Sierra Leone Adoption Notice: Implementation of the Required Six Month Fostering Period

Last Updated: March 12, 2019


On May 2, 2019, the Department received updated information from the Government of Sierra Leone regarding the six-month fostering and residency requirements. We will post an update on our website soon with the new information. For questions related to this notice, please email the Office of Children’s Issues at


The Government of Sierra Leone has confirmed that all prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) seeking to adopt from Sierra Leone must satisfy the six-month fostering and residency requirements imposed by the 1989 Adoption Act of Sierra Leone and 2007 Child Rights Act. In order to adopt a child from Sierra Leone, PAPs are required to reside in and foster the child in Sierra Leone for six consecutive months. The Office of the Attorney General has confirmed that courts cannot waive residency or fostering requirements in any case, and the fostering period cannot be satisfied by proxy (i.e. returning to the United States while someone else cares for the adoptive child in place the PAPs).    

Families who are in the process of adopting from Sierra Leone and relying on a proxy to satisfy the six-month fostering period, should consult their adoption service provider (ASP) immediately to determine how the prohibition on fostering by proxy will impact your case. 

PAPs, both those considering adopting a child from Sierra Leone as well as those families who are already in the process of adopting in Sierra Leone, should review the Sierra Leone information page on the Office of Children’s Issues’ website. 

Prospective adoptive parents seeking information about accredited ASPs with Sierra Leone adoption programs may wish to review The Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME)website, which has a search function.  Please send questions about this notice or any other intercountry adoption matters to the Office of Children’s Issues at