South African wanting to adopt...
I'm a South African wanting to adopt internationally. We haven't decided on a country yet, only finding out how things work for us at the moment, but we're leaning towards China, Vietnam and Russia. It's very hard to find info online, as all the agencies only mention U.S. requirements. Can anyone help me with info and guide me in the right direction please? Feel free to send me a pm as well. :grouphug:
Hi Veronika,
Did you get my email?
Thank you
Yes, I did get your email and have been doing a lot of reading, thank you. I will email you again soon. I posted here wondering if some of the others who posted here before had any success. At the moment, I'm just having trouble finding out what other county's policies are with regards to South Africans adopting from their countries. Thanks again!
Veronika :grouphug:
Sue Krawitz and Sheri Shenker had done plenty of succesfull international adoptions from Russia...Beautifull children! You can search the net with their names.

Don't be discuraged...they will be able to help you.
Some Info
Dear Veronica

The latest information I have from the South African authorities is that they only have agreements for South Africans to adopt from India.

We also want to adopt from Russia ad the Russian authorites are happy, but we need authorisation from SA which we cannot get.

If you have any positive info in this regard, or someone that can help, we would be most grateful to hear.


I'm not sure what to tell you. After all this time we have not succeeded in adopting. Right now we are trying to convince a couple of government organizations to do our homestudy, but they're not interested at all. In October the new Child Care Act will be implemented and then you have to use a government organization for your homestudy. If you used a private social worker it will not be recongised and you won't be able to finalize an adoption. I'm going to send you a PM with my email address and share what we have learned so far and it will be great if you will reciprocate. I'll contact the folks in government and ask about Russia for you.

Unmarried South Africa expat looking into Russian adoption
I am an unmarried South African living in Switzerland. It's my hope to remain here, but I'm employed on a contract that ends in July, in which case I will have to retrun to SA. I have been interested in Russian adoption for a very long time and now I am finally at a point in my life where I can get serious about it. I have contacted a couple of agencies, all of which are based in the US and charge the GDPs of (not so) small countries just to get added to their client list, but finding information from other sources has been an excersize in frustration. Any information on where to go and who to speak to in SA (and Russia for that matter), the procedures involved, the cost and timeframe etc. would be beyond appreciated.
I'm sorry, but you won't be able to adopt from any foreign country at this point. The Central Authority in South Africa will not issue the letters of permission you need to complete adoptions abroad. The Children's Act was supposed to be implemented in April, but so far nobody from the Central Authority will answer me to say if it was done or not. The only thing you can be sure of is that you will get zero assistance from the South African side.
Thanks for your response. I've had a quick skim of the acts that ARE in force and I don't see anything expressly prohibiting adoption of a child who is a foreign national. This refusal to issue a letter... have they actually cited a material reason or is it simply a case of SA bureaucracratic feetdargging?

ETA: What I understand from the Russian side (info via the Russian embassy in Bern) is that the local authorities' input basically consists of a home study by a qualified official from the welfare department (or an accredited social worker), which SA seems to be issuing to foreigners adopting South African babies as well as South Africans adopting locally without any distinction being drawn between the groups, and a letter from the embassy in Moscow.

Granted, I've only done a cursory skim of the SA legislation, but according to the Russians (here in Bern) prospective foreign adopters are subject to the same procedure in Russia regardless of where they are from, meaning that all you need is a home study from your country's welfare department and "a letter from the embassy in Moscow stating that a visa will be granted to the child, provided that he or she meets the requirements for a visa." So basically, once you have the home study (which is the same for all adopters in South Africa) it becomes a visa issue.

I'll have to do a proper reading over the weekend, but the way it looks from my reading of the SA law as it stands, the welfare department doesn't (as yet) have the authority to make distinctions between local and foreign adoptions. Any thoughts?
Update : I just received the following response from a colleague back home who specializes in juvenile justice :

The Children's Act came into operation on 1 April 2010. It means the whole act is now in operation and not just certain sections. In particular, the chapter in inter-country adoption is now in operation.

This chapter incorporates the whole Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption into South African legislation. The Child Care Act has been repealed in it's totality.

See : Proclamation : Children's Act 38 of 2005 and Proclamation : Children's Amendment Act 41 of 2007
Section 16 of the Children's Act deals with domestic adoptions, and Section 17 deals with intercountry adoptions - and yes, it was fully promulgated on April 1st.

