Malawi Adoption Program

Nightlight’s Malawi program began in 2018. Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, is defined by its topography of highlands split by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi. The lake’s southern end falls within Lake Malawi National Park – sheltering diverse wildlife from colorful fish to baboons – and its clear waters are popular for diving and boating.  Malawi is often referred to as the “Warm Heart” of Africa. The fees for an adoption from Malawi are reasonable, and we estimate that the process will take approximately 2 to 3 years from application to completion depending upon the type of child you are seeking to adopt.

Children in Malawi are rarely abandoned.  They are sent to an orphanage by extended family after a mother’s death, inability to feed or clothe, and for issues regarding poverty related to social problems and the parents’ illnesses.  Families traveling to Malawi to adopt their children will receive a full and final adoption decree from the Malawi courts.  Nightlight is committed to helping families prepare for the adoption of children from Malawi by providing educational information on possible developmental delays and health issues.

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To learn more about our Malawi Adoption Program, you may contact us, call our office (502) 423-5780, or directly email Lisa Whitaker, at

Malawi Adoption Program Details:

Malawi adoption is a wonderful program for families desiring to adopt children 3 years and older. Children living in poverty and raised in institutional care often have both developmental and emotional needs. There are also children available for adoption that have minor and correctable to moderate and severe special needs. Children who would otherwise have little hope for a future can have a better life with the emotional and physical security that a loving family can offer, along with the availability of excellent medical care in the United States.

Most loving, stable families qualify to adopt from Malawi. However, certain factors could keep you from adopting in general or from Malawi in particular, as each country has its own rules as to who can adopt. Malawi requires adoptive families to have a connection to the country of Malawi. This connection must be a continued connection and it is preferred that you have traveled to Malawi in the past. The orphanage requires that families must be Christian families who attend church regularly. Before applying, please consult with Nightlight regarding any sensitive issues that may apply to you, such as a divorce, a mental health issue, or a criminal history.

  1. Make application to Nightlight Christian
  2. Begin your adoption home study and submit form I-600A to US
  3. Begin to assemble your dossier. We will give you detailed
  4. Once USCIS has approved your adoption home study, you will receive your I-600A Approval Notice.
  5. Once your USCIS approval has been received, your dossier is complete. Dossier is sent to Malawi and the National Social Welfare will match you with a child.  You will receive a referral of a child in
  6. Complete official referral review with Nightlight’s Social Services Department
  7. Once you have accepted a match of a child, you can visit the child in Malawi to get to know the child. You will await a court date.  The time frame to be assigned a court date varies greatly.  Some families have waited as much as 12 months for a court date and some have waiting a shorter time.
  8. Once you receive a court date you will travel to Malawi 4 weeks before court and meet your child face-to-face.
  9. The court ruling will be issued anywhere from a few days to one week after your hearing.
  10. You will then obtain a new birth certificate for the child, apply for your child’s passport and file the I-600 with the US Embassy.
  11. You will take your child to a US Embassy approved doctor for a final health visit.
  12. The Embassy will conduct a thorough investigation before choosing to issue your child a Visa.
  13. You will return to the US Embassy for your final appointment, pick up your child’s visa, and bring your child home! This trip is expected to take approximately 6 weeks to 8 weeks; however, the US Embassy could take much longer to complete the investigation.

Your letter of intent to adopt will be sent to the representative in Malawi and to the National Social Welfare office in charge of International Adoptions. You will receive a referral of a child and documents will be obtained from the orphanage where the child resides. These documents will be sent to you for review. The referral will include a brief social history of the child, the current health and development of the child, and lab test results for HIV. We highly recommend that you have this information reviewed by a doctor who specializes in international adoption before you make a decision. You will have a referral review with the social services manager. Once you decide to accept a referral, and have returned the commitment form and letter of acceptance, you will be considered “matched” with the child. The attorney will prepare the petition and put together information on the child’s file and add this information to your dossier to file with the court. Once you receive a court date, you will travel to Malawi. After the court order is issued, you will file your I-600 with the US Embassy and take your child for their visa medical appointment. Once these things are approved, the US Embassy will invite you to a final visa appointment. You will then travel home with your child. The adoption trip should be approximately 6 weeks long. The US Embassy will investigate all I-600 applications and the investigation can take up to 6 months.

Nightlight Christian Adoptions is committed to preparing families for the adoption of a child with special needs. We provide pre- and post-adoption education and information regarding medical resources.

Please contact Lisa Whitaker at or call our office (502) 423-5780 with any questions.

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