Persons who may want to start a family but are facing reproductive challenges have a reason to smile since they can still opt out for adoption. This therefore creates the possibility of one having a family of their own, when it would otherwise be biologically impossible.
Adoption also enables the children to have a stable, providing family which they otherwise lacked.
Adopting a child in South Africa
Who can adopt a child in South Africa?
The South African adoption legislation referred to as the Child Care Act of 1983 allows a child to be adopted by the following people;
- A single person
- Married couple
- A person married to a parent with a child (step child)
- Life partners or same sex couples.
In addition, people wishing to adopt a child must be citizens of South Africa and have attained an age of 18 years or older. According to Kirstin Stewart, a senior social worker at Impilo Adoption And Child Protection Services, if the child to be adopted has both parents, then, the biological parents must consent to the child being adopted.
The parents are usually given a period of three months to confirm their decision before the child is handed to his or her new parents. It is important to note also that adoption can take place through non-governmental organizations or through private adoption agencies.
Types of adoption in South Africa
In South Africa, there are three types of adoption. They include; Open adoption, semi-opened adoption, and closed adoption.
In this type of adoption, the biological parents of the child have powers to determine the type of a family to which their child will be adopted. The biological and adoptive parents will meet and make lifelong agreements and even develop a relationship.
In this type of adoption, the biological parents of the child to be adopted have limited control over their child. For instance, they have little control over where the child will be living following adoption.
In the same way, the adopting parents also have limited information concerning the history of the child they have adopted.
In this type of adoption, features of both open and closed adoption have been combined. For instance, the biological parents of the child to be adopted have control over where their child should be placed.
Moreover, the adopting parents have the reason to do most judgment on their own without necessarily consulting the biological parents of the child.
Screening for child adoption in South Africa
As stipulated by the Children’s Act, all adoptions must undergo a screening process by an accredited adoption social worker. This process takes between six and nine months and it entails the following processes;
1. Identification of the child to be adopted
2. Orientation meeting where the process of adoption is explained to individual or couple who want to adopt.
3. Completing clearance forms and certificates such as criminal record clearance, official bank statements, and medical forms.
After this process, the baby is free to go home with his or her new parents.