CHAPTER 54
ADOPTION ACT

Arrangement of Sections

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

PART II
MAKING OF ADOPTION ORDERS

   3.   Power to make adoption orders

   4.   Restrictions on making adoption orders

   5.   Consent to adoption

   6.   Evidence of consent of parent or guardian

   7.   Functions of court as to adoption orders

   8.   Interim orders

   9.   Adoption orders in respect of children previously adopted

   10.   Jurisdiction and procedure

PART III
REGISTRATION OF ADOPTION ORDERS

   11.   Adopted Children Register

   12.   Registrations of adoptions

   13.   Amendment of orders and rectification of Registers

PART IV
EFFECT OF ADOPTION ORDERS

   14.   Rights and duties of parents and capacity to marry

   15.   Intestacies, wills and settlements

   16.   Industrial insurance, etc.

   17.   Affiliation orders, etc.

PART V
ADOPTION SOCIETIES

   18.   Restriction on making arrangements for adoption

   19.   Registration of adoption societies

   20.   Procedure and right of appeal

   21.   Inspection of books, etc.

   22.   Arrangements by adoption societies for adoption

PART VI
SUPERVISION OF THE COMMISSIONER

   23.   Application of Part VI

   24.   Exemptions from Part VI

   25.   Duration of application of Part VI

   26.   Notification of taking possession of an infant

   27.   Notification of change of residence, etc.

   28.   Summary order for removal of infant

   29.   Removal of infant in respect of offences

PART VII
MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL

   30.   Prohibition of certain payments

   31.   Restriction upon advertisements

   32.   Restriction on sending infants abroad

   33.   License to send infant abroad for adoption

   34.   Service of notices

   35.   Offences by bodies corporate

   36.   Penalties

   37.   Regulations

   38.   Rules

      SCHEDULE

AN ACT

to provide for the making and registration of adoption orders; to provide for the registration and control of adoption societies; to regulate the making of arrangements by adoption societies and other persons in connection with the adoption of children; to provide for the supervision of adopted children by the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare in certain cases; to restrict the making and receipt of payments in connection with the adoption of children; and to provide for matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.

[1st August, 1956]

Act 5 of 1956,

Act 32 of 1958,

Act 13 of 1994,

Act 24 of 1997,

GN 276 of 1964,

GN 497 of 1964,

SI 53 of 1965.

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

This Act may be cited as the Adoption (Amendment ) Act, 1997, and shall be read as one with the Adoption Act, in this Act referred to as principal Act.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“abroad” means in any country outside Zambia;

“adoption order” has the meaning assigned to it by section 3;

“adoption society” means a body of persons whose functions consist of or include the making of arrangements for the adoption of children;

“body of persons” means any body of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated;

“Commissioner” means the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare appointed under the provisions of section 5 of the Juveniles Act;

“court” means a court having jurisdiction to make adoption orders under the provisions of section 10;

“custodian” means the person in whose care and possession an infant is or is to be placed in pursuance of any arrangements made under the provisions of this Act;

“father”, in relation to an illegitimate infant, means the natural father of such infant;

“foreign infant” means a person who is below the age of eighteen years and is not a citizen of Zambia, but shall not include a person who is or has been married.

[Ins by s 2 of Act 24 of 1997.]

“infant” means a person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years, but does not include a person who is or has been married;

“interim order” means an order made under the provisions of section 8;

“juveniles inspector” means a person appointed as such under the provisions of section 6 of the Juveniles Act;

“place of safety” has the same meaning as in the Juveniles Act;

“registered adoption society” means an adoption society registered under the provisions of Part V;

“Registrar-General” means the Registrar-General of Births and Deaths appointed under the provisions of section 3 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act;

“relative”, in relation to an infant, means a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, whether of the full blood, of the half-blood or by affinity, and includes—

      (a)   where an adoption order has been made in respect of the infant or any other person under the provisions of this Act, or of the repealed Act, any person who would be a relative of the infant within the meaning of this definition if the adopted person were the child of the adopter born in lawful wedlock;

      (b)   where the infant is illegitimate, the father of the infant and any person who would be a relative of the infant within the meaning of this definition if the infant were the legitimate child of his mother and father;

“the repealed Act” means the Adoption of Children Act, Chapter 136 of the 1948 Edition of the Laws;

“subordinate court” means a subordinate court of the first or second class as defined in the Subordinate Courts Act.

