How racist officials stall and red tape strangles adoption hopes as needy babies are trapped in bureaucratic nightmare.
The first instalment (“Black like me,” nose191) relating my experiences as a white South African who has adopted black kids, noted my encounters with American transrace-adoptive parents via a Facebook group. I discovered there the extent to which South Africans and north Americans truly do live in different worlds. So let’s look at some South African realities of the situation.
The last census predicted that the number of orphans and vulnerable children in this country would increase from 3.37 million to 5.5 million by 2015 (see “Child alone”, nose184). Adoption isn’t keeping up – in fact we’re looking at a sharp decline in adoption over the past few years. Some 14,803 adoptions were registered between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2010 – roughly 2,400 per year. However, the 2004 figure was 2,840; by 2013 it had dropped to 1,699.
Let’s recall here that among the reasons for introducing the 2005 Child Act was, apparently, government acceptance of the idea that whites were attempting to “steal” black children. Somehow, transracial adoption was looking sinister, as if it were the latest tactic to restore colonisation.
Blame for the decline has been laid at various doors, lack of financial aid to adoptive parents being another. Let it be noted though, that while adoption is not a cultural norm nor frequent among black communities, orphaned or unwanted children are very often absorbed into the larger family, for which the family receives a foster grant.