Dear Mrs Macaulay,
I am an attorney here in the United States and I would like to adopt my seven-year-old niece who lives in Jamaica. She currently lives with her maternal grandmother, which was the arrangement after her mother died almost two years ago. My brother primarily provides the support she needs, and I too have been providing support for the past year or so. I’ve grown quite attached to her and would love to adopt her so that I can bring her to the States to live with me. I have the blessing of my brother and her grandmother. Please advise me on what steps I should take to do this as expeditiously as possible.
I have noted from your letter that you wish to adopt your seven-year-old niece whose mother died about two years ago. You state that she lives with her maternal grandmother and that your brother primarily provides support for her and that you have also been providing some support for the past year. You also state that having grown attached to her you wish to adopt her and take her to the USA to reside with you. You also state that her grandmother and your brother agree with your plan. You have not specifically said so, but I conclude that your brother is the father of the child.
You have already dealt with two potential obstacles which could delay any adoption process. These are, first, that you have identified the child you wish to adopt, and second, that her only surviving parent would be happy for you to do so. You have his consent and that of her maternal grandmother who has de facto custody and care and control of her.
What then should you do to expedite the adoption process? You must continue to spend as much time as you can with the child, and also take over the provision of her support. Your brother can, if he wishes, use what he provides for her support to commence one of those investment insurance policies for children to mature on her 18th or any other birthday he might choose.
Then you or your brother can go to the Child Development Agency and collect the form with notes of advice and explanations for adoption from them, so that you can complete it and start the ball rolling. You must submit all the information that they require of you.
First and foremost, you must have at hand a certified copy of your niece’s birth certificate and a certified copy of her mother’s death certificate. The latter is necessary as her death must be proved.
The officer handling your application will, when it is necessary, contact your brother and directly ascertain his position about your desire to adopt his daughter and obtain his consent. The process will then proceed from one step to the next. You must do as you are directed and comply as quickly as you can.
As you reside abroad, your application will have to proceed by licence. You will be assisted with what you have to do for each step of the process, and also when you have to do what is required. It will be up to you how quickly you meet their requests. This is what will determine how expeditiously your application moves to completion. I hope I have assisted you, and I wish you success with your application.
Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women’s and children’s rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.