The basic aspects of adoption

26 August 2021 90
Adoption in South Africa is a process whereby the adopting parent acquires all the rights and responsibilities towards a child by way of legal process. The child(ren) will be as if they biologically belong to the adopting parents in the eyes of the law.

The process commences by way of an application to the Children’s Court with the necessary supporting documents, inter alia, a report from the social worker and also confirmation from the Social Development that such adoption is in the best interest of the child. One can safely say that every suitable person to be a parent has a right to adopt. Children under 18 (eighteen) years of age who are eligible for adoption are those who fall under the below stated categories:

- Abandoned children and whose parents cannot be traced;
Orphans who do not have legal guardians and the guardians cannot take care of the said children.
- Abused children and also children who needs a home.

Should you as a parent of a child provide the necessary consent for your child to be legally adopted by another person, your duty to maintain the child automatically ceases together with your rights and responsibilities towards the child, unless you are the spouse of the adopting step-parent and the biological parent of the child.

Consent must be obtained from the child’s biological parents in writing and children with the intellectual and/or maturity level may also have a “say” in the adoption process even though they are younger than 18 years old.

People seeking to adopt should be fit and proper people to do so. Single parents may also adopt should they wish to do so. The adopting parent(s) should be ready and prepared to take upon the rights and responsibilities of being a full-time parent, and also have the financial means to see through such an application as there are certain costs involved, including those of the agency.

A Court order will be granted in that regard should such an application be granted.