First in a series highlighting our new adoption program in South Africa.
Spence-Chapin is excited to announce our newest international adoption program in South Africa. We’re able to offer this wonderful program in partnership with Johannesburg Child Welfare (JCW), an organization that has been at the forefront of providing direct services to children and families since 1909.
South Africa is one of the most diverse and multicultural countries in the world. In addition to the country’s indigenous black majority, colonialism and immigration have led to the largest communities of Asian, European, and racially mixed ancestry on the African continent. South Africa is home to 11 official languages, with English and Afrikaans being the most widely used. Families and children face a host of social and economic challenges in South Africa, a nation with a long history of poverty and inequality, and while access to anti-retroviral treatment has increased in recent years, HIV/AIDs remains a prominent health concern in the country.
Children in Need of Homes
Both boys and girls are available for adoption in this program, as well as sibling groups, with the youngest children being 18 months to 2 years old at the time of referral. There are many preschoolers and school-aged children waiting for families as well.
Every country that participates in international adoption creates their own eligibility criteria for families, and Spence-Chapin upholds all requirements as outlined by the South African authorities. Married heterosexual couples and single women must submit their dossier to South Africa prior to their 48th birthday. Couples must be married at least three years. Medical, legal, and mental health issues must be assessed prior to beginning the adoption process. South Africa is particularly interested in matching children with black families and those interested in adopting children who have historically been harder to place, such as sibling groups, school-aged children, and children who have the HIV virus.
Timing and Travel
It is expected that families will wait up to 1.5 years for a referral of a child after their application is submitted. Following acceptance of referral from the South African Central Authority, families will be eligible to travel to South Africa to complete their adoption after filing appropriate paperwork with U.S. immigration.
Families will spend 2 weeks fully escorted in South Africa, where they will have ongoing contact with social work staff from JCW, and will have access to cultural excursions. Families will stay at a comfortable and family friendly hotel for the duration of their trip.
Adoption will be considered full and final under South African law and children will be granted full U.S. citizenship upon arrival and after homecoming, families will complete post-placement evaluations
Families Outside of the NY/NJ metro area
We will gladly work with families outside the NY/NJ area through our networking partners.
There are several categories of fees and expenses that adoptive families should anticipate when considering an international adoption. For an explanation of these, please refer to the Understanding Fees and Expenses page. Included in these fees is a separate country program fee which varies. For South Africa it is $4,800. The program fee includes the professional services provided by Johannesburg Child Welfare as well as a donation to support ongoing services to birth parents and children.
The connection between Spence-Chapin and JCW was forged in 2003 and has deepened in the years since, thanks to a strong shared commitment to permanency for children. In April 2011, Spence-Chapin was delighted to open our first Granny Program in Africa at JCW’s Othandweni Family Care Center in Soweto. Our Granny Program is an outstanding humanitarian aid initiative that gives institutionalized children the opportunity to form important healthy attachments with a trusted adult. Due to our effective partnership and JCW’s strong oversight, 20 children are reaping the emotional and developmental benefits of having a granny.