Why you can't arrange a private adoption

I have had a number of worrying phone calls from couples who have “found a pregnant lady” and want to arrange a private adoption directly with this lady.  I have also had phonecalls from desperate couples who have had their “adopted” baby for 2 – 6 weeks and now the baby is being taken back by the biological mother.  PLEASE do not arrange your own adoptions without a registered social worker to facilitate it for you. 

The law (Children’s Act) is very clear.  Adoptions may only be arranged through a registered adoption social worker and the birth parents both have cooling off periods during which they are entitled to change their minds and take the decision to keep their baby.

If you apply to adopt through a registered adoption social worker, you will find that they have systems in place to ensure that when you get the phone call to say that you can collect your baby, all the counselling, legal work and cooling off periods have happened and the baby is really yours.

Broken promises, shattered hearts

Obviously it is tempting to arrange an adoption privately as it seems that it could be quicker and guaranteed but in fact it can often lead to broken promises and shattered hearts.  It is also illegal for money to be paid directly to the birth mother and many people get sucked into paying for scans, vitamins, maternity clothes etc. only to have the birth mom change her mind after delivery.

If you do find a pregnant lady who offers to give you her baby, make sure that you protect yourself before your emotions get carried away.

You should immediately contact a registered adoption social worker and ask her to contact the birth mom.  Let the social worker do the usual screening and counselling for both parties with the understanding that if the processes are complete and there are no hiccups, that baby will be available to you to adopt.  There should be no direct contact if possible during the screening process or in fact until the cooling off period has passed.  This is the best way to ensure that you do not get your hopes up in a situation that could very well not go your way.

Birth moms battling with emotions

It is important to try to understand that the birth moms are often confused, scared and very emotional.  They frequently have multiple mind-changes during the process of giving up a child for adoption.  Allow her this time to think, grieve, get counselling and make certain that she is sure of her decision.  Once this time has been given to her, she will make a final decision and if you are meant to be that baby’s parents, you will get the phone call you hope for.

Adoption is a beautiful thing – just make sure you get the benefit of the law to protect you and keep it a beautiful thing.

For adoption advice and information, you can visit www.adoptmom.co.za or www.adoption.org.za

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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