Cost of Adoption in South Africa 2023/2024

Cost of Adoption in South Africa 2023/2024

Due to the fact that the majority of the population in South Africa is black, more than half of the total population in the country are children below 18 years of age. There are more than 15 million children in South African and most of them are poor. According to statistics, there are more than 15,000 children in South Africa who are homeless and only 15% of these kids live with both of their parents.

It is difficult for most of the families in South Africa to support these kids due to unemployment and poverty issues. Adoption is one of the best ways to give someone a new life and family. Adoption is a legal process that is regulated by South African law. It is a permanent process.

Adopting a child is a big decision in life, and the costs involved can be overwhelming. South Africa has a very high adoption rate and here is a summary of what you should know about the costs involved. The process of adopting a child in South Africa costs a lot of money. This could be because of the high number of orphans in the country, or the fact that there are licensed agencies that charge administrative fees for their services.

For those seeking to adopt from South Africa, it is important to know exactly how much this process is going to cost you. It is important to know the costs associated with adoption because the money you set aside for it will likely be used up before you have adopted your child. That is because the process of adopting through an agency or lawyer is much more costly than adopting privately. It is important to shop around and do your research to find the agency that is going to be right for your family. As you compare the costs of adoption from different agencies or countries, it is important to look at the expenses of adoption and not just the total cost.

Below, a breakdown has been made for key points to bear in mind, when considering adoption in South Africa.


Costs of Adopting a Child/Adoption Fees in South Africa:

Cost is dependent on whether you’re using a private social worker or agency. Always remember that budgeting above the estimated fee will help you not to be caught unaware.

For adoption agencies, the cost of adoption ranges between R12,000 to R18,000. This doesn’t cover medical / police clearance or psychological examination fees.

For private social workers, the cost of adoption fee ranges between R50 000 to R70 000. This covers all external screening, counseling, and support needed.

How to Adopt a Child/Adoption Process in South Africa

Before embarking on the adoption process, you want to be certain that you meet the eligibility criteria stipulated in the country.

These criteria include:

a. Adoptive parents should be at least 18

b. Married couples for at least 1 year, are welcome to adopt.

c. Single parent applicants are eligible to adopt.

d. As per criminal history, applicants shouldn’t have a history of a felony. Applicants shouldn’t have more than two misdemeanors in their lifetime as well.


e. Adoptive parents should have a net worth of at least R154 000.

f. Families with children can adopt, provided that the youngest child in the home is 3 years at the time.

g. Applicants with life-threatening/communicable diseases, or other conditions that may affect their ability to parent, aren’t allowed to adopt.

What Are The Requirements For Adoption In South Africa?

To adopt a child in South Africa, prospective adoptive parents must meet certain requirements. These typically include being at least 18 years old, being South African citizens or legal residents, having a stable source of income, and being physically and mentally fit to care for a child. Couples must be in a legally recognized marriage or life partnership.

Also, applicants undergo thorough background checks, home assessments, and interviews with social workers. The adoption process is regulated by the South African Children’s Act, and adhering to these requirements is essential for a successful adoption.

Where to Adopt a Child

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, the next step is to apply to any credible agency of your choice.

This agency / social worker will conduct a home check to see how fit you are to raise a child.

If the results are satisfactory, you will then be put on the Register of Adoptable Children and Adoptive Parents. This is where searching for a child who wants to be adopted, comes in.

The time estimate for this varies, due to the adoption criteria, the applicants have specified.

When you do find a child you’re willing to adopt, it is then a matter of sending your report to the Children’s Court, to confirm that correct procedures were followed, to finalize the adoption, as well as issue an adoption order.


Different Ways to Adopt a Child

While you may think it easier to personally transact with a pregnant woman/guardian to give you a child directly, it is way safer and legitimate to adopt only via agencies, social workers, or NGOs.

While they all have their downsides, legitimacy, and safety are guaranteed. And you’re certain of getting your child in the end.

Home Check

Otherwise known as Screening, this is a check carried out by the adoption agency / social worker, to be certain how to fit you are to raise a child.

Checks are carried out on financial capability, psychological state, police record, and medical history.

Because the screening process is rigorous and thorough, the estimated time it takes is between three to six months.

Adoption Practitioners

For adoption in South Africa, you can either go through adoption agencies, private social workers, or NGOs like Impilo or Child Welfare South Africa (CWSA).

How Long Does It Take To Adopt A Child In SA?

The time it takes to adopt a child in South Africa can vary significantly depending on several factors. On average, the adoption process may take approximately 2 to 4 years to complete. This timeline can be influenced by factors such as the child’s age, availability of suitable matches, background checks, and legal requirements. It’s essential for prospective adoptive parents to be patient and prepared for potential delays while navigating the adoption process in South Africa.

Reputable Adoption Agencies in South Africa

The National Adoption Coalition has provided a list of credible agencies / social workers.

When you visit their site through this link (, you’ll find full names, addresses, email links, and phone numbers.

Fast Track Adoption

It is the case that you can fast-track the adoption process by using a private social worker. Of course, this involves more funds than is involved in the public sector.

However, if you are unable to afford this, concentrate on agencies / NGOs whose terms and conditions are well-suited to you.

In conclusion, when considering adopting in South Africa, ensure to do your due diligence with research. And it’ll help if you focus on positive stories that highlight the possibility of getting your own child.


Adopting a child in South Africa is a profound decision, driven by the desire to provide love and care to children in need. The country’s high rate of orphans and vulnerable children necessitates the adoption process, though it comes with associated costs. 

Understanding the expenses is crucial, as it varies based on whether you choose an adoption agency or private social worker. Agencies typically charge between R12,000 to R18,000, while private social workers may cost between R50,000 to R70,000. 

Beyond financial considerations, prospective adoptive parents must meet certain criteria, and the process can take 2 to 4 years on average. Researching reputable adoption agencies or social workers is essential for a successful adoption journey in South Africa.


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