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 lifelong practicing Sunni Muslims who regularly attend mosque. Eligible families include married couples and single women age 25 and older. See Eligibility 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 their lives. 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 grants 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 done within the first six months after returning to the US. New Beginnings or the family’s home study agency provides adoptive parents with the necessary information to complete the adoption’s finalization. Once completed, the child will have automatic US 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 (permission by USCIS for the adoptive parents to immigrate a child) 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 11-15 months. The timeline for the referral might 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 typically takes 6-8 weeks.
The Child Referral
The child referral is the information the adoptive family initially learns about the child matched with them. It generally includes one or more photographs of the child and videos, as available, name, gender, and birth date. Also included are measurements and medical reports from the time the child has been in the orphanage’s care and a current developmental milestone assessment report. The original Arabic and translated versions of the abandonment certificate and birth certificate are also included and can provide minimal identifying information about the birth family. The birth weight of the child and circumstances of the birth are not typically available in 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’ In-Country Coordinator guides you through the process and arranges the schedule required for kafala and the child’s visa.
Custody of the Child
- Age of Applicant: 25 – 49 years old; applicants 49 years and older 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 is given to families who have no children. Maximum number of children in the home is one. Exceptions can be made for families of Moroccan and Arab heritage.
- Gender Preference: allowed, but shorter wait times for families open to boys
- Religion: Lifelong practicing Sunni Muslim(s)
- Heritage: shorter wait times may be possible for adoptive parents of Moroccan or Arab descent
- 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
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