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.