South Africa. To have an opportunity to share my experience in this complex, beautiful country with our Adoptions of Indiana family is truly a gift. With its rich history and culture, South Africa and its people were both welcoming and enlightening. Meg and I visited many places in Johannesburg and three adoption homes during my stay. We held and interacted with many children, spoke with directors, and interviewed several staff members. In addition, we were given the opportunity to teach about social justice and adoption at St. Stithians for over 100 young ladies, many who were touched by adoption within their immediate families. All of our experiences reignited our passion for global outreach. In addition, this trip further confirmed our decision to partner with Spence Chapin to find Indiana families for children who are currently living in South African children’s homes.
As you are likely aware, social and political issues have created a population of orphaned or abandoned children in South Africa. During our visits to various children’s homes, we played with, fed, and held many beautiful souls. One little three year-old boy, in particular, clung to Meg for hours longing to show her everything there was to see. He was delighted with his new American friends! Later that day, we learned that this little guy would likely be joining a family in the U.S.! This news brought us great joy!
Entering the adoption homes, we were under the impression that most of the children would likely be HIV positive. We were pleased to learn that this is no longer the case in South Africa. While it was once a primary concern, today most expectant mothers are on medications during pregnancy to decrease the chance of spreading HIV to their unborn child. Once a baby is born, he or she is also given the medications greatly reducing the number of HIV positive children. This is such wonderful news!
Through interviews, we learned that most of the children in the adoption homes were relatively healthy. The directors are seeing mild to moderate developmental delays that stem primarily from premature births and low birth weights. While it is South Africa’s goal to place children within their birth country through domestic adoption, there are still children who do not have homes. Therefore, international adoption will be the only way that some will find their forever family. Adoptions of Indiana has made a commitment to try and help. It is our goal to advocate for South African adoptions and recruit families here in Indiana.
The process of adoption in South Africa is relatively easy, but patience is required. The entire process can take fifteen to twenty-four months on average. Children in need of homes include both boys and girls who range in age from 9 months to school age. This program offers and opportunity to travel to South Africa and spend approximately two to six weeks learning about the culture, history, and birth land of your child. It is a wonderful time to get to know your child in their country, and experience firsthand their environment, so it can one day be shared as part of your beautiful adoption story and sets the stage for return visits as well.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to talk one-on-one with you! Please watch your inbox for more information regarding a formal information meeting about our South African Adoption Program.
We are excited to offer two wonderful youth programs this summer for children who joined their families through adoptions! For students ages 8-10, we will be hosting our Adoption Connection Club during the month of June. The Adoption Connection Club will help students in the middle grades handle intrusive questions. It will also teach them strategies for dealing with other adoption related issues such as how to process adoption stories in media. Equipped and Empowered will also be offered this summer. E^2 is a place for teens who joined their family through adoption to explore identity formation and to understand the normal developmental tasks of this age group. If you would like more information about either of these programs, please contact our adoption educator, Carissa Maddox, at firstname.lastname@example.org.