Adoption is the taking of a child of a known or unknown parentage, but known for sure not to be that of the adopter as his or her own child. Adoption takes different forms and may be done under Statutory or Customary laws. What is the procedure involved in adoption? Who may be adopted? What are the legal effects of adoption? Does Islamic Law make provisions for adoption? This paper seeks to provide answers to the above questions. It takes a look at the current legal regime relating to adoption in Nigeria. Where necessary, suggestions for improvement are made.

1.1 Background of study
Child care in this part of the world is different from what obtains in some other parts of the world because it is seen more as a communal responsibility than that of the nuclear family. In the old days it was the extended family system that took care of the child and ensured that he was never deprived nor ever in a state of want. Despite this fact, the nuclear family remains a very important factor in the life of every child. It is mostly from this immediate family that a child enjoys some security and most importantly some warm parental care and affection, which are elements every child needs in order to develop properly. When these elements are lacking, the child is deprived. Often times it is this deprived child that is in need of fostering or adoption or other forms of institutional care.

These days, family ties are waning due to globalization, economic instability, poverty and limited resources, among others. The prevailing poverty has made it difficult to sustain the communal spirit of the extended family members. The resultant effect is that the number of juveniles in need of adoption keeps rising at skyrocketing rates.

As adoption is the most and widely accepted practice among the world society. Its definition & given by different legal scholars but they have similar idea on the Concept of adoption.

Adoption is a procedure by which people legally assume the role of parents in respect of a person who is not their biological child. It is a legal process pursuant to State statute in which a child's legal rights and duties towards its natural parents are terminated and similar rights and duties towards his adoptive parents are substituted. It is also an order vesting the parental rights and duties relating to a child in the adopters, made on their application by an authorized court.

Adoption is the assumption of full legal and parental responsibility for a child. It is a commitment for life. Adoption, which is the taking of a child of a known or unknown parentage, but known for sure not to be his or hers, as his or her own child, differs from acknowledgment by a parent of a child, of hitherto unknown parentage, as his or hers.

Adoption is not the right option for all children. In some cases, some children who cannot live with their birth families need a secure, loving home throughout childhood and beyond without the necessity of the legal link to their birth family being severed. In these cases, the solution may be permanent fostering or special guardianship. Under the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adoption is recognized as one of the forms of alternative care for children who have been temporarily or permanently deprived of their family environment, and also for children who are unable to remain in their family environment. (Note 1)

The factors that necessitate the adoption of a child range from the mere fact of being childless to the desire to replace a dead child, to acquire a companion for an only child, to stabilize a marriage, to legitimate an illegitimate child, to sustain a particular line of descent, to rescue a child who is in an irreversible situation of abandonment or to relieve parents who are unable to take care of their child. (Note 2) Many people adopt simply to give a home and family to children who might not otherwise have them.

Adoption is important in society because it touches on status and therefore affects the rights and obligation of an adopted person. In most legal systems of the world, adoption is a statutory creation. Thus, for example, it was unknown to the English Common Law. Likewise, the practice is not recognized under Islamic law. Adoption is a common practice throughout the world and throughout history. However, the laws regulating it vary from country to country.

In Nigeria, adoption may be effected either under statutory law or customary law. But the rules regulating it differ from State to State. It is one of the most life-transforming experiences that can happen to a child and their adoptive parents. The government office responsible for adoption in Nigeria is the civil court. (Note 3)

Adoption procedures may be open or closed. A closed adoption is one in which the natural and adoptive families have no knowledge of or contact with the adoptive family. An open adoption, on the other hand, is an adoption in which the birth family and the adoptive family have direct contact with each other. In most cases, the adopted child will also have contact with his birth family. This type of adoption enables the birth family to see the child as he grows. It also provides the adoptive family the opportunity to find out about any medical conditions and other information about the birth family. However, an open adoption also has disadvantages that must be taken into consideration. (Note 4)

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