Adopting Children from South Africa International


South Africa has signed an international convention on inter-country adoptions. The Children’s Act details the required procedure for inter-country adoptions.
Should you wish to pursue an international adoption into South Africa you must contact a social worker that deals with inter-country adoptions. The social will liaise directly with the Registrar of Adoptions in Pretoria via the Departmental Provincial Head Office with the Affiliated Bureau for International Social Services (ISS) in South Africa.

South Africa recognises two kinds of adoptions by foreigners:
1) those completed by foreign residents of South Africa, and
The first category requires the foreigners to be resident for 5 years in South Africa and the adoptions are handled by an accredited agency and finalized by the Department of Social Development.

2) international adoptions where foreigners are given children to adopt in their home country.
South African subscribes to the Hague Convention (since 2003), which regulates inter-country adoptions, in order to prevent child trafficking and kidnapping. According to the Hague Convention, only people from countries that subscribe (e.g. Finland and Belgium) may adopt South African children. Each country which subscribes to the Hague Convention must have a central authority regulating this kind of adoption, and only reputable non-governmental organisations may set up and manage these adoptions. If money changes hands, it must go to the organisation (not individuals). Up to 5 years after the adoption, social workers in that country must submit regular reports to the South African body.

Adoption laws in South Africa are governed by the Child Care Act of 1983, which require social workers and adoption agencies to “give due consideration” to language, religion and culture when matching prospective parents with children.

Who can adopt a child in South Africa?

A married couple can jointly adopt a child.
Partners in a life-partnership (including same-sex partners) can jointly adopt a child.
A person who has married a natural parent of a child can adopt the child (adoption of a step-child).
A single person (a widow or widower or an unmarried or divorced person) can adopt a child as a single person.