In Mukarange Sector, we escorted Francois Minani to school to pick up his adopted 6-year-old son. The man and his wife adopted the boy back in 2015 after he was rescued from drowning in Lake Muhazi, but the process of formalising the adoption had hit a snag due to lengthy bureaucracies.
Similar experiences have also been expressed by other foster parents, locally known as “Malaika Murinzi”- loosely translated as ‘Guardian Angles’.
With local authorities reluctant to register children under the care of guardians, and not their biological parents, legal action is usually necessary, but not all foster parents can afford the time and resources to take their quest to court when local authorities hesitate to give them custody of such children.
Child Rights advocates say the gaps in the legal frame works need to be addressed.
"When a person decides to adopt a child, they should be facilitated in every way, but I do not believe a court fee of 10,000 Frw to get them registered should be a heavy burden. Regardless, we can look into ways of assisting those who need the help. Any foster parents that adopted children through our program can go to our officers for help because we have one posted in all districts, to help with the legal proceedings. Those having problems should come to us directly'', said James Nduwayo, Adoption Program Coordinator at the National Commission of Children.
The National Commission of Children's ‘Tubarerere mu Muryango’ or TMM Program was established back in 2013 to facilitate the adoption of orphans from orphanages and into foster homes.
The program now largely deals with finding homes for babies abandoned by young mothers who become pregnant and are unable to care for them.
By Serge Ntore.