The path of adoption in Ethiopia inevitably requires a thorough examination of the stipulations outlined in the country’s Revised Family Code. In this article, we will discuss into the details of adoptive filiation, exploring key principles, effects, and safeguards to ensure the best interests of the child and the adoptive family.

Adoptive Filiation: Building Legal Parent-Child Relationships

The cornerstone of adoption lies in the establishment of adoptive filiation through a formal agreement between a person and a child. According to the Revised Family Code, the adoptive child is, for all intents and purposes, deemed the legal child of the adopter.

Protective Measures: Saving Clauses and Family Bonds

Despite the legal bond created through adoption, the Revised Family Code includes saving clauses to protect the rights of ascendants or collaterals who expressly oppose the adoption. Additionally, the adopted child is encouraged to maintain bonds with their family of origin, a principle that extends to the spouse and descendants of the adopted child. In cases where a choice must be made between the family of adoption and the family of origin, the family of adoption takes precedence.

Age Requirements and Marital Considerations

The Revised Family Code outlines specific age requirements for adopters. Individuals must be at least twenty-five years old, and in the case of married couples, one spouse must meet this age criterion. The age of the adopted child is capped at eighteen years, ensuring that the child remains under guardianship during the adoption process.

Adoption Dynamics in Marriage and Unique Circumstances

Adopters who are married are generally required to jointly adopt a child. However, exceptions exist, such as when a person adopts their spouse’s child or if one spouse is unable to express their will. The code also recognizes the adoption of a child merely conceived, allowing for unilateral revocation by the mother within six months following the child’s birth.

Consideration of Existing Children and Adoption by Several Persons

The existence of other children in the adopter’s family is not considered an obstacle to adoption. Nevertheless, the court carefully evaluates the impact of existing children on the well-being and interests of the adopted child. Additionally, adoption by several persons is generally limited to spouses, with provisions for new adoptions in case of the adopter’s death.

Parties Involved and Parental Consent

The adoption agreement is a critical document made between the adopter and the guardian of the adopted child. Parental consent is a crucial element, requiring the approval of both the father and mother of the adopted child, or the remaining parent if one is deceased, absent, unknown, or incapable of giving consent.

Adoption from Orphanages and International Considerations

Government or private orphanages play a role in facilitating adoptions by providing necessary information about the child and adopter. The Revised Family Code also addresses international adoptions, imposing restrictions and evaluations when the adopter is a foreigner.

Court Approval and Ensuring the Child’s Best Interest

The finalization of adoption requires court approval, with a meticulous examination of various factors. These include the child’s opinion about the adoption, the guardian or tutor’s consent, the adopter’s capability to provide proper care, and, for foreign adopters, the ability to raise the child outside Ethiopia. Special attention is given to cases involving foreign adopters to ensure the child’s well-being.

Irrevocability of Adoption and Safeguarding the Child’s Future

Adoptions are generally considered irrevocable, emphasizing the permanence of the parent-child relationship. However, the Revised Family Code allows for revocation if the adopter fails to fulfill their responsibilities, instead treating the adopted child poorly or engaging in detrimental behavior.

Petition for Revoking Adoption: Upholding Child Well-Being

In cases where concerns arise about the well-being of the adopted child, a petition can be submitted to the court for revocation. The court carefully evaluates the grounds for revocation before summoning the adopter, ensuring that the process is fair and justified.

Prospective adoptive parents and those involved in the adoption process should carefully navigate these provisions to ensure a secure and lawful adoption journey.

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