The adoption maze
Once again a member of government calls for people to adopt. But the system seems to stymie the adoptive process again and again.
“Once we finalise the provincial strategy on adoption, there will be a drive to encourage our communities to open their doors and hearts and adopt children in need of care as their own,” says Mpumalanga MEC for Social Development Dikeledi Mahlangu in a recent report on News24.

I couldn’t agree with her more. The only way to make a significant change in the lives of our country’s many orphans and abandoned children is for them to become integrated into communities and families.
She’s not the first politician to call for more adoptions.

Last year, The Minister of Social Development, Zola Skweyiya, made a similar call. But potential adoptive parents express their frustration with a system that doesn’t seem to facilitate the adoptive process.

While most people would agree that careful screening is a necessity, even those parents who have passed the screening stages often end up waiting for years before their adoptions are finalised. Among the problems most frequently cited are a shortage of social workers, and a lack of effective communication between agencies.

‘The problem in my experience (I am an adoptive parent) is where all the paperwork is sent to the bureaucrats. This process took us 4 years to complete, and in 2 instances it took 6 months for one office to post some documentation to another office. This was made more ridiculous by the fact that both these offices were on the same floor in the same building,’ says Roger, an adoptive parent commenting on a Parent24 story, Why is adoption so difficult?

Does a baby’s race matter?

Race is all too often the stumbling block that comes between the parents who would like to adopt, and the children waiting for a home and a family.

‘Ministers and all call on people to please consider adopting, we have over 1 million orphans in this country. And yet, when you try to adopt, there is all sorts of “red tape” etc.  Our social worker told us, we are the very last in the row to adopt a black baby,’ says Parent24 blogger Ebony & Ivory.

On Parent24’s adoption forum cazzieb says: ‘For the critics out there, here is the South African reality: the waiting list to adopt a white baby can be 5 - 8 years these days.’

Ministers, I agree with you wholeheartedly. And I sincerely hope that your plans to encourage adoption include looking critically and carefully at the system, in order to bring together these potential families with greater speed and ease.

As for the rest of us, can we please get past race already, so that children can have families?

Have you tried to adopt? What were the difficulties, or was it an easy process?

Read more by Adele Hamilton

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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