Your South Africa adoption journey starts here.

Spence-Chapin connects children under the age of 10 with an identified developmental or medical need to permanent loving families. Spence-Chapin began its South Africa International Adoption Program in 2013 and is one of only three U.S. organizations accredited to do adoptions in South Africa and one of only two authorized to work exclusively with Johannesburg Child Welfare, a social services organization serving Johannesburg families since 1909.

South Africa is a Hague Convention Country, and the central authority in South Africa that is responsible for all intercountry adoption matters is the Department of Social Development.

View our events calendar to register for an upcoming free South Africa Adoption Webinar!

Where is South Africa?


Interested in a different country? We also have international adoption programs in Colombia and Bulgaria.

Program Details


  • Gender: Male and Female*

  • Race/Ethnicity: Black South African, Zulu, Xhosa*

  • Ages: 0-10 years old at the time of referral.

  • Sibling groups: Siblings usually are not in need of intercountry adoption from South Africa.

  • Special Characteristics: All children placed through this program have special needs. The following needs have been identified by our foreign supervised provider as the most common needs of children waiting for adoption from South Africa: HIV and unknown or unpredictable developmental delays.

*Families are not permitted to gender or race specify.


  • Age: Up to 48. Applicants over 48 should consult with Spence-Chapin.

  • Marital Status: Heterosexual and same sex married and unmarried couples as well as single men and women can apply to adopt. Married couples who have not been married for at least 3 years should consult with Spence-Chapin.

  • Family Composition: Families with 4 or more children will not be eligible to adopt from South Africa. South Africa requires that families adopt within birth order.

  • Medical: Identified medical conditions, including mental health diagnosis, will be considered on a case by case basis by the country’s Central Authority, the Department of Social Development.


  • Predicted wait time to be matched with a child: Approximately 18-24 months after submission of the dossier.

  • Travel: In order to complete the adoption process, families must make one trip to South Africa of approximately 4-6 weeks in length. Couples must both travel to country and be present for finalization.

Family Stories

Read stories about Spence-Chapin families adopting from South Africa here.

The Granny Program

Spence-Chapin’s South Africa Granny Program pairs children living in children’s homes in Johannesburg to caregivers from the local community that provide one-on-one care and attention to these children, improving their skills and helping them thrive. Learn More.

South Africa Adoption Resources

Explore special needs resources for an adoption from South Africa here.

Read the Department of State adoption alerts about South Africa here.