What To Know Before You Adopt a Syrian Refugee Child

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Based on statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently 68.5 million people worldwide who were forcibly displaced due to war and persecution. Among these displaced people, 25.4 million are refugees, with over half being minors. This current phenomenon has prompted many to want to open their homes to refugees, including ones from Syria.

Most people who witness the struggle and suffering of children who fled their country only to live in refugee camps are curious about adopting a Syrian refugee child. Understandably, there is a genuine desire to provide the physical, emotional, and psychological support and nurture these children need. 

However, for those who want to adopt Syrian orphans, the process can be pretty complex.

What Rules and Regulations Are at Play?

The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure that children worldwide receive basic human rights. Implementing this regulation is essential for refugee children whose rights have been violated and need to be restored. 

The 1993 Hague Convention also states that every child needs to have a chance to grow or be raised in a safe family environment. The best scenario for the child would be to be reunited with their original family. If that isn’t possible, then the child should be taken to their place of origin or within a community from their country. If all these attempts prove to be futile, intercountry adoption can be considered.

For those who want to know how to adopt a Syrian refugee child, you must wait for confirmation that the child is an orphan. After all, the adoption process must proceed as ethically and legally as possible. However, it can be challenging to adopt Syrian orphans because of the complexity of proving their status as orphans.

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When Is a Child Considered an Orphan?

Since refugees are born out of a crisis, it is common for families to split up and children to arrive in the asylum country without a guardian. As such, being an unaccompanied Syrian child in a refugee camp doesn’t immediately indicate that they’re an orphan.

According to the policy developed by the UNHCR, in an emergency context, refugee children cannot be put up for adoption. Since these children have been uprooted from their birth country, they are in a highly vulnerable state. This means authorities need to extensively search for their families before other care arrangements are considered. The UNHCR states that at least two years must be spent finding a child’s parent or relative.

If the child has no existing family member, the next step is to find a caregiver from the child’s country of origin. However, since the child in question is a refugee, a clause from the Hague Convention becomes challenging to follow. After all, they cannot send a refugee child back to a setting ridden with violence and war. The next best step is to find another refugee family who can take care of the child.

It is in the child’s best interest to be raised by a family from their community. But if intercountry adoption becomes the best option for the child, the UNHCR must be invited to partake in the adoption process. Doing so will guarantee that the potential parents thoroughly understand the extent of the challenges that the child has experienced.


Refugee children have gone through a lot of trauma and should have their basic human rights restored. As such, the process of adopting them might not be as simple as regular adoption. But all of these precautionary measures are always done for the best interest of the child.

At the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations-USA (UOSSM USA), we allow others to know how to help Syrian refugees in their own way. Our non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable, independent, non-government, medical humanitarian organization can be your partner in your journey to helping refugees and other victims of war. Contact us today.

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