K&S Adoptions out of Jo'berg used to work with South African citizens who wanted to adopt children from Eastern Europe, but no longer does. It may be worthwhile to contact them and ask why.

Now that SA is fully a Hague nation, citizens can't work with another country's agencies. So contacting US agencies for example won't be of much use. Now that SA is fully Hague accredited, of course one of the main ideas of the Hague is to place children domestically whenever possible. So I'm guessing the government (only a guess here) may not allow intercountry adoptions (or at least make them very, very difficult)anymore, seeing as SA itself is home to over 2 million orphans.
Hi there, what I understand from K&S is that (back in '06) they had to rely on an American go-between which made the process quite costly and added to the complexity of the matter since they were working with 3 jurisdictions on opposite ends of the planet, inevitably diverting a lot of resources that are better spent closer to home. With the Hague convention in force, as you rightly point out, South African agencies have to be accredited to handle adoptions in Russia, so I would think that going the agency-route isn't much of an option right now (if ever). In any case, it's always been my preference to do it independently and with the adoption of the Children's Act that option is finally available. I've been in contact with an attorney to handle things on the Russian side, and yeah... so far so good.

As for the SA government's stance... the black-letter law seems fairly straightforward (famous last words, I know). Although, given the slew of policy-influencing factors at play, like foreigners also being allowed to adopt from SA, international humanitarian considerations, health concerns and cultural differences that exist within South Africa itself (to name but a few), the government would be hard-pressed to justify barring SA citizens from adopting internationally based on the "we've got plenty" argument. Plus, the purpose of the '93 convention is to make sure that a child doesn't go to foreigners if there are local people willing to adopt him or her. It does not, however, place any obligation upon nationals of a country to consider a local child before looking abroad. Practically speaking, the fact still remains that foreign adoption even without incurring exorbitant agency fees ֖ remains a cost intensive endeavour when compared to the local option, and so I can't see it being so widely practiced as to become an obstacle to the placement of local children.

The only thing I know for sure is that this process is bound to be an arduous one as any commitment of this magnitude should be.

Although, given the slew of policy-influencing factors at play, like foreigners also being allowed to adopt from SA, international humanitarian considerations, health concerns and cultural differences that exist within South Africa itself (to name but a few), the government would be hard-pressed to justify barring SA citizens from adopting internationally based on the "we've got plenty" argument.

Well, I'm not sure I agree with you here, although again, I have no idea if they plan on making it impossible (or next to it) or not. In terms of foreigners being allowed to adopt, that's because there isn't enough domestic adoption happening, and of course because of overwhelming need.

Health concerns? Personally (and of course adoption is personal) but I would be far more concerned about the health of a child in an institution in Eastern Europe than SA - if the concern is HIV, that can easily be tested for and ruled out, while FASD is almost impossible to diagnose. Not to mention if I had the choice, I would take on a child who has HIV long before a child with any form of FASD. Just look at all the stories of people suing agencies over missing info on their Russian-born children, or the woman in Tenessee who recently "returned" her adopted son to Russia due to alleged serious psychological issues.

Cultural differences - well, yes, I do think it would be challenging to raise a black child as a Caucasian parent in SA. Very challenging, all the way around.

Anyways, good luck with your adoption plans, hope it all works out as it should!
"I have no idea if they plan on making it impossible (or next to it) or not."

Well, if they do then they'd better do it for reasons they can justify in court, which would mean acquitting themselves of their obligations in terms of the children's act, the '93 convention, PAJA and the Constitution. Knowing the SA government as I do, that's not likely to happen... To be fair though, they have been pretty nice about it so far.
In all my communications with the Central Authority over the past 3 1/2 years, they have insisted that they cannot assist with a foreign adoption without there being a bilateral agreement between "sending" and "receiving" country. As I stated before, they have ignored all my attempts at contact so far this year. The one time they did send me an email, it was a brief one stating that they were aware of a need for foreign adoption agreements and would look into it after the implementation of the Children's Act. Although I do not believe that they can prevent a foreign adoption, they can stall and waste a lot of your time. So far, it's been much easier for South Africans living outside of South Africa to adopt internationally than for those of us resident in South Africa. If you do succeed in getting a straight answer, I would appreciate it very much if you would contact me.
All times are GMT. The time now is 5:17 pm.