Friday, 8 November 2019

The adoption story

By Nina de Caires, Supervisor: Adoption Unit, Child Welfare Tshwane

Adoption is a special process of building “forever families”; of giving a child permanency, security and belonging within a home and loving family. Although it is a life-changing and very special process, it also comes with many challenges which are encountered along the way and need to be dealt with and addressed.


Young biological mothers are unaware of the services available and make uninformed decisions, such as trying to abort their unborn babies which can have a negative effect on their babies and cause disabilities. It is very difficult to find adoptive parents for babies/children with special needs, which is sad as they then often end up in care centres.

Babies get abandoned in terrible circumstances, with no reference or information about the parents or their origin. They are rejected at birth and have a negative start in life, which is supposed to be so special.  

The process of declaring a baby adoptable is complicated and can take long with so many people and different Departments involved, namely the SAPS, the hospital, social workers, the child protection organisation, the court, the temporary safe care parents, Department of Home Affairs, the printed media (to advertise), Department of Social Development, and Department of Justice. Adoptions must be finalised in areas where the adoptive parents live. So, clearly a lot of networking is required.

All adoptions have to be done according to the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, Chapter 15 (and Chapter 16 for international adoptions).  However,  the various departments and courts interpret the procedures differently, which often has an impact in the finalisation of adoptions. It can become a lengthy process due to all the documents, clearances and reports that are required, which is understandable as adoption is a permanent process. Adoption affects the lives of all the parties involved, namely the birth family, the child and the adoptive family (also called the adoption triangle)


Being part of the adoption journey is special and rewarding in that we are instruments in God’s hands,  creating families and futures for babies and children in need. We turn stories of pain and loss into stories of hope and love. We are part of the miracle of creating forever families and giving children a future by creating families that every child has a right to so that they can develop to their full potential.

Babies who were abandoned are often found to be the skinning light, ray of hope and love that a parent, or parents, have been longing for. They are answers to prayers of childless couples or individuals and give them a purpose when they receive the little life. It is as if they were always somehow destined to love, cherish, guide and nurture this particular child.

Many birth mothers are supported and counselled to make informed decisions regarding the future of their babies Some in desperation and out of deep, undying love for their little one, decide to let go of their own wishes and needs, to put the needs of their baby first, giving them a chance to live a life that they may otherwise never have had.  The ideal place for a baby is with the biological parents or families of origin, however every case is unique and dealt with as such.

Often an unseen team of “angels” out there – concerned members of the public, police officers, nursing and hospital staff, temporary safe care parents, magistrates of the court – who each in their own way, play a role in saving the precious life of that baby created with a destiny beyond what anyone could ever know or imagine.

One of the most profound  life experiences is the joining together of an adoptable baby and his or her successfully screened adoptive parents who simply fit together, like a hand in a glove – physically, emotionally, personality-wise and yes, spiritually – a destiny that was somehow miraculously designed and destined to be. This is just proof that there is a special plan for every baby that comes into this world. Many babies even look like the adoptive parents!

It is an honour to be an adoption social worker and to be part of such life-changing processes in the lives of babies, therefore, passion, dedication, detail, and focus are important.  But also to serve with integrity and to act in the best interest of children with the focus of finding families for adoptable children and thereby giving them permanency and belonging.

Adoption is a very powerful, life-saving, life-changing, life-giving process. It is a very special and heartwarming process and even though there are many challenges and practicalities in finalising adoptions at times,  the end result is so worth it.

Through the feedback from adoptive families and adoptees received it is clear that we make a positive difference in the lives of children and families.


I decided to adopt cause after much trying I discovered I couldn’t have kids naturally. I had fears like I’m a single working woman and the fact that black communities are still not really open to adoption. I discussed with my family who agreed and stood by me through the whole process.

The process is long and needs patience but it’s worth it because the day I saw my boy Thato I knew he was made especially for me. My child has brought so much joy in my life and it makes me feel happy to see that I could provide love, family and a warm comfortable home for him. I will forever be grateful for this process and I would encourage people that, if God has blessed you enough give a home to a needy child you will not regret it as children are a blessing.

I’m still intending to adopt my second child hopefully a little girl this time. Lol I have too much love to give. It’s worth it and I wish people especially us the black community would open our mind to adopting kids who need love and homes.

Joy unspeakable... Blessed beyond all measures... To know, firsthand, and to have the purest form of love in our home & hearts. Our son, Whanco is everything we could have ever wished for, hoped for, waited for and prayed for. For 12 years we prayed and waited on this young man and he is our whole life and being. Our every breath, our every move, our every step involves around this amazing little boy. If we never had this chance, at being his daddy & mommy, we would have most definitely missed him heartbrokenly... What an immense emptiness there would have been in our hearts. He fills us with everything beautiful! We could never have imagined having this awesome sweetheart in our lives.
He is our sunshine and the love of our lives. We love him more than life itself... More than the deepest deep of the ocean... More than all the grains of sand on the earth... More than all the stars ever created. He is our pride and joy, our little source of “peace” descended down from heaven. No matter what, he brings vacation to our lives. We adore this young dude, God blessed us with. He is our richness!!! We are so privileged... He is the most handsome, most clever, sweetest little angel ever known. Our little Gentle-Giant. How can we ever say thank you to Nina and her team at Child Welfare Tshwane, for what they have imparted into our lives... We are speechless! No words could ever describe! We pray that the Lord will truly and utterly bless every hand and life that had a hand in our unique and absolutely wonderful story of how we became the daddy & mommy to the BEST and most wonderful treasure this world has ever seen. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! God bless you all!

JP & Chantal Esterhuizen

This is a testimony of how adoption has changed our lives in such a wonderful way. We feel immensely and abundantly blessed... We are still speechless. This was the best thing ever. We feel so spoiled (rotten) by the 6-year-old blessing in our house, that we will never be able to describe. ATTACHED is a LETTER of GRATITUDE towards Tshwane child welfare and Nina who made everything happen. Bless you! Bless Child Welfare Tshwane and all the staff for making such a huge and enormous difference. Thank you!!! 
Past. C.L Esterhuizen 

The adoption of my son by my husband has meant so much to our family as it closes a very painful and traumatic chapter in our lives, sealed by the birth certificate recently finalised that carries our son’s new surname making him officially my husband’s son. The adoption has proven that we can achieve anything as a family if we stick through it together and persevere, no matter how scary it may seem and no matter how long the process may be.

With our son being Special Needs, the adoption was all the more important to us so that we do not have to live in fear of the biological father trying to create disruption in his life. Luca has only known Evert as his Father, as Evert has been there his whole life, whereas the biological father was not, so it was vitally important for us to have the adoption finalised so as not to create any confusion for Luca who would not understand another man trying to be his Dadda.

Ina Venter was there every step of the way and gave us all the information we needed to get the process finalized, thank you so very much for all you did for our family. 

The first question people tend to ask when they see that we have adopted is “was it hard decision to adopt?” And we can very honestly answer, “No, it wasn’t”. As a couple we have always wanted to adopt and when we started the process, we didn’t know what we were in for, there were some challenges but the outcome was totally worth it. And now even after 3 years, we would do it again. It is both emotionally and physically rewarding to watch that little person unfold and develop before you as they grow, flourish and become themselves. It has been a privilege to adopt. To wake every morning to hugs and kisses from a child that may not share your blood, but definitely holds your heart. To know that, that little child loves you, just as much as you love them. And biology could never change that. It is really a privilege to walk the road of adoption, knowing that the journey is going to be a great adventure for you, for your family and the little one you are raising.

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