Amidst misconceptions over child adoption rights and discoveries of illegal homes dubbed baby factories in parts of Imo State, the Imo State Ministry of Women Affairs has given clarifications on steps to take-in adopting a child.
At a one-day open and free programme on child adoption procedure tagged “What you must know and do” in Owerri, the State’s Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Nma Onyechere, said that adoption is still on in Imo State.
The commissioner said that intending parents needing to adopt children must, however, pass through their ministry.
Mrs Onyechere warned parents who give out their children on adoption for any reason whatsoever and those who adopt without the permission of the ministry to desist as such act was illegal.
She said that child adoption was not done by proxy as it requires the interested parents to be present at the ministry.
According to her, the state will soon establish its own home for needy children.
The Commissioner appealed to security agencies to ensure that no baby is taken out of the state illegally.
She also charged parents to check their daughters’ whereabouts, especially during the holiday periods, to avoid their getting pregnant and seeking to patronize the so-called baby factories or motherless babies homes.
In her address, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Ngozi Izunobi, lamented that criminals have turned orphanages into baby factories where they camp teenage girls for the purpose of breeding babies for sale.
She said the aim of motherless babies’ homes, which is welfare, is then defeated as these babies are sold at high prices while their mothers are sent home with paltry sums of money.
Based on this, she said, the government had ordered the revalidation of such homes so as to licence only those who conform to international best practices.
She disclosed that eight of such homes have so far been re-certified.
In his lecture entitled, the process of Child Adoption, in Imo State, Barr. Vitalis Ekwem disclosed plans to establish a family court in the state to handle issues on adoption.
He averred that procedure must be followed strictly and where the standard is not met revoked and the child given out to another parent for re adoption.
According to him, couples wishing to adopt must be 25 years and above and 21 years older than the child and must have been resident in the state for not less than five years.
They will also be expected to treat the child like their biological child.