Law firms involved in taking Kenyan children abroad despite ban of inter-country adoptions (Muriungi & Co Advocates)

In today’s focus we reveal in the first part of a series where we shall review applications that were filed for inter-country adoption of Kenyan children after the cabinet had issued a moratorium suspending placement of Kenyan children with foreigners.

Kurunzi will name the children placed for adoption by foreigners, the adoption societies involved, the social workers involved and the law firms handling the matters on behalf of the applicants. We will also name the parents or individuals placed with Kenyan children after the moratorium.

It is important to note that, while this series focuses on what maybe a child trafficking network in Kenya, some of the adoptive foreign families could just be victims of a clever syndicate that lures them into believing the process is being done legally.

For the legal firms that would be mentioned, some of them may not be part of the network and may just be offering legal representation on an area they are competent in the practice of law.

In this article, we focus on children adoption cases that had Muriungi and Company Advocates appearing for the applicants.

Cause number 153 of 2015

Filed in courton 15 June 2015 and first heard in court 11 days later, this matter involved Baby Mary Olive (allegedly abandoned while she was two years old), who was freed for adoption on 29 January 2015.

A Danish couple – Jeppe Osterskor Ekstrom and Annika Matilda Broberg Ekstrom – sought to adopt the child through Kenya Christian Home adoption society. The story had been that she was abandoned in a Naivasha-bound matatu from Kinamba and her family could not be traced after six months and six days from the day she was found.

Reportedly, the child’s mother left her in the matatu and went to get money for fare never to return. The driver then reported the matter at Naivasha Police Station.

Baby Mary was taken to Naivasha Safe House and later transferred to Limuru Rescue Center, before being committed to Limuru Children’s Center “vide C/P Order No. 2/2015 on 14/01/2015”. The final police letter was obtained on 22 January 2015.

During the court process, the child had been placed under the care ofSabina Mueni Mutuku, who works with young people and has interest in children.

Contrary to assertions that the child’s family had been difficult to trace, the parent and the relatives of this child were successfully traced upon the intervention of the expert committee appointed by the Cabinet Secretary.

They maintain that the separation had not been deliberate and as such they would never wish to have the child adopted – their desire was to be reunited, which has already been done and psychosocial support offered immediately.

Cause Number 101 of 2015

In this case, Baby Sammy Wema (Infant), allegedly abandoned at Mama Lucy Hospital soon after birth, was due to be adopted by the Swedish couple of Marcus Hager and Anna Maria Hager through Little Angels Network.

The child had been placed with New Life Children’s Home leading to the application for adoption being made and coming up for hearing on 24 April 2015.

The court appointed Esther Mutheu Keli, a social worker by profession, to take care of the child pending the conclusion of the matter

Baby Sammy was born to Margaret Wanjeri at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital on 17/11/2012 and later abandoned at the hospital, developing medical complications that led to his transfer to Kenyatta National Hospital.

He was later referred to New Life Trust Home for care and protection and his abandonment reported at Kenyatta Police Post vide Ob. No. 18/17/01/2013.  The child was committed to the home vide P/C Order No. 162/2013 on 21/06/2013.

The children’s officer’s letter dated 4 February 2013 indicted that efforts to trace the child’s relatives proved futile because the person believed to be child’s grandmother turned out to be different.

Commonly-held belief

What raises questions than answers is the fact the person confirmed knowing the grandmother of the child and even gave information that the baby’s mother died.

“It may be true that they contacted that person but if indeed they said they even knew the mother had died, the adoption society should have then followed up with her to link them with the family,” observes a source privy to the goings-on in the children adoption sector.

“They may have felt lucky that the mother of the child had died and therefore it would be straight forward to traffic the child.”

The final police letter, dated 18/07/2013, committing the child for adoption, came exactly six months and a day after the child was abandoned, which confirms the commonly-held belief that children are kept at the homes just to attain the legal period of six months before they can be placed for adoption.

Upon intervention of the expert committee, which recommended that efforts to retrace the family of the child be made, “the maternal grandmother to the child who is willing to be reunited with her grandson” was found and confirmed that indeed the mother had died “but the maternal grandmother and the extended family is willing to bring up the child”.

Successful reunification has since been done and psychosocial support offered to integrate the child to his real family, which had not consented to the adoption.

In the next part, Kurunzi will reveal more cases handled by this law firm and everyone involved in the matters involving foreign adoptions after the Cabinet Moratorium.


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