Have you Considered Adoption? | Western Cape Government

Have you Considered Adoption?

(Western Cape Government)

An alarming 550 babies were abandoned in the Western Cape between September 2010 and October 2012. Although the number of such incidences has declined when compared to previous years, an increase in abandonment of new-born babies is concerning.


What are the likely causes of baby abandonment?
Reasons for baby abandonment may include the following:

  • Lack of support from family
  • Poverty and unemployment
  • History of sexual abuse or assault
  • Depression as a result of not being prepared to be a parent

For advice on choices available to pregnant mothers you can contact a Social Development office in your area.

Adoption is one of the most effective ways of curbing baby abandonment as it allows a child to have a permanent or stable family life they wouldn't have had.

Who can adopt a baby?

  • A married couple in a joint adoption.
  • Life partners, same sex or otherwise, in a joint adoption.
  • A person who has married the parent of a child can adopt the child, with the biological fathers consent. This is called the adoption of a stepchild.
  • A single person can adopt a child.

What types of adoption are available?

Closed Adoption - this type of adoption limits the birth parents rights and control over their biological child. They have no control over the child's adoptive placement or wherabouts. Equally the parents adopting the child know little about the childs history.

Open Adoption - in this type of adoption the birth parents have more rights as they specify the type of family that they would prefer for the placement of their child. The birth and adoptive parents will meet and develop a lifelong relationship.

Semi-open adoption - this is, as it states, a combination between a Closed and an Open adoption. The birth parents will have rights over where their child is placed and will maintain some level of contact; usually letters and photos, but via the adoption agency. The discretion of the adoptive parents however takes precedence.

Legal considerations

Consent for an adoption of a child ends the relationship between the biological parents and the child and the biological parents have no parental responsibilities or rights to the child.

If the biological parents of the child are alive, they must both consent to the adoption.

Consent is not necessary if the parent or guardian:

  • Is incompetent to give consent due to mental illness
  • Had abandoned the child, or if the whereabouts of that parent or guardian cannot be established, or if the identity of that parent or guardian is unknown
  • Has abused or deliberately neglected the child or has allowed the child to be abused or deliberately neglected
  • Has consistently failed to fulfil his or her parental responsibilities towards the child during the last 12 months
  • Has been divested by an order of court of the right to consent to the adoption of the child or
  • Has failed to respond to a notice of the proposed adoption (referred to in Section 238 of the Children's Act 38/2005) within the 30 days of service of notice.

Both the mother and the father must sign the consent form to allow the adoption by a specific person or couple.

If the biological parents are not married the mother and father must also give consent for the adoption of the child. Biological parents can withdraw their consent within 60 days of signing their consent.

If the child is ten years or older, the child must also consent to the adoption. If the child is in foster care, the foster parents must also certify that they do not wish to adopt the child.

For more information, you can contact the Western Cape Government Child Care and Protection Services:

Ms Nomfundo Nabela
Tel: 021 483 4016
E-mail: Nomfundo.Nabela@westerncape.gov.za
Ms Shirley Davis
Tel: 021 483 4153
E-mail: Shirley.Davis@westerncape.gov.za
Ms Ancilla Adonis
Tel: 021 483 4631
E-mail: Ancilla.Adonis@westerncape.gov.za
Mr Alfred Harris
Tel: 021 483 6113
E-mail: Alfred.Harris@westerncape.gov.za
Ms Tozama Ngcongolo
Tel: 021 483 5813
E-mail: Tozama.Ngcongolo@westerncape.gov.za

The content on this page was last updated on 22 May 2018