What is the procedure when adopting?
After initially approaching JCW, prospective adoptive parents are required to attend an orientation. These generally take place on the last Saturday of every month and there is a choice between Zulu, Sotho or English meetings. An orientation session last approximately five hours and the purpose is to introduce adoptive parents to the agency and the adoption procedure. The screening process is explained, answering why and how this is done as well as detailing associated costs. Adoptive parents are told about the kinds of children who are put up for adoption and the biological mother's plight is explained too. Orientation concludes with some practical training geared towards answering questions such as how and when to tell your child s/he is adopted and who to tell about your adopted child's background.
Thereafter, adoptive parents are required to submit a number of important documents before the screening process begins. This is detailed below. If adoptive parents are successfully screened, JCW will match them with one of our children. Adoptive parents are then introduced to the child. If the child is older, several such meetings need be arranged so that a relationship is forged with the child before taking him/her home. A report recommending the variation of the court order is then compiled and sent to the Department of Social Development for approval. Once this is obtained, the matter is taken to court. After this the adoptive parent/s are allowed to take their adopted child home. The adoption is then finalised in court and registered with the Registrar of Adoptions at the Department of Social Development in Pretoria.
How are prospective adoptive parents screened?
The screening process consists of interviews with a social worker, a full medical assessment, psychometric testing, and a marriage assessment if adopting as a couple. A social worker will then visit the client's home. Police clearance is needed too, and four references: two from family members and two from persons who are not related to the clients. The screening process adheres to legislative standards and has been made as "user friendly" as possible.
How long does the whole process take?
It differs in each case, but prospective parents should realise it will take a minimum of between 4 - 5 months for the screening process to be complete, but it could also take a lot longer, depending on the availability of the prospective adoptive parents to attend the various interviews and assessments. Once they have been successfully screened, they are then placed on an adoption waiting list until a child is successfully matched to them.
How much does it cost to adopt a child?
Established outlays are made during the screening process. However, the service fee charged by JCW is worked out in proportion to the income of the adoptive parent/s.
What law governs adoptions in South Africa?
The Children's Act 38 of 2005.
Who can adopt?
Anyone who is successfully screened may adopt. You need not be a South African citizen in order to adopt, but if you are a foreigner living in South Africa, you need to be resident in the country for a period of 5 years before you will be eligible to adopt. In addition to placing children in local families, we also place children abroad through our international partners. Whilst you need not earn a minimum income, it is necessary that you show adequate means to support the child and you should be under 50 years old. It does not matter if you are married, single or in a same sex partnership. Similarly, it does not matter if you have children already or if you do not. Everyone goes through the same screening process.
How old are the children who are ready to be adopted?
Ranging from 3 months up to 4 or 5 years.
Can I adopt a white baby through JCW?
No. JCW does not handle any adoptions of white children. The vast majority of our adopted children are black. This does not mean that white persons cannot adopt, but simply that it will be an inter-racial adoption.
Can I choose my adopted child?
No. In accordance with your expressed desires, we will match you with a child. However, it is only after you have been successfully screened that you will be matched to a child.
Will my child be healthy?
Adoptive parents express whether they are looking to adopt a child with special needs or not. Should you wish, it is even possible to adopt a child who is HIV positive. Either way, adoptive parents will always be told their adopted child's medical history.
Will I be told my child's family history?
Yes. Social workers always try to compile as comprehensive a history as is possible on both the child's biological mother and father – although, this information is not always readily attainable. The child's family history will be passed on to the adoptive parents.
Will my child stay in touch with his/her biological parents?
The biological mother has the choice to have contact with the child after the adoption or not. If the biological mother wishes to keep in contact with the child and the adoptive parents are happy with this, then a post-adoption agreement will be drawn up during the adoption process which will then become an order of court. These agreements will only be drawn up if any future contact is in the best interests of the child and if both the adoptive parents and the birth parents are in agreement about the terms of the contract. According to legislature, however, an adopted child may request information about his/her biological parents when s/he turns 18.
How do I know if JCW has children that are ready to be adopted?
We are ALWAYS looking for adoptive parents.
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Please visit www.adoption.org.za for more information on adoption in South Africa.