In this article, we will answer the following question: How do you give a child up for adoption in South Africa? We will describe the steps to follow if you want to give up your child, but also the importance of consent and the types of adoption that you can choose from.
How do you give a child up for adoption in South Africa?
Deciding to give your child up for adoption is very difficult, but if you are already sure of it, there are several guidelines that you should take into account when starting the process. We’ll tell you how to start the process of putting your child up for adoption in South Africa.
It is difficult for the people around you not to judge you, but you must be the one to make that important decision. If it is firm, then the process begins whenever you want.
If you are pregnant, the process will begin the moment you have a clear decision, if you still do not know what to do and prefer to wait until the delivery, you can also do it, since in the hospital where you give birth you can start the process at any time. Do not rush, it is a decision that must be taken calmly.
In countries where there are public health and social services, as is the case in South Africa, they are the ones who will take care of the entire process once you notify them with a simple call.
A child can be given up for adoption at any time you want, even if the child is older, in cases where the family cannot support their child. The social services will take care of everything since it is the state that will be in charge of finding a suitable adoptive family for the child based on some prerequisites.
You can also ask the hospital where you give birth to start the paperwork to put the baby up for adoption if you prefer to wait until delivery to make the decision.
In no country is it allowed to give the child up for adoption between individuals, or to sell or buy a child, as it is a serious crime. This is to prevent the illegal trafficking of children, either for prostitution or for organ trafficking.
Steps to follow when you give a child up for adoption on South Africa
The first step when giving a child up for adoption is to notify the Social Services centre of the city and the district where you reside to provide personal data and explain the reasons that led to this decision.
In order to continue with the adoption process, in South Africa, it is mandatory that the parents of the child prove that they were counselled by the Social Services before going on with the process. This is according to section 233(4) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.
Next, the Social Services will notify the case to the child protection services, dependent on the governments of each autonomous community, so that the child is immediately protected.
After the delivery, the mother must sign a document renouncing the minor’s authority, provided by a social worker and a lawyer who will go to the hospital, stating if she wishes to be informed of the child’s situation in the future and of the reasons why you have decided to place your child up for adoption.
Once the minor receives the medical discharge, he/she will be picked up by the protection services and delivered to a reception centre while waiting for an adoptive family.
The authorities establish a “truce” or reflection period which establishes that the biological mother has a month and a half to reverse the decision to give up her child.
The parent also has to fill in Form 61, that is consent by a parent to the adoption of the child.
After this time, the mother will be summoned by the corresponding Court to complete the hearing process in the adoption procedure, in which she will give her consent to hand over the guardianship of her child to an adoptive family. After the resolution, the adoption will be registered in the Civil Registry where the child will already be recorded with the name and surname provided by the adoptive parents.
Once a said resolution is approved, it is final and there is no going back. From this moment, no member of the biological couple will have legal rights over the child, who will come under the protection of the adoptive family.
Only at this time, the biological parents are discharged of their parental rights, and not when they fill in Form 61.
There are also different forms of adoption
The rights that the biological mother has in the future over the child will depend on the type of adoption established.
One of them is known as ‘open adoption’ or disclosed adoption, by which the adoptive parents can know the identity of the biological parents. In this type of adoption, the biological mother has the right to maintain regular contact with her child, to exchange photographs, to send him correspondence or to schedule regular visits with him.
For this, the judge must have the prior approval of the family of origin and the adoptive family and the minor himself, provided that he proves sufficient maturity.
On the other hand, in a ‘closed adoption,’ or non-disclosed adoption, the adoptive parents will not know the identity of the biological family by their own decision and will always communicate through an agency or a third person. In this case, the child’s information will remain sealed and the biological mother will not be able to establish any type of contact with her child.
Giving consent for the adoption of a child in South Africa
In South Africa, the law states that both the mother and the father of the child must consent to the adoption process to start. Also, if the child is 10 years or older, he must consent too.
The parents or the guardians of the child have to fill in Form 61 (linked above), while the child ages 10 years or more has to complete Form 62.
