Adoption in South Africa

Some background info

We started the adoption process in February 2016. This involved several consultations and screenings with 2 private social workers.

I’m not going into details about the process as there are plenty of online resources available.

We were matched with our little one in February 2017. Our lives changed forever. We are so blessed. 😊

It is now 15 August 2019. We received amazing news that our adoption order has finally been signed by the court. About 2.5 years from the date of placement. We are so incredibly relieved! Our little one is turning 3 years old in 2.5 months.

Unfortunately now isn’t the time to relax.

What happens now?

After scouring through adoption group forums, this is my understanding of the adoption process from the time the Adoption Order is signed.

  1. The adoption order is sent to the National Adoption registrar in Pretoria to be registered. (Our social worker will be collecting this from the court and delivering it herself to the Registrar).
  2. We’ve been advised that it takes 3 to 6 months for an adoption to be registered at the Registrar. I’ve read that it can take longer.
  3. Once the adoption has been registered, you receive a letter from (Department of Social Development) DSD. You can now apply for a Surname change at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
  4. Apply for the noting of the adoption at DHA.
  5. Apply for surname change.
  6. If changing your little one’s name. Apply for a first-name change.
  7. I’ve read that surname change and first-name change are 2 separate processes, but you can apply at the same time.
  8. Apply for a new unabridged birth certificate.
  9. Apply for a passport for international travel.
  10. If you want to travel earlier, take the original birth certificate + the adoption order and apply for a new birth certificate (with the original birth name/surname) and both parent’s names. *Note, do this before applying for surname/first-name change.
  11. Apply for a passport with your child’s original birth name/surname.

Some questions

Why do some parents go through the entire adoption process so quickly vs some that take years and years?

Why is this part of the process (post adoption order signing) so cumbersome?

Why does the registration take so long?

Why does DHA have separate processes for:

  1. Noting the adoption
  2. Surname change
  3. First-name change
  4. New unabridged birth certificate with parent’s names.

I’ve put this information into an infographic. I hope somebody finds it useful. 🙂

What happens after the adoption order has been signed? South African Adoption process.