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The adoption process
The 6 processes you need to know in order to adopt a child in South Africa
South Africans can only legally adopt a child in by working through accredited adoption agencies in South Africa or with the aid of an adoption social worker.
The adoption process works as follows:
- The prospective parents need to submit an official application form to one of the adoption agencies in South Africa. It’s important to note that each agency has its own set of rules and requirements.
- Next, adoptive parents need to go through a screening and preparation process which typically involves having orientation meetings, interviews with an adoption social worker, full medical exams, marriage and psychological evaluations, home visits, police clearance as well as reputable references.
- After the screening process is complete and approved, adoptive parents, will be put on a waiting list to adopt a child. Prospective parents are allowed to decide on the age and gender of the baby/child – the adoption agency (adoption agencies) will do their best to meet these choices.
- The time has come! Once you’ve been matched with a baby/child, the adoption agency will make the necessary arrangements for you to meet the baby/child. It’s is known as the ‘introduction period’, and the length of the engagement varies depending on the age of the baby/child.
- The official placement of a child with adoptive parents is a mandatory legal process. I will take place in the Children’s Court. Once the baby/child has been with you for a certain length of time, and the social worker has given his/her approval that the best interests of the baby/child are being met, adoption will be finalised through Children’s Court.
- Once concluded, the baby/child is officially legally adopted and has the same rights as if he/she was the biological baby/child of the adoptive parents.
Who is allowed to adopt a child in South Africa?
According to South African adoption legislation, namely the Child Care Act of 1983, a child may be adopted by:
- A married couple in a joint adoption.
- Life partners, same-sex or otherwise, in a joint adoption.
- A person who has married the parent of a child can adopt the child, with the biological father’s consent. This is called the adoption of a stepchild.
- A single person can adopt a child.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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