By GAKUU MATHENGE
Updated Sunday, August 16th 2015
The High Court has stopped two Swedish couples and a Danish couple from taking three Kenyan children out of the country. This was after it was discovered that the minors were not abandoned orphans but had families.
Consequently, the court ordered the adoption proceedings stopped until an application filed by their birth families determined. Issuing the order on Friday, vacation judge Lady Justice Lydia Achode directed that the minors be placed under the care of the director of Children Services.
Three foreign couples have been living with the children in Nairobi for months now pending completion of the court processes to allow them take the children out of the country. However, it was revealed that the families of the children had been searching for their missing minors, only to discover they had been declared abandoned orphans and offered for adoption to the foreigners by local adoption agencies.
The court orders followed an application by the counsel for the families, Mr Seth Ojienda, filed under a certificate of urgency on August 11. See also: ‘State has no money to effect teachers’ pay hike’ Achode ordered immediate removal of the children from the custody of the foreigners under supervision of the Director of Children Services, and OCS at Kilimani Police Station ordered to provide security. “Upon reading the application dated August 11, 2015, and presented to this court on August 13, 2015…the application is hereby certified urgent under Vacation Rules…It is ordered the child be removed from the custody of the respondent forthwith and such removal be supervised by the director of children services…” one of the orders, dated August 14,2015, said in part.
Achode ordered the adoption court processes halted, and the parties to appear before Justice Joash Ougo on August 24, for further directions. One of the minors was born at a city hospital in November 2012. However, the mother developed complications and later died. The case of an abandoned child was reported at a local police station and the child placed at a local charitable home. An adoption agency later declared the child abandoned and placed him with a Swedish couple on January 15, pending court proceedings to allow the couple adopt the child formally. But before the process was completed, the search for the child by his grandmother led to the adoption proceedings in court.
She informed the court that the family had been searching for the minor, and that they had not been consulted neither had they granted consent for their child to be adopted as required by the law. The family, through Ojienda, prayed the court to stop the adoption process and order the child returned to them.
The second child was born in 2013, but who is reported to have gone missing while in the father’s custody from their Kibera Line Saba home in mid last year. It is reported a Good Samaritan took the child to a local police station that later referred the minor to a local charitable institution. However, on November 26 2014, the institution declared the child an abandoned orphan and free for adoption, upon which the child was placed with a Swedish couple on February 19. The child has lived with the couple ever since until the family came forth to claim him last week.
The third child, a four-year-old girl, is reported to have gone missing while travelling with her mother in Naivasha mid last year. See also: ‘State has no money to effect teachers’ pay hike’ Reports indicate a matatu crew reported the matter to the police and left the child in police custody. The police later placed the child with a local charitable home in Kiambu County, where the child was declared an abandoned orphan free for adoption in January and in March, placed her with a Danish couple pending completion of court proceedings to allow them take the child out of the country.
In an all the three cases, the lawyer for the families claims the adoption agencies, the charitable homes and the police neglected to investigate and trace the families before offering them for adoption in violation of the law. Sections Sections 158 and 159 of he Children Act No 8 of 2001 requires written consent from parents or guardians of the minors before offering them for consent. Achode ordered all the cases be presented before Ougo on August 24.