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The study “What informs the choice of adoption among prospective adoptive parents in Nairobi?” sought to find out the socio-cultural, economic and other factors that influence prospective adoptive parents’ decision to adopt a child in Nairobi. While international instruments and national legislation emphasize that adoption if for the best interest of the child which are paramount, this study chose to approach the subject from the angle of prospective adoptive parents (PAPs).Through adoption they not only offer a permanent alternative family and legal protection to a deserving child but also incorporate additional family members into their families.

 Data for the study came from identified prospective adoptive parents who were already in the process of adopting a child in Nairobi. These were sampled proportionately from the four adoption societies in Nairobi and were interviewed using a self administered structured questionnaire with both closed and open questions. To augment primary data, key duty bearers were interviewed and other stake holders were engaged in focus group discussions. Secondary data included relevant literature sourced from among others the secretariat of the adoption committee and Libraries.

In Chapter two, review of relevant Literature is presented. The chapter discusses the main concepts and trends of adoption decisions in Kenya as well as other parts of the world. Adoption procedures and structures are defined and discussed. The study, in addition covers certain particular theoretical orientations used in discussing the adoption debate. This study had its own scope and limitations.

 Chapter 3 covers the study methodology employed to gather both primary and secondary data. Given the complexity and dynamic nature of the subject of the study, quantitative data and qualitative data collection methods were utilized to create synergy.

Chapter four presents exciting study findings regarding characteristics of PAPs where 82 percent of field study respondents were found to be Kenyans and the remaining 18 per cent were drawn mainly from Europe. Among Kenyan PAPs, 42.7 percent were found to be from the Kikuyu ethnic community followed by the Kamba at 10.7 percent, the Luo were at 9.3 percent and the Luhya at 5.3 percent. The lowest representation was from Embu, Indian, Maasai and Meru at 1.3 percent each. These only represent a bit of demographic characteristics of the adoptive families. Main study findings were that majority, at 69 percent did not have children and were looking up to adoption to become parents. A significant 31 per cent of respondents were however already parents 36.1 percent of them through having biological children, 46.8 percent through previous adoption and 17.1 percent biologically and previous adoption.  This category had decided to expand their families through adoption. In addition, they were found to be mainly motivated by the desire to help a deserving child (philanthropy) at 86.7 percent.  Most respondents described the need to be parents as a self actualization one, thus equivalent to the highest in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and consistent with highly successful people. The study also found that although majority of respondents at 97.5 percent subscribed to a religious persuasion, they however did not ascribe their decision to adopt a child to their religious beliefs.

Finally chapter five gives recommendations based on the study findings. Generally, some of the findings reveal issues for legal consideration as well as issues requiring operational reviews and policy structuring in how Kenya’s adoption procedures and institutions are managed. For instance, in terms of the socio-cultural factors behind adoption choices, it is significant to note that many families prefer female children as opposed to male children. This requires state preparedness in dealing with legal reviews to allow more females to adopt male children. In the meantime policy interventions are required to deal with a predominantly male population of children growing up in CCI. Factors of land pressure and economic difficulties may explain this revelation; it is up to the government to develop suitable responses based on the statistics given. This is the last chapter in the work, and makes several other recommendations. The idea for further academic research into the issue is followed throughout the presentations of the findings as well as in this chapter.