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Legalized kinship adoption to accelerate children protection programmes

Childless couples in Gusiiland will now have an opportunity to have children of their own courtesy of a simplified and legalized kinship adoption procedure after President Kenyatta signed the Children’s Bill 2021 into law.

Nyamira South Sub County children officer, Billy Adera told KNA that the childless couples in the region have for long been grappling with illegal ‘traditional adoption’ where they could adamantly refuse to reveal how and where they sourced their adopted children for fear of legal repercussions.

“Childless couples in the larger Gusii region are highly stereotyped and labelled as bearing the brunt of curses within their family or even their own. Such couples therefore do all they can to ‘traditionally adopt’ children and call them so they are not treated as outcasts in their communities,” explained Adera.

“The ‘traditional adoption’ is illegal and therefore done secretly by the family and the community members have approved of it and never bother to know and can never reveal the true biological parents of ‘traditionally adopted’ children.”

He observed that the ‘traditionally adopted’ boys are especially endangered when they grow into adulthood and want some inheritance from their ‘parents’ only to be told off with an explanation that they are not eligible to inherit anything for they are not biological children of those they have for years known to be their parents.

This situation leaves such children stranded and psychologically traumatized for it dawns too late on them that they were after all adopted.

He highlighted that after President Uhuru signed the Children’s Bill 2021 into law this month, childless couples will now have an opportunity to adopt children of their own including those of their close relatives courtesy of an affordable and quick adoption procedure called kinship adoption.

“Kinship adoption is welcome by many who wished to legally adopt children sourced from deceased relatives but could not due to lack of guiding laws and procedures, further the law recognizes child-headed households where orphans will now have a right to live and manage their home affairs and to inherit deceased parent’s property and land under supervision of other family members,” the children’s officer explained.

The Children’s Bill 2021 signed by the President into law will give officers more room for relevant stakeholders to operationalize various children’s rights and opportunities and has further given a go ahead  planning children related programmes which will enable them be empowered so long as they belong within the children’s age bracket.

By Deborah Bochere

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