What is involved in the adoption process?
The actual screening process will differ depending on who and where you adopt through, but this is a guidline on what to expect as based on JHB Child Welfare:
Interesting artilce on the process: http://all4baby.co.za/falling-pregnant/infertility/896/guide-adoption-south-africa/
Johannesburg Child Welfare Society screening procedures for prospective adoptive applicants.
Orientation Meeting – new applicants are invited to attend an orientation meeting where they will be informed about all aspects of the adoption process. Te meeting lasts approximately 2 hours. At the end of the orientation meeting, applicants are given application forms which they will complete in their own time and return to the adoption department together with certified copies of their I.D's, marriage certificate, payslip, divorce decree ( if divorced), death certificate ( if widowed). They will also include 2 colour photographs of themselves. Once the competed application forms are received, the applicants will be allocated to a specific social worker, who will contact them to make an appointment for their 1st interview.
1st Interview: duration =/- 2 hours
The social worker will get to know the applicants, go into their motivation to adopt etc. She will pick up on various issues discussed in the orientation meeting and go into these areas in more detail with the applicants eg. Their expectations regarding the ages, sex and race of the child they are wanting to adopt. Infertility issues are explored in this interview – are they resolved? The procedures involved from there on are explained to them once again and at the end of the interview, medical forms are given to the applicants. Pre-test counselling is done with regard to HIV test they will be having during the medical examination.
The applicants have a list of doctors to choose from and it is then up
to the applicants to make an appointment to see the doctors. The
applicants will be responsible for their own medical assessment costs.
We will not proceed with the screening until the medical report is
received from our doctors. The doctor will either approve the
applicant as medically fit to adopt or they may be required to
undergo further tests, treatments etc. They may also not approve
applicants due to life threatening medical problems.
2nd Interview – duration =/- 2 hours
The nature of the second interview will depend on the outcome of the medicals.
If the applicants have been turned down medically the social worker
will go into the reasons for this with the applicants. Post-test
counselling is done with those applicants who have received a
positive HIV test result.
Being turned down medically does not automatically exclude an
applicant from proceeding with the adoption screening as the social
worker will look at the situation as a whole and discuss the
implications of proceeding. The applicant may be expected to fulfill
additional requirements in order to proceed with screening.
Should the applicants be passed medically, then the social worker will
go into the background histories of the applicants eg. Childhood
relationship with parents and siblings, extended family, discipline
issues, schooling, further study, job history, community involvement,
friends and leisure time activities, marital relationship, income and
how applicants manage finances – can they cope financially with the
needs of a child.
3rd Interview – duration +/- 2 hours
Each partner in the marriage will be seen seperately. While the one is being interviewed, the other will separately complete a Marriage Enrich Questionnaire. This is a marriage assessment tool and the completed questionnaires are sent to the Family Life Centre, where a
computer programme highlights the strenghts and weaknesses in the marriage. The applicants cover the costs of the marriage assessment
themselves. The results of the marriage assessment are returned to
the social worker.
5. 4th Interview – duration +/- 3 hours:
This interview focuses on the Marriage Enrich Feedback. It is an in-depth interview and covers all aspects of the applicants relationship.
This usually happens at the end of the interview phase. The social worker visits the applicants at home in order to see the environment where the child will be living as well as to see the applicants in their own environment and in a more relaxed situation.
Should the applicants be from out of town, the home visit will be done
by the local agency and a home circumtances report will be submitted
to the screening social worker. Once a baby is placed, the local
agency will also finalize the adoption.
The applicants will be expected to attend two 5 hour training sessions.
These are usually held over 2 weeks eg 2 consecutive Wednesdays. The meetings are held at the Princess Alice Home in Westcliff.
The training is an important and vital part of the adoption screening process. Areas covered include a) fertility issues, illegitimacy issues, biological parents, how to deal with the child's background information, how to tell a child about his adoption, the adoptee's parenting issues. The applicants are exposed to the actual people involved in the whole adoption triad – they will listen to a birth mother tell her story, an adoptive parent talking about the experience of raising and adopted child, and an adoptee who has searched and perhaps made contact with his/her biological parent.
The applicants need to supply us with 4 names of people who will give us character references on the applicant.
At the end of this process applicants who have completed the
process successfully will be placed on our waiting list.
This is the procedure generally followed in the screening and
assessment of prospective adoptive applicants. It is however not
cast in stone and if a social worker has particular concerns about
applicants during the screening process, she can use her discretion
with regard to having additional interviews with the applicants or
referring them for psychological assessments.
We also have a fee structure depending on the income of the applicants.