- Ronald Reagan
Recently Child Protection Week was celebrated in South Africa. I therefore decided that it would be suitable for me to write this article on a topic I have been currently dealing with and which is related to us wearing green ribbons during Child Protection Week.
I was recently approached by clients regarding an adoption of minor children. Seeing as this field of our law is fairly new and unfamiliar to me, I have delved into extensive research on this topic and even had a consultation with a social worker who has more than two decades’ experience in this field.
I am sure that to people who are not familiar with the process it may seem that the South African legislation regarding adoption is unclear, ambiguous and even cumbersome, but after doing proper research and speaking to the “right people” I am, for the first time, beginning to feel a bit more confident on this alien topic.
Due to the complexity of an adoption application I shall merely be setting out a simplistic framework of an adoption application procedure. In the South African adoption process there are mainly four phases:
- The application
The only ways to legally adopt a child in South Africa are by working through an accredited adoption agency or even with the help of an adoption social worker.
- The Screening process
This phase involves orientation meetings with the prospective adoptive parents, interviews with the social worker, full medical examinations, marriage and psychological assessments, home visits and police clearance and checking of references.
- The Waiting List
After completion of the aforementioned phase the prospective adoptive parents are placed on a waiting list for a child. The prospective adoptive parents can decide on the age and sex of the baby or child they would like to adopt.
- The Placement
The Children’s Court is in control of this phase. 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 interest of the child, the Children’s Court will finalise the adoption.
I am privileged enough to go home to a healthy eighteen-month old daughter every day after a long day at the office. And even though I realise that the adoption process is a lengthy and costly affair, I can honestly say that the sacrifice of time, stress and money would surely fade in comparison to the wonder that is motherhood!
Compiled by: Annerine du Plessis
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)