Adoption Process In South Africa (2023)

Adoption is a legal process that establishes a permanent parent-child relationship between individuals who are not biologically related. Adoption provides a legal framework for individuals or couples who are unable to have biological children or who choose to expand their family through adoption.

The Adoption process in South Africa includes a lot of phases. Adoption can take different forms, including domestic adoption (adopting a child within one’s own country), international adoption (adopting a child from another country), foster care adoption (adopting a child who has been in foster care), and kinship adoption (adopting a child who is related to the adoptive parents, such as a grandchild or niece).

What Are The Processes For Adoption In South Africa?

Here is a brief overview of the adoption process in South Africa:

  • Eligibility

It is highly important in South Africa that the prospective adoptive parents meet certain eligibility criteria, such as being citizens or permanent residents, being at least 18 years old, and being able to provide a safe and stable home for the child. It will be impossible to adopt if any of the requirements is lacking or not met.

  • Application

Another important part of the adoption process in South Africa is application. Prospective adoptive parents will have to apply to an accredited adoption agency, along with supporting documents.

These documents may include identity documents, marriage certificates, and proof of income. The provision of these documents is crucial to the process of adoption in South Africa.

  • Assessment

In addition, assessment is vital to the process. The adoption agency will conduct a social and financial assessment of the prospective adoptive parents to determine their suitability to adopt.

If the assessment shows that the prospective adoptive parents are not capable of taking care of a child based on some social or financial deficit, then the adoption plan will be cancelled.

  • Matching

After the assessment, the stage has been carried out by the agency and it is apparent that the prospective parents can handle the needs of the child and are deemed suitable, then the adoption agency will try to match them with a child who is legally free for adoption.

  • Placement

After getting a child that is a good match for the parents, then the placement part comes into the process. This part of the adoption process means that the child will be placed with the prospective adoptive parents for a trial period to assess the compatibility between the child and the family.

  • Finalization

The last part of the process can be regarded as ‘finalization’. At this point, if the trial period is successful, the adoption agency will apply to the Children’s Court for an adoption order, which will make the adoption legal and permanent.

  • Post-adoption support

Also, after the adoption is finalized, the adoption agency may provide post-adoption support to the adoptive family, such as counselling or guidance on parenting.

How Long Does the Adoption Process Take In South Africa?

The time for an adoption process to be successful in South Africa varies depending on the agency used.

How Much Does Adoption Cost In South Africa?

The cost of adoption in South Africa can vary depending on different factors, such as the type of adoption, the legal fees involved, and the fees charged by the adoption agency or social worker.

In general, the cost of adoption in South Africa can range from approximately R15,000 to R40,000 or more. This can include fees for the adoption agency or social worker, legal fees, medical expenses, and other administrative costs.

Besides, it is crucial to note that some of these costs may be covered by the government or through subsidies, especially for adoptive parents who meet certain income criteria or who are adopting a child with special needs.

What Are The Major Reasons Why Adoption Is Important?

  • Providing a loving and stable home

Adoptive parents can provide a safe and stable home environment for a child who may have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or abandonment. This can help the child feel loved, supported, and secure, which can have positive impacts on their physical, emotional, and social development.

  • Building A Family

Adopting a child can provide a way for individuals or couples who are unable to have biological children to build a family and experience the joys and challenges of parenting. It can also provide a sense of fulfilment and purpose in life.

  • Supporting A Child’s Growth and Development

Adoptive parents can play a vital role in a child’s growth and development by providing emotional support, guidance, and opportunities for learning and exploration. This can help the child reach their full potential and achieve their goals.

  • It Is A Way Of Giving Back To The Society

Adopting a child can be a way of giving back to society and making a positive difference in a child’s life. It can also help reduce the number of children who are living in institutional care or in the foster care system, which can have long-term negative impacts on their well-being.

  • Creating A Multicultural Family

Adopting a child from a different race or culture can provide opportunities for the adoptive family to learn about and appreciate different cultures and traditions. It can also promote diversity and acceptance in the family and society.



South Africa is one of the best places in the world to adopt a child, as there are many children in need of loving homes. In adoption, the legal rights and responsibilities of the child’s biological parents are transferred to the adoptive parents, and the child becomes a legal member of the adoptive family.

The adoption process in South Africa involves a legal and social assessment of the prospective adoptive parents to ensure that they can provide a safe, loving, and stable home for the child. Adopting a child in South Africa can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Moreover, it is essential to carry out thorough research and consult with professionals to understand the process and requirements involved.