Thanks for everyone who commented on Friday’s post regarding Adoption Questions from our Social Worker. I have forwarded them on and will definitely share the link once their website is up and running.
Having been through the profiling process twice and the selection process once, I can share some of the information that I have learned and will answer some of your questions below from what I have learned throughout our adoption journey:
Is Their An Age Limit On Who Can Adopt?
Short answer NO! Obviously this only applies to private adoptions in South Africa. Everything surrounding the selection of the AP’s is dependent on the BM’s and each of them will have a specific idea in mind of who they would like to parent their child. Our BM was older so she had no issues placing Ava with us and I was 37 with Ava’s placement and it’s looking like I’ll be 40 or older with our second placement.
How Long Does The Process Take?
There is no straight forward answer for this question. The profiling and assessments are done with your SW and then you will still be required to get police clearance and clearance of the Sexual Offenders registry. Once that is done, you will need to submit a profile which is a rather long and time consuming exercise. After all the documentation is done, you will then wait for selection which can be anything from 3 weeks, as was the case with Ava’s placement with us, but I do know of couples who have waited as long as 5 years for selection.
How Do You Choose Or Who Chooses Which Child/Baby Will Be Placed With You?
This is entirely the BM’s choice. No one will make the decision for her. The SW will match your profile and assessments with her along with a number of other potential AP’s and the BM will then make her selection. The decision is the BM’s/BP’s entirely.
What Are My Options? Can I Make Gender Selections, Cultural Selections, Age Selections, Race Selections?
The SW’s will run through all the various options with you and when completing your paperwork you will be required to specify your choices. Of course, the more choices you make the more difficult it becomes to be matched with a BM.
There are also more choices available than one would imagine. I found this part of the assessment very sad and difficult as you’re really forced to examine what type of parenting you are available to. Aside from the usual gender, race, age questions. You will also need to specify if you are open to adopting a child from any of the following:
Life Threatening Illness
Non-Life Threatening Illness
I found this part very difficult to answer. The race question is also not as simple as one would think. When we went for our assessment we wanted to adopt a Caucasian baby. By the end of the assessements and having spent time with our SW’s we were much more open to adopting a child with a number of the points listed above and as fate would have it, Ava is what’s termed Mixed Race. Her one BP is Caucasian and the other is Colored. If you’re not South African, you probably won’t understand the various race classifications.
What do Social workers or institutions look at in your daily or family life, when you put yourself up for adopting a child?
A lot of what the SW’s learn about AP’s is gleaned from open conversation with AP’s. But we were also required to complete medical clearances and police clearances proving we had no criminal records. As well as getting clearance from the sexual offenders register and clearance from the child protection register proving we had not abused or sexually assaulted a child. There are also a lot of questions which have to be answered which look at suicidal tendencies, depression, mental illness, physical health, substance abuse, health of the marriage (if applying as a married couple) etc etc etc.
Please note that all of what I have written above is my own personal experience and will vary from SW to SW and also from AP’s to AP.
Any other questions you think should be covered by our SW or that you’d like me to answer regarding my own personal adoption experience? Baring in mind that I will not answer any specific questions re. Ava’s BM or circumstance surrounding her placement.
I look forward to answering or forwarding any of your questions.