National Adoption Coalition Conference – Johannesburg March 2011

Wowee! I am back from the wonderful National Adoption Coalition Conference! A small group of concerned people got together and formed a coalition for anyone who is a role-player in adoption. This tiny team has spent the past few months designing a website, an ad campaign and a conference. Around 110 delegates attended the conference at Monte Casino. The delegates were made up of staff from the Department of Social Development, Child Welfare, Private adoption social workers, adoptive parents, a media company and more. We spent 2 very interesting days hashing out the problems and solutions to the world of adoption in South Africa.

Here are some fascinating (and terrifying) stats:

  • There are 18.8 million children in South Africa
  • 1.5 million – 2 million are adoptable
  • That makes up 4% of the total population and and 40% of the child population
  • 0.2% of these adoptable children are getting adopted and that number is declining.
  • 38% of the adoptable kids are in Foster Care which is not a permanent solution
  • There were 5000 teenage pregnancies is Gauteng in 2010 which will result in births in 2011

Clearly, we have a problem.  The new Children’s Act is very protective of our children but it has also slowed the process of adoption down somewhat.  The Department of Social Development is very committed to getting the process to be fast & efficient in the near future.  In fact everyone who attended the conference, made a commitment to do their bit to get these kids into permanent and loving homes.

See the logo above?  The bundle of sticks?  That is a symbol of all of us role-players pulling together to make it happen.  At the conference, we all signed a stick on a board to show our commitment.

Unfortunately, there were no stats available on the race of adoptable kids and race of waiting-to-adopt families.  Suffice to say though that the majority of adoptable kids are Black and then Coloured with a tiny amount of Whites and Indians.  On the other hand, the majority of adults waiting to adopt are White and then Coloured with very few Indians and Blacks adopting.

So….the question is:  Is it better to send a baby into a loving, permanent, secure home which may involve being raised by people who are from a different race, culture or religion or to leave a baby in the foster system until the perfect match comes along?  What about gay couples, single people, older people, disabled people?  What is the long term implication of a baby growing up with a family who is “different” vs growing up with no family.  I know my answer …I would love to hear yours…………..