The process of legally adopting a child who is of a different nationality than the prospective parents is known as an “intercountry adoption” of “overseas adoption.” According to the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), more than 762 applications to adopt Jamaican children were submitted between 2016 and 2020; 259 of these were overseas adoptions. Most of the overseas adoption came from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with most of the children involved ultimately adopted within their families. The rest are taken from state care.
Applicants from overseas should first get information from their home country’s immigration authorities concerning the specifics about adopting a child from Jamaica. In general terms, the child must be over six weeks and under 18 years of age, and applications must be received by the CPFSA at least eight months before the child turns 18.
To be eligible to adopt a Jamaican child, applicants must be 25 years old or older, while individuals related to the child must be over 18. Eligible individuals can be single females or single males, although certain conditions apply to men. Divorced individuals must submit the original decree absolute, and married couples are eligible as stated under The Children (Adoption Of) Act. A married individual may adopt a child without their spouse if it can be proven that the spouse agrees, the spouse cannot be found, the couple is separated with the likelihood that the separation will be permanent, the spouse is physically or otherwise incapable of giving their consent.
Currently, there is no cost associated with the processing of application forms, but there may be costs related to home studies, DNA tests, medical or police reports, among other items.
Potential adopters should contact a home study provider to make a report. A home study involves an assessment of the potential parents’ home and lifestyle. The home study is legally required for all international adoptions. Then those seeking the adoption must submit all the necessary documents. Original documents are required, including applicants’ and child’s birth certificates, applicants’ proof of income, passport-sized photos, one each, of the applicants and the child, and two letters of reference on behalf of the applicants. Children in state care must provide relevant documentation prepared by caseworkers. Failure to provide the documents at the time the application is submitted will result in a return of the application by registered mail.
Additionally, if the applicant is single, a letter of responsibility written by the individual who will be responsible for the child if the adoptive parent becomes incapable of doing so is required. Prescribed medical forms obtained by the CPFSA website must be included along with the medical report. These forms may not be amended or substituted. An application form should be completed and submitted with all other requested documents as well.
All the required documents should be mailed in a single envelope to the CPFSA corporate office. The entire adoption process typically takes 3 to 6 months, if there are no unforeseen circumstances. Once the child has moved overseas, the home service provider of the country in which the child lives will make periodic checks until the adoption process is finalized.
Child Protection and Family Services Agency
48 Duke Street
Telephone: 876-948-6678 or 876-948-2841-2
Email: [email protected]