If you are unable to give birth to a child or you wish to add another child to your family, adoption is a legal way in which a single adult or couple can make a baby2mom match happen. If egg donation or surrogacy is not options for you, for whatever reason, adoption makes a child yours as though it were born of you.
According to South African adoption legislation, namely the Child Care Act of 1983, a child may be adopted by:
Life partners, same sex or otherwise, in a joint adoption.
Any child may be adopted provided that they are under the age of 18 and have been abandoned or orphaned. If the child's parents are still alive, both parents must consent.
Due consideration to cultural differences in placements - including language and religion however cross-cultural placements are not outlawed.
The age of the adoptive parent/s will be taken into consideration.
Adoption may take place via social workers - usually as private adoption agencies - or via non profit government organisations.
In non-abandonment adoptions, the birth mother has 60 days from the time of the birth in which she may change her mind about putting her child up for adoption.
Most of the adoptions in South Africa stem from abandoned babies. In these cases it may take up to 8 months before the child can be released from a place of safety whilst social workers attempt to trace the biological parents.
Types of Adoption
Closed Adoption - this type of adoption limits the birth parents rights and control over their biological child. They have no control over the child's adoptive placement or whereabouts. Equally the parents adopting the child know little about the child's history.
Open Adoption - in this type of adoption the birth parents have more rights as they specify the type of family that they would prefer for the placement of their child. The birth and adoptive parents will meet and develop a life long relationship
Semi-open adoption - this is, as it states, a combination between a Closed and an Open adoption. The birth parents will have rights over where their child is placed and will maintain some level of contact; usually letters and photos, but via the adoption agency. The discretion of the adoptive parents however takes precedence.
In South Africa adoption may be Closed, Open or Semi-open.
The Screening Process for Adoption
Orientation Meeting - where the process of adoption is explained to the individual or couple considering adoption. Group sessions may also form part of the process of education.
Completion of Application Forms and certificates - parents applying to adopt a child will need to prove their health, character, social and financial status by supplying medical certificates, character references, bank/financial statements and criminal record clearance.
Home Visit - your home will be evaluated in terms of its safety and environment as to the needs of the child.
Identifying a Child for adoption - This may be a quick or long process but when the agency finds a child, that is an acceptable baby2mom placement, you should apply to the Children’s Court in the district in which the child lives.
Children's Court - the social worker will give his or her opinion as regards your suitability as adoptive parents but The Commissioner of Child Welfare, via a hearing closed to the public, will decide on whether or not you are eligible to have a child placed in your care as adoptive parents. Your reputation and ability to support and educate a child will be of prime importance. If successful an adoption order will be issued.
The process of Adoption in South Africa is often a long one. If an adoption order is granted it is usually many months, and even years, after couples have applied to adopt.
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