   (2) For the purposes of this Act, a person shall be deemed to make arrangements for the adoption of an infant if, not being a parent or guardian of the infant, he enters into or makes any agreement or arrangement for, or for facilitating, the adoption of the infant by any other person, whether the adoption is effected, or is intended to be effected, in pursuance of an adoption order or otherwise, or if he initiates or takes part in any negotiations of which the purpose or effect is the conclusion of any agreement or the making of any arrangement therefor, or if he causes another to do so.

PART II
MAKING OF ADOPTION ORDERS

3.   Power to make adoption orders

   (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the court may, upon an application made in the prescribed manner, make an order (in this Act referred to as an adoption order) authorising the applicant to adopt an infant.

   (2) An adoption order may be made on the application of two spouses authorising them jointly to adopt an infant.

   (3) An adoption order may be made authorising the adoption of an infant by the mother or father of the infant, either alone or jointly with her or his spouse.

4.   Restrictions on making adoption orders

   (1) An adoption order shall not be made in respect of an infant unless the applicant or, in the case of a joint application, one of the applicants—

      (a)   has attained the age of twenty-five years and is at least twenty-one years older than the infant; or

      (b)   has attained the age of twenty-one years and is a relative of the infant; or

      (c)   is the mother or father of the infant.

   (2) An adoption order shall not be made in respect of an infant who is a female in favour of a sole applicant who is a male, unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances which justify as an exceptional measure the making of an adoption order.

   (3) Except as provided by sub-section (2) of section 3, an adoption order shall not be made authorising more than one person to adopt an infant.

   (4) Subject to the provisions of section 5, an adoption order shall not be made—

      (a)   in any case except with the consent of every person or body of persons who is a parent or guardian of the infant or who is liable by virtue of any order or agreement to contribute to the maintenance of such infant;

      (b)   on the application of one of two spouses, except with the consent of the other spouse.

   (5) An adoption order shall not be made in respect of any infant unless—

      (a)   the applicant and the infant reside in Zambia; and

      (b)   the infant has been continuously in the care and possession of the applicant for at least three consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the order; and

      (c)   the applicant has, at least three months before the date of the order, notified the Commissioner of his intention to apply for an adoption order in respect of the infant.

   (6) Notwithstanding sub-section (5) an adoption order shall not made in respect of a foreign infant—

      (a)   unless the infant resides in Zambia and the applicant is ordinarily resident in Zambia;

      (b)   unless the foreign infant has been continuously in the care and possession of the applicant for at least twelve consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the order;

      (c)   unless the applicant has at least three months before the period referred to in paragraph (b) notified the Commissioner of his intention to apply for an adoption order in respect of the foreign infant; and

      (d)   if the foreign infant is in Zambia under a temporary or visiting permit issued under the Immigration and Deportation Act.

[S 4(6) ins by s 3 of Act 24 of 1997.]

   (7) Sub-sections (1), (2), (3) and (4) shall apply with the necessary modifications to a foreign infant adopted under sub-section (6).

[S 4(7) ins by s 3 of Act 24 of 1997.]

5.   Consent to adoption

   (1) The court may dispense with any consent required by paragraph (a) of sub-section (4) of section 4 if it is satisfied—

      (a)   in the case of a parent or guardian of the infant, that he has abandoned, neglected or persistently ill-treated the infant;

      (b)   in the case of a person liable by virtue of an order or agreement to contribute to the maintenance of the infant, that he has persistently neglected or refused so to contribute;

      (c)   in any case, that the person whose consent is required cannot be found or is incapable of giving his consent or that his consent is unreasonably withheld.

   (2) The court may dispense with the consent of the spouse of an applicant for an adoption order if satisfied that the person whose consent is to be dispensed with cannot be found or is incapable of giving his consent or that the spouses are separated and are living apart and that the separation is likely to be permanent.

   (3) The consent of any person to the making of an adoption order in pursuance of an application may be given, either unconditionally or subject to conditions with respect to the religious persuasion in which the infant is to be brought up, without knowing the identity of the applicant for the order, and where consent so given by any person is subsequently withdrawn on the ground only that he does not know the identity of the applicant, his consent shall be deemed for the purposes of this section to be unreasonably withheld.

   (4) While an application for an adoption order in respect of an infant is pending in any court, any parent or guardian of the infant who has signified his consent to the making of an adoption order in pursuance of the application shall not be entitled, except with the leave of the court, to remove the infant from the care and possession of the applicant, and in considering whether to grant or refuse such leave the court shall have regard to the welfare of the infant.

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