World Adoption Day highlights plight of kids

Children with special needs, older children and abandoned children have been found to be least likely to be adopted, say the Department of Social Development and the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (Nacsa).

World Adoption Day was marked earlier this week.

There was a misconception that there were many babies waiting to be adopted, said Sihle Ngobese, department spokesperson.

The Western Cape currently had between 70 and 80 adoptions per quarter, said Ngobese.

Nacsa’s Pam Wilson said: “There has been a steady decrease in the adoption rates over the last few years.”

With the introduction of the new Children’s Act, several new procedures had been added to the process of adoption, which were positive in theory, “but unfortunately it comes down to how these new processes are interpreted by the officials administering them”.

However, Wilson said there was always a need for more adoptive parents.

“Adoption can be a very positive, wonderful and rewarding experience and can bring the joy of parenting to so many childless couples.

“But not only childless couples, but also to single
parents and families who already have two or three children and would like to increase their family by adopting a child,” said Wilson.

Ngobese advised contacting a designated child protection organisation or an adoption agency to assist in the adoption process.

Nacsa also launched its Right Way to Adopt campaign this month.

“We have seen examples on social media of desperate mothers advertising children for ‘adoption’, or unregistered and unaccredited baby homes ‘selling’ children to
unknowing parents,” child protection researcher Dee Blackie said.

“Such ad hoc allocation of guardians to abandoned children is contradictory to the rigorous screening and government intervention that takes place during a formal adoption,” she said.

“Ultimately we need to educate people that anything less than the right way to adopt amounts to child trafficking,” said Blackie.

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