Durban - Between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 there were just 1 186 adoptions registered in South Africa. Sadly, this number is a decrease from previous years.
According to Katinka Pieterse of the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa, there are many children who could benefit from adoptions.
In a bid to raise awareness, NACSA is launching its “Experience the magic of the right fit” campaign on World Adoption Day, under its umbrella initiative AddOption.
The campaign will focus on how the lives of children are changed when they find that special someone who has been waiting for them.
The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 and relevant national policies prioritise adoption as a preferred form of alternative permanent family care for adoptable children. The process is, however, plagued by various obstacles including:
Limited knowledge - Many people have limited knowledge of how the adoption process works and as a result it is often not an option that they naturally consider. Thankfully, with the aid of adoption bodies such as NACSA, there are many avenues available to find out about and embrace adoption as the best permanent alternative solution for adoptable children.
Social and cultural - There are countless myths around cross-cultural adoptions, even more so in same culture adoptions where social norms heavily influence the practice of adoption. Overcoming these myths and highlighting the magic that the right fit brings to a family is at the heart of NACSA’s world adoption day campaign.
Systemic barriers - Adoption is a long and cumbersome process that has its fair share of systemic challenges and delays. A lack of experienced operators on the ground that have the capacity and expertise to mediate the adoption process is a focal point that the adoption community continues to work on.
Affordability - Many families are experiencing the impact of challenging financial times which could influence their decision to adopt. However, the adoption process itself is not a costly undertaking, with many service providers rendering their services free of charge, which makes it affordable.
Pieterse said as the adoption community, NACSA has been working hard to navigate these challenges.
“It will take a long-term coordinated effort that involves all stakeholders in the sector to address the challenges, specifically the systemic challenges which can be instrumental in preventing children from finding forever families through adoptions,” she said.
Pieterse said one of the resounding myths that NACSA often hears is that the parents need to have ‘the perfect family’ in order to adopt.
“While there are a number of factors that the process will confirm to ensure the wellbeing of the child, we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect family. What adoption is more likely to bring about is a very special child that needs your love and care and fits your family perfectly and completes it,” she said.
One such parent who is now raising her beautiful daughter is Durban businesswoman and mom, Vera Vencatasamy.
“I think adoption is a blessing all around when it's done right.I am so grateful and honored to be the mum of an almost 3 year old toddler. Adoption Day means a day to celebrate our families born from our heart. Adoption is the most beautiful, challenging and crazy experiences, however it has given both my husband and I the privilege of being parents,” she said.
Experiencing the magic of the right fit is what NACSA’s adoption campaign is all about for 2018. There are so many families who would really like to adopt, but don’t know where to start. Finding that right fit could be as easy as visiting www.adoption.org.za; emailing [email protected] or sending a WhatsApp to 07252134290.