How do I adopt?
Worried you wouldn’t make the grade as an adoptive parent? Here’s how the process goes.
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Adopting a child is a very special thing to do but it can be scary and intimidating.
Jo’burg Child Welfare offers this information on how the adoption process works and why you need not feel nervous.

All parents who want to adopt go through a screening process. It doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have, this is a mandatory condition which is important to understand. 

You need to be over 25 and under 48 years of age. It is preferable to be employed in either the informal or formal sector. You should be healthy and have a home that is safe and hygienic. Your financial position to meet the child’s needs is also considered. Couples and single parents can adopt even if they have other children.

If you think there is a lot of administration involved and the process is difficult, you are right and there is good reason. You should take into account that welfare organisations are responsible for making life-changing choices for a child’s future and do not take these decisions lightly.

We urge you not to be intimidated by this process. We share the same hope – that you can give one of the children a loving and stable home. The screening process is also about educating and preparing you for the arrival of your new family member.

So here is how it works:
  • You start by contacting the agency.
  • We will send you an information sheet to complete and return.
  • You will then be invited to attend an orientation and training meeting.
  • This meeting is conducted in isiZulu, seSotho or English.
  • This meeting is an opportunity for you to ask as many questions as you need and to voice any concerns you  may have.
  • You then need to fill in an official application form which is allocated to your social worker who will guide you through the screening process.

Now for the slightly scary part. The screening includes:
  • A full medical with one of our doctors
  • A psychological evaluation
  • A marriage assessment
  • A home visit
  • A police clearance
  • 3 references

Pam Wilson, who runs the adoption department at Jo’burg Child Welfare explains, that the screening process helps the department get to know you as a family, why you want to adopt and your ability to offer a child a warm, loving, stable and secure home.

‘We have had applicants who come to adopt a child because they are lonely and they want a child to keep them company or they want to adopt a child who will be able to go to the shop for them. These are not healthy motivations and we would not continue the process if we pick up that those applicants are not genuine in their motivation to love and care for a child,’ says Wilson.

Once the screening process is complete, applicants are placed on the waiting list until we can find a suitable family.

You probably have your own ideas and wishes about the child you hope to adopt and you are more than welcome to tell us the age and sex of the baby or child you would like to adopt and we will try to meet those expectations. We also try to match the child to the adopters in terms of physical appearance and background.

It’s a very exciting, special and happy day when you come to fetch your child with lots of tears and photographs. Once an adoption is finalized through the court, the child becomes your legal child as if the child was born to you and has all the same legal rights as a biological child.

For more information about Jo’burg Child Welfare or e-mail communications@jhbchildwelfare.org.za

Do you think the adoption process is too strict. Or not strict enough?
 
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