Francisca Serwaa Boateng, Esq.
FSB Law Consult, Ghana
The family is the basic unit of every society, and children form an important part of the family. Most people may have their own biological children, but it is also common to see people nurture and develop other children as their own through the process of adoption. Couples or individuals have different reasons for adopting children who may or may not be related to them, such as an inability to have their own children or a desire to help a specific child, for example. Adoption is simply the process by which a person may by law become the child of another person or persons who may not be their biological parent. The person adopting a child may be a complete stranger or a relative of that child. Under the laws of Ghana, only a child under the age of 18 years may be adopted. The adopted child has all the social, cultural, emotional, and legal benefits of biological children. People decide to adopt children for various reasons. These may include the following: i. To increase the number of one’s own children; ii. To give an orphaned child a parent/parents; iii. To help individuals and/or couples who would otherwise be unable to have children biologically; iv. To assist individuals to integrate and take care of their young relatives as part of their immediate family; and v. For altruistic purposes. Adoption could be done according to the customary law of the persons adopting the child or under the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) and the Adoption Rules, 2003 (C.I 42). Adoption under customary law is done at the family or community level according to the customs and traditions of the applicants. The courts are not involved in that process. However, adoption under the Children’s Act i