Adoption South Africa …

I was listening to CapeTalk earlier this week, and the person being interviewed {apologise, have totally forgotten her name} said that in South Africa there are more or less 2 400 adoptions per year.

I thought that was a frighteningly low figure – I just figured it would be more, but I know when I spoke to Child Welfare last year I recall them quoting something along the lines of 24 or 30 children that they placed in adoption for the year, and it just seemed like such a small amount.

The other statistics she mentioned.

{fortunately I also saw these on Adoption SA dot org so that was a huge help, as I sort of remembered the numbers, but not exactly}

I love this new site, and I am so thrilled that someone has got it together and put information in one useful place.

Estimated number of children in foster care and receiving foster care grants in January 2010 Estimated number of  orphaned children  in 2007 Estimated number of  children living in child-headed households in 2009 Estimated number of children in state-owned children’s homes as at end-October 2009
510 713 668 000 150 000 14 599

The question was why are so many people fostering but unwilling to adopt.

She answered that it was not clear, but a lot of the fostering was what they referred to as “kin fostering.”  A family fostering a child who has a biological connection to them, so seldom was there no connection between the fostered child and the family.

Another factor was a fostering social grant system – but there was no adoption grant system.  In some cases a family fostering needs the grant, which they would lose if they adopted the child, so this encouraged the “fostering” relationship to continue.

A bit grim, but when you think about how many families struggle to get by, it does seem a realistic problem.

The one person mentioned that they had been through Child Welfare and only had great things to say.  They had adopted a little girl and the process had taken about 9 months, and it was much easier than they had thought.

There was another person who mentioned they had tried to adopt for several years and it just did not happen.  I am not sure of what the details were behind this.

I do think that in South Africa it is easy to adopt – relatively easy – there are so many kids, and not so many parents who have a home to give, so the supply would outstrip the demand.  So adoption is a process – both paperwork and emotional, but I do not think that it is one that is insurmountable and as difficult as “word on the street” is.

But {and yes there is a but} if someone wants to adopt and the “defining” factors are quite tight, then of course it does make it a bit more of a “challenge” and then I would imagine that it was difficult.

Adoption {and fostering} is a personal thing, and I don’t think any of us can judge someone who chooses to not adopt for what ever reason.  I have heard so many wonderful tear-streaking-down-your-cheek stories about adoption, and until now no horror stories, but adoption {like all things children} is a huge brave step into the unknown.

It is no secret that I was {am} keen on adoption.   I have discussed adoption with my kids {not adopting them out, you understand, but adopting a child} and I we have friends who have adopted, I had spoken to them about the concept before, so they understand the dynamics and it is not a foreign concept in their worlds.

On the weekend Connor and I are watching a show and somewhere in it someone uses the phrase “my brother from another mother” so Connor goes “what does that means?” and I repeat the phrase and then explain it’s use in the way it was meant in the comedy show we were watching.

So he looks at me and goes – with the innocence of a child – “if we adopted a boy, then he would be my brother from another mother…” I think I had a little bit of snot that I sniffed back right then.

I saw this {long} but lovely story about cross-cultural adoption – it sort of gives you hope that things are actually right with the world.

Leave a comment


  1. Thembi

     /  January 7, 2014

    what a heart-warming story!
    Thank you for sharing

  2. Cara

     /  August 26, 2012

    I have been trying to adopt for 5 years. It is sad there is still a stigma against single mothers wanting to adopt. Add the fact that I have a biological child and I fall way down on the lists, in fact some organisations wont screen me as I am single. Our SA law is not condusive to allowing adoptions by those who most wish to do it. I long for that special baby to join our family. I have considered fostering but the thought of a child being taken away in a few years time after raising him/her is not possible. If there is anyone who would consider a successful single mom as an adoptive mom, you are welcome to contact me on

    • Rene

       /  September 14, 2012

      You must please try to get in contact with Procare. they are based in wellington. check out there website.

  3. I’ve contemplated fostering for a quite a few years already. I have to admit that right now I’m not emotionally capable of doing so, but it is something that I’ll keep on thinking about. Definitely something I want to do someday.

    A friend of mine is a rescue mom every now and then. She told me that it is a very emotional thing to do. Lots of times a child that has been placed with her was placed back into the situation that child was rescued from. It broke her heart every time that happened.

  4. Twenty one years ago ( still during the famous Apartheid years) , a little 5 year old Black boy came into our lives . He was a little street child who befriended my 6 year old son at school while we were waiting for the older siblings to finish their extra mural activities in the afternoon. This story is way too long to tell here, but within a year Lucky moved into the Afrikaans Primary school, into our house and into our hearts. We already had 4 of our own – so having a 5 th around was not much of a difference! We learnt to look at life through Lucky’s eyes…..and he had hungry eyes. Within a year he learnt to talk over a phone, learnt American English through watching telly, learnt Afrikaans , how to use a computer and also learnt how to swim! He was the youngest of 5 and neither he nor my own children ever asked why he was a different color to them. You see , only adults see color . There were no biological parents to give him back to, so adopting him was a bit more challenging. We had to advertise for his parents to come forward, there was no birth certificate and cross cultural adoption hardly existed. But after 2 years we were successfully appointed by the court as Lucky’s biological parents and have never looked back. Lucky flourished in the Afrikaans school and in Grade 7 – to our utter astonishment, became the Head Boy of the Afrikaans school – an accomplishment non of my “biological children achieved! He also played Craven week rugby and became the captain of the team ! He then won a scholarship to Saint Stithians School in Johannesburg. We proudly took our son there, whist his brothers and sisters attended the local government school . He stopped playing rugby in Grade 10 and started rowing and became vice captain in Grade 12. Lucky then went on to study for a degree in Advertising and now has a very successful career with an Advertising agency. He has zillions of friends and does stand up comedy all over Johannesburg in the evenings for an extra income. Adopting him was one of the best decisions we have made in life. He is our son , my other children’s brother and definitely the proudest Du Plessis in this household. He still lives at home with us and will hopefully do so until some lovely girl steals him away from us. He taught me and my family SO much about life – one of the most important lessons in life being that color is only skindeep. We are blessed to have him in our lives , blessed that he chose us.

    • countesskaz

       /  December 17, 2011

      Thanks, enjoyed reading your story. love happy endings with anything. especially about children.


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