This week finds the adoption community in the media, with the focus on declining adoption statistics in South Africa.
The challenges and delays experienced by adoptive parents and service providers, within the process of facilitating and finalizing the adoption, are highlighted as one of the main causes for this decline. Abba Specialist Adoption & Social Services confirms this based on our experience as service provider in the field.
We fully support the importance of a stringent legal process for adoption, since it permanently alters the status of parents and children, and have lifelong implications. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, we now see and experience massive delays in specific areas during the process. This contributes to the drop in numbers of adoptions registered, which in turn can discourage prospective adoptive parents considering starting the adoption process.
Together with the National Adoption Coalition of SA we have been working very hard to address these challenges. We are consulting with relevant state departments, like the Department of Social Development, Justice and Home Affairs and asking for assistance in this regard. It is however a complicated process and progress is slow. At Abba Adoptions we will continue to actively lobby for positive change in this area.
Contrary to believe that adoption in South Africa is a picture of doom and gloom, the proverbial silver lining is ever present:
· Abba experienced an increase in interest from many South Africans when it comes to adoption;
· The profile of the adoptive parent is changing and we see more black South African parents applying;
· Due to less restrictive criteria, more people, who prior to 2010 might have been excluded due to previous legal requirements, are now adopting;
· The number of applicants who are open to adopt interracially is also on a slight increase;
· We are succeeding in finding families for children with special needs, especially within our inter-country adoption program;
· Adoption in general has become much more relevant and public. Honest & open discussions and debates happen on more regular basis in the public arena.
According to the Children’s Act, adoption is an important form of alternative care for many children, and it has been prioritized as an important area of service delivery. We are aware that there are numerous challenges, and that all the stakeholders are not yet united in their response to the challenges. We are working closely with many officials from both the NGO-sector and state departments, who are committed to ensure that the process are streamlined, and that service delivery takes place in accordance with good practise, but without unnecessary delays.
We remain committed to continue to find loving, permanent forever families for the many children that can benefit from adoptions.
We will also continue to partner on finding solutions for the current challenges that are impacting negatively on adoptions.