Inter-country family adoption

About
What you should do
How long does it take
How much does it cost
Forms to complete
Who to contact

 

 

About family or blood related inter-country adoption

It is possible to adopt the child of your South African relative and have the child to live with you abroad. If you are in South Africa and the child lives in another country, you can get the child to join you in South Africa once you have adopted the child in the foreign country.

Inter-country adoption entails the legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from birth parent(s) to you across international borders.

To adopt the child of a relative of yours who is based in South Africa you must approach the Central Authority the country where you live. If there is no competent authority in your country, you can contact International Social Services (ISS) in that country to facilitate the adoption.

The ISS is an international not-for-profit organisation which pays particular attention to vulnerable expatriate children. It is active in around 140 countries through a network of national branches, social workers, affiliated bureaus and correspondents.

If the child lives in another country, you must approach the South African Central Authority (Saca), which will refer the matter to an accredited child protection organisation. If the child protection organisation finds you to be a suitable prospective adoptive parent after screening and assessment, it will compile a comprehensive report and send it to the Central Authority of the foreign country. The foreign Central Authority will, in turn, investigate and compile a child study report and send it to South Africa.

Should both countries agree to the adoption, you will have to go to the foreign country to finalise the adoption.

Family or blood-related adoptions can be done with any country without a working agreement in place (Hague Convention or non-Hague Convention signatory).

What you should do

When South Africa is the country of origin, the procedure is as follows:

  1. If you are living in a foreign country and want to adopt a South African child related to you, you must contact the Central Authority in the country where you live.
  2. An accredited adoption organisation will assess and screen you to determine your suitability as a prospective adoptive parent. If the organisation finds you to be fit and proper to adopt, it will compile a comprehensive home study report and send it to the Saca, which will in turn forward it to an accredited child protection organisation.
  3. The South African child protection organisation will investigate and assess the adoptability of the child. The social worker will ensure that every person who ought to consent to the adoption gives consent through the Children’s Court.
  4. Affected parties will be given 60 days in which they can withdraw their consent  before the child is considered adoptable
  5. The adoption organisation will compile a comprehensive child study report and send it to the foreign country.
  6. Should both countries agree to the adoption, you will have to come to South Africa for the finalisation of the adoption.

If you are living in South Africa and want to adopt a child you are related to but who is in a foreign country, the procedure for such adoption is as follows:

  1. You must contact the Saca which in turn will refer the matter to an accredited child protection organisation.
  2. The child protection organisation will assess and screen you to determine your suitability as a prospective adoptive parent. If the organisation finds you to be fit and proper to adopt, it will compile a comprehensive home study report and send it to the foreign Central Authority.
  3. The foreign Central Authority, through their organisation, will investigate the adoptability of the child and compile a comprehensive child study report. The report will be forwarded to the Saca.
  4. Should both countries agree to the adoption, you will have to travel to the foreign country to finalise the adoption.

How long does it take

It differs from one case to another.

How much does it cost

You must pay to an accredited child protection organisation in respect of an inter-country adoption.

Forms to complete

Contact the Central Authority in the country where you live.

Who to contact

Contact the Central Authority in the country where you live.