Have you ever wanted to be a mom and thought of adoption but maybe been put off by what you’ve heard? Whether you thinking about family rituals, the cost or maybe what if I accept this person and they don’t fit in or misbehave?
Well, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are about 3.7 million orphans in South Africa. This means there are many kids seeking homes and you could be their new mom.
Beverley Beukes, managing director of Oasis Haven, a non-profit organisation that cares for and advocates for adoption for abandoned children, says adoption is one of the best ways to address the orphan crisis in the country. “There are, however, so many misconceptions surrounding adoption that many people reject the idea of adopting, even when they are unable to have children of their own.”
She debunks several myths around adoption and encourages families in South Africa to consider offering a ‘forever’ home to orphaned children.
Myth 1: Fostering versus adoption – there is no difference between the child
“The knowledge that you really belong, that you have the same name as your parents and other siblings and that you are part of a ‘forever’ commitment is critical for a child in so many ways, emotionally, economically and psychologically. In the foster parent situation, children do not truly feel part of the family, but more like visitors. This sense of impermanence can make them feel insecure.”
Myth 2: Most adoptive children display behavioural problems
“This could be because families tend to seek help early on if they notice issues in their adoptive children while ignoring issues with their biological children, thinking they can manage them themselves. Whatever the case, the idea that most adoptive children have behavioural problems is unfounded. Any child who receives the love and attention he or she deserves is more likely to thrive than become a ‘problem’.”
Myth 3: Any orphan is adoptable
“We have seen many volunteers fall in love with a particular child and assume that because the child is in a children’s home, he or she can be adopted. The truth is, however, that all children are not adoptable. If a child is in a home, but still has a parent, who shows up from time to time, he or she may not be adoptable unless said parent stops being a part of the child’s life and signs over his or her right to be the child’s parent.”
Myth 4: Effective parenting is determined by the marital, religious or economic status
“The Children’s Act merely requires that potential parents be screened and found capable of meeting a child’s needs.”
Myth 5: The adoption process is bogged down by unnecessary red tape
“Bearing in mind that this is a forever decision, it does need careful consideration. Potential adoptive parents need to undergo emotional and financial evaluations. These are objective assessments, aimed at protecting the child and ensuring parents are properly prepared for the commitment they are about to make.”