Proposed amendments to the Children’s Act: Readers respond

"More parents would come forward to adopt if the fees were more affordable."
"More parents would come forward to adopt if the fees were more affordable."

Parent24 recently wrote about Tom Jordi, the dad taking on the government on behalf of SA's orphaned and abandoned children, sharing his story and casting light on the proposed changes to the Children’s Act.

Many parents wrote to us to share their experience of adoption in South Africa, and to comment on their thoughts on the impact the proposed changes might have on them and other adoptive families.

You can read their mails below: 

Read: Meet the dad taking on the government on behalf of SA's orphaned and abandoned children

“Who is it that the government seeks to serve with these amendments?”

This couple long to adopt, but face issues on multiple fronts.

“My wife and I moved to South Africa in September 2015. I am South African and she is Swedish. When we arrived we almost immediately started looking into adoption. I have always loved the idea of adoption and particularly of giving an abandoned child a chance of a better life in a loving home.

Unfortunately, when we first started looking into it we were told that because my wife didn’t yet have her permanent residency we couldn’t proceed with the adoption process.”

Sadly, issues with a visa have caused years-long delays for this family-in-waiting. 

“To make a long story short we have still not received her visa and have now been waiting 3 years and have no idea when her visa will be granted.

A couple of months ago we contacted another adoption agency who informed us that we could start the vetting process but that there could be risks if we didn’t get her visa before the end of the process and because of how government interprets the law if we didn’t.

So, we decided that we had to take a step of faith and get the ball rolling. We have thus far been through a rigorous course of social worker interviews, reading materials, online courses, questionnaires, compilation of a considerable number of required documents and phycologist interviews.

All of this has progressed smoothly and has been an engaging and educational process that has prepared us well for adoption.

Our only frustration has been the senseless delay of our visa and the fear and frustration of knowing that it could all come to nothing because of a failure of government to do what it is supposed to do.

Even more so because these agencies are providing a valuable service and have a real heart for the children and families that they serve.

Who is it that the government seeks to serve with these amendments?

So how does it make any sense that an already hopelessly overburdened governmental system is looking to put a stop to a highly functional and efficient, professional service that is successfully finding loving, nurturing homes for children who would otherwise be destined to be institutionalised or passed on from one foster family to another until they are old enough to be ejected out of the system.

It is a heartbreaking situation and will be all the more so if these amendments are made because it will be the most vulnerable and innocent who will suffer most. The children.”

 Also read: OPINION: Adoption amendments deny opportunity to most vulnerable children

“The State workers were amazing - overstretched and underpaid, but so committed.”

This parent shared their positive experience of adoption through the state.

“We adopted both our children and the biggest difference came down to one thing: cost.

Nine years ago, the private adoption agencies were charging up to R30 000. When we adopted our daughter through the State, after four years on the waiting list, it cost R500.

A few years later, after waiting four months, we adopted our son through the State - and it cost R7 000.

As new parents, that extra money was vital. We had five days’ notice with my daughter and two days with my son.

The State workers were amazing - overstretched and underpaid, but so committed. We still are in contact with both social workers and send them photos of our kids."

The reader says that every year they have an annual forever family picnic.  

"I’m not saying both private and public adoption agencies can’t both exist, and I am no expert on the legislation, but if the state had more funding, more children could get the help they need.

It would be more fair too - private adoptions wait much shorter periods for the child - why? Does money buy time? Desperation = more money = quicker turnaround time?

More parents would come forward to adopt if the fees were more affordable.

In my opinion, the State could thrive with more support financially and the private sector could stand to make less profit. I don’t think adoptions would “end” if the private sector is curtailed - the State did wonders by our family!”

 Also read: "It will deny thousands of orphaned and abandoned children permanent families": Concerned psychiatrist on the proposed amendments to adoptions in SA

“The system failed me”

This reader shared how their experience of the system was a negative one, and wrote to point out the risks.

“I’d fear leaving it to the state, I was adopted and I can tell you that if the staff doesn’t have the necessary training to also accept the adoptive parents by screening, the child will come up short.

I know it all too well. I’m an adult who had struggled my way all along.

I recently found my birth mother and the adoption agency found it to be one of the most heartfelt stories and asked me to say a few things in front of their investors.

I accepted, but as I had to speak I walked out because they only wanted the good but what about how the system failed me. This all to make investors like lotto chant and increase their numbers.”

Share with us:

Share your experience of adoption with us, and we could publish your story. Anonymous contributions are always welcome.

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Read more:

Everything you need to know about adoption in South Africa

Pregnancy doesn't make you a mother

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