Finding Information about Biological Parents

As an adopted child, you can start a search for your biological parents if you are over 18 years old. If you are between 18 and 21, you will need to have your adoptive parents' written permission. If you are over 21 you can search without your adoptive parents' permission.

Before you can start the search, you will receive counselling by a social worker.

Adoption records are kept for 70 years and are the initial source of information. The records are kept with the Registrar of Adoptions in Pretoria. The following records are kept:

  • The consent form.
  • The adoptive parents' application.
  • The social worker's report on the adoptive parents.
  • The social worker's report on the birth parents (if it exists).

Specific information regarding an adoption may be given to any person at the discretion of the Registrar. However, the identity of the parties cannot be made known. For example, medical information can be made available to a doctor.

Biological parents can only have access to the adoption records if the adoptive parents and the child give their written consent. If they refuse, the biological parents can leave their details in the file so that they can be contacted if the adoptive parents or child change their minds.

For more information, contact the Registrar of Adoptions at the National Department of Social Development in Pretoria.

Mrs Marikie Botha
Registrar of Adoptions, Department of Social Development
Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001
Tel: 012 312 7608
Fax: 086 214 6749
Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)
The content on this page was last updated on 13 February 2017