By A Correspondent- A self-confessed thigh vendor from Hauna Growth Point in Zimbabwe has been inundated with offers to adopt her four-month-old triplets since her story was published last week. Melody Muponda, a 30-year-old single mother and sex worker, says that despite her financial struggles, she will not give up her children for adoption.
The Manica Post reports that Muponda, who offered her services in Manicaland and neighbouring Mozambique before falling pregnant, admits that she is currently back to sex work to provide for her three children. However, she says that she is not giving up her children for adoption and only requires assistance to look after them.
“Many people have called me offering to adopt the children and they keep calling even after I turn them down. I am now afraid that someone might take my children away because those who want to adopt them seem relentless,” Muponda told The Manica Post.
“What I need is help in looking after my children. The fact that I am now back into sex work should be evidence enough that I love them, and I am desperate to provide for my bundles of joy. I will not part ways with them. I will never give them up.”
Legal practitioner, Advocate Pamela Musimwa said according to Zimbabwean law, no one is allowed to take a child from their parent if they have not consented to adoption. “The adoption process is simple. You just go to the Department of Social Welfare and make your application. The authorities themselves will connect you to the child when he or she is available, you do not do this on your own,” said Advocate Musimwa.
She further stated that failure of a parent to provide for their child does not render them incapable of looking after that child. “Had it been the case, all our children would have been taken away from us and put up for adoption. It is up to the parent to give up their child.”
Adoption Process in Zimbabwe
The Children’s Act (Chapter 5:06) outlines the adoption process in Zimbabwe. The first step is making an application to the Children’s Court at any local Magistrate’s Court. The court will then refer the application to the district or provincial Social Welfare offices.
A probation officer will then be appointed, and vetting begins. Prospective parents will be vetted and put on the waiting list before a court hearing is held. After that, the adopted child will be entitled to all the rights a biological child has and bear the surname of the adoptive parents.
Advocate Musimwa said the process should lead prospective adoptive parents into obtaining an adoption order.
Keeping Biological Family Intact
Advocate Musimwa encouraged Zimbabweans to support parents in need rather than seeking to adopt their children. She said that “In fact, in some instances, the court or Social Welfare may decline to process an adoption for a child, the reason being if you really want to assist a child in need, you can do so when the child is still with their parents.”
She added, “It is important to keep biological families intact as it is in the best interests of the child. If you want to help, offer assistance that keeps families together.”