Sourced from: http://www.adoption.org.za and https://www.westerncape.gov.za/service/adopting-child
1. A DEFINITION OF ADOPTION
Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the child’s birth/biological mother or father. A legal adoption order has the effect of terminating the parental rights of the birth mother and father, while transferring (i.e. ‘handing over to’) the parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents. The adopted child must, for all intents and purposes, be regarded as the child of the adoptive parent/s.
2. THE ADOPTION PROCESS
In South Africa, the only way in which you can legally adopt a child is by working through an accredited adoption agency, or with the assistance of an adoption social worker functioning within the statutory accredited adoption system.
When working through an adoption agency, the process usually starts with the prospective adoptive parents submitting an application to the agency. Each agency has its own set of requirements – it’s a good idea to phone the particular agency to get their set of criteria before you actually apply in writing. Getting your application right from the start can save a lot of time later.
All prospective adoptive parents are required to undergo a screening and preparation process. Adoption agencies are often criticized for ‘all the red tape’ or ‘making applicants jump through too many hoops’. But if one considers that in most cases the social worker is completely responsible for making a decision about a child’s future, the involved process becomes a necessity to ensure that the right parent(s) is/are chosen for every child – the parent(s) that will provide the specific child in question with the best possible home and family.
The screening process normally involves orientation meetings, interviews with a social worker, full medicals, marriage and psychological assessments, home visits, police clearance and references.
The screening process basically allows social workers to get to know prospective adopters as a family, their motivation to adopt and their ability to offer a child a warm, loving and stable home.
Once the screening process is complete, applicants are placed on a waiting list for a child. Applicants have their own ideas and wishes about the child they wish to adopt – they can decide about the age and sex of the baby or child they would like to adopt and adoption agencies will try to meet those personal expectations
It’s a very joyous and happy day when the new parents are informed that they have been matched to a child and arrangements will be made for them to meet the child. There is usually a period of introduction to the child, the length of time varying according to the child’s age.
The official placement of the child with the adoptive parents is a legal process, carried out through the Children’s Court. Once the child has been with the new parents for a period of time and the social worker has assessed the adoption to be in the best interests of the child, the adoption is finalized through the Children’s Court. The child then becomes the legal child of the adoptive parents as if the child was born to them and has all the same rights as a biological child.
3. TYPES OF ADOPTIONS
Legal adoptions can take many forms, as set out below:
Related Adoption: Adoption of a child by a person who is related to the child. This includes step-parent adoptions where there are varying levels of openness between the parties in the adoption.
Disclosed Adoption: The identity of the biological parent/s and the identity of the adoptive parent/s are known by both parties. This form of adoption may include a post-adoption agreement that provides for future contact or the exchange of information.
Closed Adoption: In such a case, no identifying details are available and/or exchanged between the adoptive parents and biological parent/s.
National Adoption: A legal adoption facilitated by an accredited adoption social worker and/or organisation where both the adoptive child and parent/s are South African citizens or have permanent residence in South Africa.
Same-race Adoption: The race of the adoptive parent/s and child is the same.
Inter-race Adoption: The race of the child and adoptive parent/s differ.
Inter-country Adoption: A legal adoption facilitated by an accredited adoption organisation where either the child or parents are not South African citizens. South Africa is party to the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoptions and this practice is also regulated by Chapter 18 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.
4. WHAT DOES THE CHILDREN’S ACT SAY ABOUT ADOPTION?
The legislation governing adoptions in South Africa is the Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005).
The Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005) deals with a full spectrum of protection measures pertaining to the national, provincial and, where applicable, local spheres of government.
The main objectives of the Children’s Act are:
– To make provision for structures, services and means for promoting and monitoring the sound physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of children.
– To strengthen and develop community structures which can assist in providing care and protection for children.
– To protect children from maltreatment, abuse, neglect, degradation, discrimination, exploitation and any other physical or moral harm or hazards.
– To provide care and protection for children who are in need thereof.
– To give effect to the Republic’s obligations concerning the well-being of children in terms of the international instruments binding on the Republic.
– The latest version of the Children’s Act also introduces new provisions to adoption practices. Provincial Departments of Social Development now have an active role to play in facilitating adoptions and monitoring the services rendered by child protection organisations and adoption social workers in private practice.
According to Section 230, Subsection 3 of the Act, a child is adoptable if:
a. the child is an orphan and has no guardian or caregiver who is willing to adopt the child;
b. the whereabouts of the child’s parent or guardian cannot be established;
c. the child has been abandoned;
d. the child’s parent or guardian has abused or deliberately neglected the child, or has allowed the child to be abused or deliberately neglected; or
f. the child is in need of a permanent alternative placement.
The Act describes persons who may adopt a child in terms of Section 231, Subsection 1 as follows:
a. jointly by
– husband and wife,
– partners in a permanent domestic life-partnership, or
– other persons sharing a common household and forming a permanent family unit;
b. by a widower, widow, divorced or unmarried person;
c. by a married person whose spouse is the parent of the child;
d. by the biological father of a child born out of wedlock; or
e. by the foster parent of the child.
The National Department regulates and monitors the implementation of adoption services by ensuring that more children are placed within the country through the implementation of the Register on Adoptable Children and Prospective Adoptive Parents (RACAP) before considering inter-country adoption. Furthermore adoption service providers are accredited to render adoption services. The Children’s Act also contains a number of features that were not part of the Child Care Act, like post-adoption agreements and freeing orders.
If you would like to learn more about the legalities surrounding adoption, please select the following links:
http://www.unicef.org/southafrica/SAF_resources_childactx1.pdf THE CHILDREN’S ACT EXPLAINED BOOKLET
5. ACCREDITED AND DESIGNATED CHILD PROTECTION ORGANISATIONS
ACVV (Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereniging)
61 Caledon Street, Zonnebloem, Cape Town, 8001
Tel: 021 461 7437
Fax: 021 461 0074
BADISA (The former Diakonale Dienste amalgamated with the former Christelike Maatskaplike Raad (CMR))
11 Pastorie Street, or Private Bag X8, Bellville, 7535
Tel: 021 957 7130
Fax: 021 957 7131
Cape Town Child Welfare
(formerly at 13 Electric Road, Wynberg, 7800)
Lower Klipfontein Road, Gatesville, Athlone, 7764
Tel: 021 638 3127
Fax: 021 638 5277
Child Welfare South Africa
16 Tygerberg Centre, Voortrekker Road, Bellville, 7530
Tel: 021 945 3111
Fax: 021 945 3121
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
AFM Abba Adoptions
3 Hoheizen Park, Hoheizen Cresent, Hoheizen, Bellville
P.O. Box 763, Kuils River, 7579
Tel: 021 913 8224
Fax: 021 913 5664
Procare Western Cape
Procare is a national association of Social Workers and related professionals in Private Practice. Procare recognized the exceptional vulnerability of babies and children and acknowledges the fact that they are entitled to special care and assistance.
Name (Adoptive parents): Eloise
Tel: 021 873 0532
Cell: 082 700 0833
Name (Birth parents): Sunette
Surname: Le Roux
Tel: 021 873 0532
Cell: 082 977 4435
Crisis Number: 021 873 0532
P.O box 6005, Hoofstraat, Paarl, 7622
91 Church street, Wellington, Western Cape (WC)
-Crisis pregnancy emergency
-Crisis pregnancy options
-Birth parent care
-Finding a child given up for adoption
-Origin search/ roots inquiries
-Child and youth care program
Type of organisation:
Social worker specializing in adoptions