Albert Fritz, MEC for Social Development
I recently spoke with a concerned adoptive father regarding Sections 249 and 259 of the Amendment Bill for the Children’s Act of 2005 which will ensure that all fees related to the adoptive process are scrapped. The adoptive father shared with me the moving story of how he and his wife came to adopt their daughter. The child is still in the protective care process and her name cannot be shared, however, hers is a story of the hope and opportunity that adoption brings.
The young girl’s biological mother had had an unplanned pregnancy. In an act of love and pure selflessness, she chose to have her adopted so that she could enjoy the best possible life, which included opportunities for travel and education that she otherwise would not have had.
The girl’s biological mother chose a life of stability for her daughter with a loving and caring adoptive family.
Understanding the tremendous sacrifice of the biological mother, the new adoptive parents have opted to share photos and updates of the child with the biological mother through a social worker. Additionally, the young girl will be able to meet her biological mother once she turns 18 years old, provided that she chooses to.
I was then curious about the inter-cultural aspect of the adoption and asked him, are you as family taking any measures to educate your daughter on her heritage?
The adoptive father explained that he and his wife are studying her biological mother’s culture and language and will actively try to raise their daughter in both her biological and adopted cultures.
While the adoptive father admitted that adoption is not without difficulty, he explained that he, his wife and his daughter received ample support from the social workers from their respective private adoption agency and from the adoptive community as a
Stories such as these remind me of the importance of adoption in our society. There are currently 3.7 million orphaned and vulnerable children in our country, and we can scarcely afford to eliminate another successful form of child protection.
By making it illegal to charge fees for adoptive services, we are not only increasing the workload of state social workers, but we are also eliminating an entire industry which not only facilitates the majority of adoptions but also employs countless professionals including private social workers, medical professionals, adoption agencies, psychologists, immigration specialists and many others. In short, adoptions in South Africa will grind to a halt.