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Adoption of Children

Note: The Children’s Act deals with adoption as well as inter-country adoptions. The sections in the Act on adoption came into force on 1 April 2010.

Adoption is a legal way for an adult single person or a married couple to become the legal parents of a child. The Constitutional Court has decided in Du Toit and Another v Minister of Welfare and others 2003 (2) SA 198 (CC) that the Child Care Act was unconstitutional in not providing for partners in same-sex life partnerships to adopt children jointly.

Adoption usually takes a long time. Parties must apply to the Children’s Court for an order of adoption under the Child Care Act.

A child who is adopted must be under 18. A child can be adopted:

  • Jointly by a husband and wife
  • By a widow or widower or an unmarried or divorced person
  • By a person who married the natural parent of the child
  • By the natural father of a child born out of wedlock
  • By a couple in a same sex life partnership
  • By the foster parent of the child
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