On Sunday, 17 November, Carte Blanche posed the question – “Can adoption be this hard?” The segment highlighted the frustrations of adopting a child and a callous bureaucracy that is clearly blocking the chances of many children to find permanent family care through adoption.
There is no doubt that the adoption community has received widespread attention in 2013 – this coverage ranges from initiatives by the National Adoption Coalition to raise awareness around adoptions, to negative reports of an inaccessible and bureaucratic process. This lengthy process and red tape is something that we need to actively challenge and change.
So many South African children could benefit from adoption and yet they do not. Abba believes that children should grow up in loving permanent families and together with other stakeholders we have worked tirelessly for 24 months on a special campaign to “Ignite a Passion for Adoption” and to promote a model of good practice. We are out there in the communities, spreading the message because there is a scarcity of specialized skill and knowledge. It is important that we develop the capacity and knowledge base of all service providers in this field so that more children can benefit from adoption.
By nature adoption touches heartstrings, changes lives and carries such responsibility in making sure each child’s future is safe and protected. There are twists and turns for every case. The process of adoption and what is seen as being in a particular child’s best interest opens up a very complex and often difficult conversation, with no easy answers. Ultimately adopting a child is based on sound legal and ethical practices without compromising the child’s best interest. It is very important to create a realistic understanding of the challenges within the adoption system and community. At times the public does not get the full picture of a case because of the legal implications and confidentiality of the case – this makes adoption even scarier.
On days like these with adoption practices exposed, we need to pull together. There is much work to do, but lets not forget that there are triumphs and excitement, great days and great steps forward, training and light bulb moments, love and hope, happiness from many children and couples, and the creation of families. This is the way we achieve and its through commitment and passion, being bold and firm that we will progress. Pressure to change the system will enable us to do more of the same.
NACSA summed it up by saying: Adoption will possibly never be that easy because of its lifelong implications. But it should never be that hard either.
Amen to that.
Katinka Pieterse – Program Director, Abba.