sponsorship or guardianship. In kafala, the court legally delegates parental authority, and the ‘adopting’ parents agree to support the child. Kafala preserves the child’s heritage and identity while allowing the adoptive parents to love and care for the child throughout his or her life. As part of kafala, the parents agree to raise the child as Sunni Muslim and maintain their first name given to the child in Morocco.
Because the court gives only kafala or guardianship of the child, the adoptive parents must finalize the adoption after arrival in the United States. Depending on individual state guidelines, the finalization can usually be completed within the first six months after returning to the U.S. New Beginnings provides adoptive parents with the necessary information to complete this step of the process. Once completed, the child will have automatic U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. However, families will need to file the N-600 with USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Information Services) to receive a Certificate of Citizenship.
Length of Time
The application and home study process are dependent on the prospective adoptive parents and the home study agency but usually can be completed within 4 months. Approval of the I-600A (the approval of the adoptive parents by USCIS) can take 1-3 months. During which time adoptive parents work with New Beginnings to complete the dossier (packet of documents sent to Morocco to facilitate the matching). From the dossier’s receipt in Morocco to the referral and travel, families wait 7-15 months. The timeline for the referral can be shorter for families of Moroccan Heritage or who speak Arabic. The process’s final steps happen in Morocco while the adoptive parent(s) are in the country. This can take 6-8 weeks.
The Child Referral
The child referral generally includes one or more photographs of the child, videos as available, name, gender, and date of birth. Also included are measurements and medical reports from the time the child has been in the care of the orphanage and 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 available birth family. The birth weight of the child and circumstances of the birth are not typically available via the referral.
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 further 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 and more sophisticated testing may not be available in Morocco.
Length of Time in Morocco
Most families will take one trip to Morocco for 6 to 8 weeks. One spouse can return after the court has granted kafala—this is typically at the 3-4 week mark. In Tangier, total time in the country is longer, but families can divide their stay into two trips. While in Morocco, the New Beginnings Program Facilitator guides you through the process, arranges the agenda required for kafala and the child’s visa.
Custody of the Child
Before kafala issuance, you can visit the child as scheduled with the orphanage. 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 accept 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.
- Age of Applicant: 25 – 49 years old; 49 years and older applicants must be open to a child over 3 years old
- Marital Status: Married couples and single women; should be no more than 12 years age difference between spouses
- Marital History: No more than one divorce in total for each spouse
- Age of child at placement: 5 months and older
- Family Composition: Preference for no children, cannot have more than two children
- Gender Preference: Both boys and girls; shorter wait times for families open to boys
- Religion: Practicing Sunni Muslim(s)
- Income: Financial security
- Parent Health: Excellent health without major medical concerns
- Parent Mental Health: Considered on a case-by-case basis; no severe conditions
- Education: Minimum of a High school diploma
- Prior Criminal History: Minor offense older than five years considered on a case-by-case basis; no drug offenses
Join us for a no-obligation, live webinar to learn about adopting from Morocco through New Beginnings Family & Children’s Services. The webinar will provide details about the Morocco adoption process–eligibility, timing…
Around the third week of April, New Beginnings put a call-out to our friends and families of Morocco highlighting the current needs of children in institutionalized care amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We requested families to donate as they were able, and the result was overwhelmingly generous.
Morocco has closed all travel indefinitely and is enforcing strict quarantine rules. The restrictions prevent staff from traveling to and from their homes. A few caregivers and support staff now live in the orphanage away from their own families.