Country Updates: Ghana



Ghana is OPEN to intercountry adoptions.



Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence from British control. Despite a series of military coups since its independence in 1957, compared to the other western African nations, Ghana’s fighting problems contribute less to the orphan population than poverty and disease. There is significant geographic disparity in that the northern regions are home to a disproportionate number of some of the country’s severely impoverished families.


In 2007, UNICEF estimated that there are over one million Ghanian orphans. Over one hundred orphanages are currently open in Ghana, however, only a small handful are licensed with the Department of Social Welfare. In 2007, Ghana launched the Care Reform Initiative to encourage support within communities and to restrict the opening of new orphanages.


Children available for adoption largely live in orphanages or in foster care before they are placed with a family. Most of these children are 2 years or older. Adoption in Ghana falls under the purview of the Department of Social Welfare and is governed by a national law entitled the Children’s Act of 1998. Under this law, unless the requirement is waived by the Minster responsible for Social Welfare, adoptive parents must care for and reside with a child in Ghana for three months before they may adopt that child.


Vulnerable children in Ghana are at risk of child trafficking, abuse and exploitation, which the government continues to work to address. Ghana became the first country to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in February 1990. The country is not yet a member of the Hague Convention. However, in February 2010, government officials from 15 African countries, including Ghana, convened to address these concerns and discuss how the Hague Convention and other international treaties can be implemented to offer protection to migrating children and intercountry adoptees that will cross country borders.


Between 2007 and 2008, the number of intercountry adoptions from Ghana to the United States more than doubled and reached one hundred seventeen adoptees in 2010. A Ghanaian adoption takes about a year but may require an additional one to six months for United States immigration and visa processes. The U.S. Embassy in Ghana has added an additional investigation requirement for visa processing to ensure that only true orphans are selected for adoption. Such investigation may take several months to complete. The approximate cost of adoption from Ghana ranges from $20,000 to $25,000.





October 15, 2013 Alert: Guidance on Processing of Emergency Adoption Cases during Ghana's Suspension

May 20, 2013 Alert: All Adoption Cases with the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare are Subject to Suspension

April 7, 2010 - Notice: Change in Processing Timeline for Adoption Cases in Ghana



All of the information listed below is from the following source:
Ghana Web Page, U.S. Department of State, Office of Children's Issues

Number of Adoptions to the U.S.

Fiscal Year Number
FY 2013 170
FY 2012 171
FY 2011 100
FY 2010 117
FY 2009 103
FY 2008 97
FY 2007 38
FY 2006 27
FY 2005 22
FY 2004 13

Hague Country: No

Adoption Authority: The Department of Social Welfare, Client Services Unit



In addition to the U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Ghana also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:


Residency Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents must be resident in Ghana a minimum of three months prior to adopting a child. The prospective adoptive parents may request a waiver of the residency requirement through the court. The courts will approve a waiver of the residency requirement with the recommendation of the Ministry of Social Welfare if it is in the best interest of the child.

Age Requirements: Applicants must be at least 25 years of age and at least 21 years older than the child.

Marriage Requirements: An application for adoption may be made jointly by a husband and wife. Application for adoption may be made by a single person, but only if that person is a citizen of Ghana. Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children in Ghana, nor are single males unless the child to be adopted is their biological child.

Income Requirements: Applicants must be gainfully employed.

Other Requirements: Applicants must be of sound mind and must undergo a medical exam as part of the pre-approval process.