Adopting a child can be a long and tedious process but once you know the requirements it will be easy if you do things in the correct way. There is a process to follow and no short-cuts to adoption. The first thing to understand is that it is illegal to become a child’s permanent parent in any other way than through adoption – meaning that if you are not related to the child in any way, you cannot adopt. Becoming a foster parent involves a different process.
Adoption can only take place legally
· When it is in the best interest of the child,
· If the child is adoptable,
· The child has been abandoned,
· The child is an orphan and has no guardian,
· The whereabouts of the child’s parents are unknown,
· The parent or the guardian has abused the child,
· The child is in need of permanent alternative placement.
Maintaining their roots and culture
An open adoption means the identities of all parties are known. A closed adoption means the parties are not known to each other from the start of the process. The parties work with a social worker who is involved in the process and may advise that the parties share their identities with each other in the best interest of the child. An example of this would be where it is encouraged that the children maintain contact with their roots and culture.
Who is eligible to adopt?
· A husband and wife can jointly adopt a child
· Permanent partners and same-sex couples can jointly adopt a child
· A widow or a widower or an unmarried person
· Persons sharing a household and forming a permanent family unit
· A biological father of the child who does not have guardianship in terms of Chapter 3 of the Children's Act 38/2005, or the foster parent of a child has the right to be considered as a prospective adoptive parent when the child becomes available.
Starting adoption proceedings
Adoption proceedings are handled by social workers at accredited and designated child protection organisations and accredited private adoption social workers accredited and designated Child Protection Organisations providing adoptions services are: ACVV, Badisa, Cape Town Child Welfare, Child Welfare South Africa, AFM Abba Adoptions and the Department of Social Development. Some of the above organisations may charge a fee.