THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA AT MUBENDE
ADOPTION CAUSE NO. 002 OF 2018
IN THE MATTER OF MHN, HHN AND AZN (CHILDREN)
IN THE MATTER OF A PETITION BY RACHEAL MBEKEKA BURROUGHS AND TODD STANTON BURROUGHS FOR THE ADOPTION OF MZN, HHN AND AZN (CHILDREN)
RULING BY: HON. JUSTICE DR. JOSEPH MURANGIRA
The above named petitioners and the three children are represented by Ms Rebecca Mugabi and Ms Ritah Nabirye, from Sseryazi, Mugabi & Co. Advocates UAP Insurance Building, Plot 1, Kimathi Avenue 3rd Floor, Suit No. 4, P.o. Box 12611, Kampala.
This petition is brought under Article 139 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, sections 14 and 33 of the Judicature Act, Cap. 13, sections 3, 4, 13 and 14 of the children (Amendment) Act 2016 and sections 45 and 46 of the children Act, Cap 59 and Rule 17 of the Children (Adoption of children) Rules, S.I. 59-1.
The petitioners; RMB and TSB are seeking to adopt the following children:-
MHN, aged 15 years a female Ugandan; HHN, aged 13 years, a female Ugandan; AZN, aged 12, a female Ugandan, and
The petitioners at the hearing of this petition presented to court their four (4) biological children:-
- RSB, aged 10 years.
- SKB, aged 8 years.
- NMB, aged 6 years; and
- JKB, aged 4 years.
The 1st petitioner is a Ugandan by birth, aged 42 years and married to the 2nd petitioner who is an American. Both petitioners are adult Americans. The 1st petitioner is aged 42 years, and the 2nd petitioner is aged 44 years. Each petitioner is above twenty one (21) years older than each of the said children, See section 45 (1) (a) of the Children Act Cap. 59 Laws of Uganda, for that proposition of the law.
The adoption proceedings.
Adoption is the creation of a parent child relationship by judicial order between two parties who are unrelated; the relation of parent and child created by law between persons who are not in fact parent and child. See 55 Bryan A. Garner, Blacks Law Dictionary, (9th edn. A Thomson Reuters Business, 2009)50.
Adoption notably creates a lifelong relationship of parenthood between a child and the adoptive. See the case of Ayat Joy –Vs- Jenevieve chenekan Obonyo and Another High Court Adoption case No. 52 of 2002 (unreported).
In these proceedings I interacted with the two petitioners, and I noted that they are determined to adopt the abovestated children. Moreso, the 1st petitioner is the maternal auntie of the three children. Further I read the 1st and 2nd petitioners’ affidavits in support of this petition. They have set out therein properly how they are ready to give the best love, care, education and all basics of livelihood and development to the said three children. They have annexed to this petition photographs showing the inside of their residence in America. Indeed they are capable and they have an amazing home. They have proved themselves as proper fit and serious persons, worth granting the orders being sought in this petition.
Issues for consideration in adoption proceedings.
It is settled law that in all matters to do with children, the welfare of the children is of paramount importance. See section 47 (5) of the children Act, Cap 59 laws of Uganda. The welfare principles are laid down in the first schedule of the children Act and they include the fact the time shall be of essence in children matters before a court of law or before any other person as delay is likely to be prejudicial to the welfare of the child.
In this instant petition, I interacted with each child to be adopted while in a free and peaceful environment. I found out that each child was eager to be adopted by the petitioners. I found out from the children that, the children and the petitioners have known one another for quite some time. That they are comfortable living with petitioners in America.
The children are sisters and nieces to the 1st petitioner. Their mother passed on. Their father is currently serving a sentence in prison. And that their father is facing other criminal charges. The children are living with their maternal grandparents, namely:- Topista Nakaweso and Mr. Masembe John Drammand. They were in court and they gave consent that, the children be adopted by the petitioners.
Mr. Bbale Godfrey who is currently in Murchson Bay Prison, Luzira in Kampala District in his affidavit in support of this petition sworn was on 12th June, 2018, wherein he confirmed that he is the biological father of the said three female children. In the same affidavit he gave unconditional consent to the petitioners to adopt the said three female children.
Again, Mr. Bbale Godfrey, on 12th June, 2018 signed a consent to an adoption order. The same is annexed to the petition, wherein he acknowledged that the adoption order will strip him of all his parental rights and obligations in respect of the said three female children and vest the same to the petitioners.
Morestill, to the said three children in court there was Mr. Kawalya Micheal, a maternal uncle. Anna Maria Nabatanzi, the representative of little Miracles International, the Head of a credited Agency in the United States of America was present in court. The probation officer, Mubende District, Miss Nagawa Marium, and the Private Investigator, Mr. Kitaka Frank, working with Citizens Investigation services were in court. Their respective reports in respect of the said three children were presented in court by their lawyers named hereinabove in this ruling. I perused the said reports and indeed they are supportive of this petition.
Furthermore, I have perused the entire petition, its supportive affidavits and the annexed documents thereto and in total consideration of the written submission by counsel presenting this petition, I am of the considered view that this is a proper and fit petition worth granting the orders being sought therein.
This petition has provided an opportunity to the said three children to get a permanent nurturing family, in the developed country, which can offer them love, happiness and the basic needs for their healthy development.
I note with concern, throughout the court proceedings the 2nd petitioner was full of smiles. He must be a loving, caring man to the 1st petitioner and the entire family. The 1st petitioner throughout the court proceedings appeared calm, steady and happy. Their four (4) biological children, named hereinabove in this ruling were attentive to the proceedings and they ‘too’ appeared happy. I had a brief interaction with the said children. I am sure that the said three children are placed in the right adoptive family of the Burroughs.
In closing and in total consideration of the affidavits evidence in support of this petition, the law applicable to adoption proceedings, the written submissions by counsel for the parties, and my own discussion and analysis of this petition hereinabove in this ruling, I find that this petition has merit.
This petition is accordingly allowed in the following orders; that:-
- The adoption order is issued to the petitioners
- The three children: MHN, HHN; and AZN, each is hereby declared the adopted child of RMB and TSB, the relationship of parent and child is hereby created with all rights and privileges incidental thereto, including the right of inheritance.
- The parental rights of all others with respect to these each child, not previously terminated are hereby terminated.
- The petitioners, RMB and TSB shall have exclusive care, custody and control of the said three children, free from the claims or hindrances of all others, and shall be held responsible for their maintenance, education and support, as emphasized in the welfare Principles of children.
- The names of the said three children, are each hereby changed to include the family name of Burroughs, the name desired by the adoptive parents.
- The Registrar of Births and Deaths is hereby directed to make an entry recording this adoption in the Adoption, Children Register and to issue each adopted child a Certificate reflecting the parental relationship established herein.
- It is further directed that this Adoption Order be furnished to the consular department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at Kampala.
- Costs of this petition shall be borne by the petitioners.
Dated at Mubende this 06th day of July, 2018.
DR. JOSEPH MURANGIRA