Ouafae and Aziza, the foundation administrator, will guide you throughout the Kafala process. Aziza will attend the court, police and imam appointments with you and will represent you. This service is charged for. The steps below are not always in the same order as Aziza tries to ensure things are done as efficiently and accurately as possible. You will however, at all times, be advised of where you need to be and will be supported through each step. The detail below is therefore in place to give you a view of what to expect.
All guardianship cases usually start on a Monday with your first day at court being on Wednesday. You may find that several families are at the same stage as you and you are all attending court on the same day. Expect for the whole process to take around four to five weeks.
Both adoptive parents should try to stay for at least 2 to 2.5 weeks, with one remaining for the rest of the duration. If one parent leaves, you will need to sign a Power of Attorney (POA) towards the end of that parent’s stay. This can be notarised at Hotel De Ville or your facilitator may take you to a different location to do this.
The orphanage administrator, Aziza will represent you and guide you through the whole process. You can hire a facilitator to further assist you but it’s not necessary.
You will need to sign some documents to start the court process at the Annex. On the first Wednesday, the judge will look through your file and give permission to start the Kafala process.
At court, be prepared for long waits. The judge will see local cases first, so it could be hours before you are seen. Bring packed lunches and entertainment for your kids. Often after the judge sees you, you may need to wait again to receive the paperwork generated. You won’t actually spend much time with the judge and any questions asked are easy to answer.
During the first week the judge will ask you to see a social worker (the orphanage may arrange a translator if required or your facilitator can do this).
The social worker may ask you a selection of questions like these:
• Your basic details (heritage, country of birth, occupation, salary, home ownership, loans and look at your passport)
• You may be asked about your home, number of rooms, if you have a space set up for baby,
• How you plan to raise your child (education, long term care, emotional and financial support, exposure to his Islamic roots, how you might help him to adjust when you return home, maintaining links to Morocco etc.)
• If you have other children, she may (very discreetly) observe you for a minute with your child. Those of us that have been through this process have found that some were asked lots of questions. In my case, I didn’t get asked many at all.
It is clear that Morocco takes care to ensure that their children are cared for wherever their new home might be. Whilst some of these questions seem in-depth and seem to go over what you have done in the UK, they are quite sensitive and have made us feel comfortable rather than sounding too intrusive.
The judge may request that you have further medical checks. I believe this depends on how old your medicals are by the time the court process starts. You will also be taken to see an imam who will ask some basic questions to see if you are indeed Sunni Muslim. The imam is at the Islamic Ministry, which is a stunning building, although photography is not recommended out of respect.
Some of the questions the imam might ask are:
• That you believe in Allah and the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) as the final messenger
• What are the five pillars of Islam
• Recite a surah of your choice
• How do you perform wudhu
• Basic questions about salaat
• About the Prophet (pbuh) and the names of some of his family and companions
• For reverts, you may be asked about your thoughts on Eesa (as) and the trinity
The questions will all be easy to answer for any practising Muslim.
You will also be taken for a visit to the local police station and be asked basic questions like:
• your country of birth and residence
• education, occupation, salary
• whether you own or rent your home
• occasionally you are asked about your siblings
Again a translator/facilitator may be required for this. The police, imam and social worker will send a report to the judge, in time for the next Wednesday when you attend court again. Your Moroccan medicals are included, if it was required.
Once received by the judge, he will ask a few questions like if you intend to raise the child till adulthood and accept him into your family. He asks if you intend to teach your child about Islam and to ensure he has access to education, good living conditions etc. It’s lovely to see just how much Morocco cares for their orphans. All these processes are put in place to ensure the babies are placed in nurturing, caring families who recognise and celebrate their heritage.
All being satisfactory, the judge will grant you Kafala at this stage. You will need to sign some documents. Depending on the judge’s workload, the execution of the kafala order could take a few days or it would be immediate. It is this kafala execution that gives you custody of your baby.
It is usual on the third Wednesday for the judge to issue your baby with the permission to leave the country and allow for the passport to be issued. In some cases it can be done with the kafala execution. At this stage, it is also possible to speak to a court prosecutor who holds a file with all available details of your baby. Be prepared to ask any questions you have on your baby’s abandonment and any birth family information (if there is any). She will answer very quickly so write fast…time with her is limited. The file is then sealed and you are advised that your child can have access to this if he/she so wishes at the age of 18.
How do I get there?
The passport office is a curved fronted building upon one of the exits of this well-known large roundabout. Click here for a Google Map
The family court (Palais de Justice) is very near the passport office. Its on the Ave Mohammed V exit of the same roundabout
The police station (Préfecture de police) in Meknes is also based in Hamrya. This is a short walk from the MacDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Ibis Hotel. The translator we used is across the road from the Police Station. Click here for a Google Map