- The consent is not mandatory if the child is orphan and has no official guardian;
- if the parent/guardian of the child is mentally incompetent to give consent;
- if the parent/guardian has abused the child or deliberately neglected him;
- if the parent/guardian failed to fulfil its duty towards the child in the past 12 months;
- If the parent/guardian has been previously stripped of their parental rights;
- If the father of the child isn’t married to the child’s mother and has not acknowledged his paternal rights;
- If the child is the result of incest;
- If the child was a result of rape of the mother (provided that such a finding shall not constitute a conviction for the crime of rape);
The parents have 60 days from signing Form 61 to withdraw their consent.
What you should know before giving up for adoption
This is a very difficult issue for biological parents to deal with. Taking the step to offer your child for adoption or not will probably be one of the most important decisions of your life, so you should be well informed about everything before making this option definitive.
It must be a personal choice, without anyone influencing you or pressuring you, although you can ask opinions of the trusted people who are around you if you need it.
We are not going to fool you, this is a very difficult decision and one that will never abandon you, but it is an act of love towards your baby since if you really cannot take care of him, it is the best solution you can give him.
- It is forbidden to sell or buy the baby, whatever the country.
- What you should never do is abandon the baby anywhere, even if you know that it is a place where you think the baby will be well cared for, since it is illegal, as well as a crime.
- Your child does not have to be a baby to give her up for adoption, she can be of any age. Although the older the child is, the more traumatic the whole process will be for him.
- In many countries, it is the family doctor or obstetrician who can inform you of what you must do to be able to give your child up for adoption.
- There are different options when giving up for adoption:
- Give the child into custody: Custody is a temporary solution until you can take care of him since you will not lose your rights over your child as a mother or father. This option is that the child will be raised by another person for as long as you need, and always before the child reaches the age of majority.
- Family adoption. It consists of a member of your own family adopting it so that you can maintain the relationship with the child. It is processed through a specialized family lawyer.
- Open adoption. It is one in which the adoptive parents of the child allow the biological parents to have a limited relationship with the child, through letters, gifts, and even some visits.
- Closed adoptions. They are traditional and most common. In this case, the biological parents lose all contact and rights over the child. It offers great privacy to both parties to the adoption so that each can move on with their lives after the difficult decision.
Factors to take into account when giving up your child for adoption
- Giving up for adoption can leave you permanent psychological consequences, as well as deciding to stay with him if you are not ready for it. Try to surround yourself with people who advise you well, the family is usually great support as long as they do not decide for you, but provide you with solutions and advice, if not, a psychologist can help you take whatever step is.
- Consult with a family lawyer any doubts you have in this regard. Many times the first consultation is free.
- If you decide to give your child in foster care, you should know that you have the right to free legal counsel.
- The process is easier if both biological parents agree on the decision to be made.
In this article, we answered the following question: How do you give a child up for adoption in South Africa? We described the steps to follow if you want to give up your child, but also the importance of consent and the types of adoption that you can choose from.
To remind you, if you want to give up your child for adoption, first, you have to let Social Services know what your decision is. In South Africa, it is mandatory to be counselled by an adoption social worker before signing any consent to give up your rights as a parent. Secondly, make sure you check the criteria for giving consent.
A child can be given up for adoption at any time you want, even if the child is older, in cases where the family cannot support their child.
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FAQ on How do you give a child up for adoption in South Africa?
How do I give my child up for adoption in South Africa?
To give up your child for adoption you have to notify the social services. After, you will give written consent by completing Form 61. A judge will make the final decision of stripping you of your parental rights.
How do I give my unborn baby up for adoption?
If you want to give your unborn baby up for adoption you have to speak with the social services and create an adoption plan. You will probably have to find a future family for your child. If you don’t want you, you don’t have to get involved in the whole process.
How much does it cost to adopt a child in South Africa?
The costs of adopting a child in South Africa can reach up to R12 000 and R18 000. The medical assessment and psychological examination are included in this amount.
How long does the adoption process take in South Africa?
The adoption process in South Africa can take between 6 to 18 months. However, in some cases, it can last up to 5 years.
Can a woman put a baby up for adoption without the father?
A woman can put a baby up for adoption without the father under certain circumstances. Such circumstances would be if the child is the result of incest or if the child was a result of the rape of the mother.