FAQ: Can I adopt a newborn

Compiled by Robyn Wolfson Vorster

In theory it is possible to adopt a newborn, especially if you have a prior relationship with the birth mother and she has selected you to adopt her baby. 

However, it is discouraged because the Children’s Act allows birth mothers 60 days after signing consent to withdraw consent.  In addition, the birth father also needs to sign consent if he is present (and again, he can withdraw consent in a 60 day period).  If the parents are absent, the social worker advertises for the parents in a local publication and then has to wait 90 days for a response.  Only then can a child be placed.  In addition, the child also has to remain on the Register for Adoptable Children and Parents (RACAP) until a same race family is found. 

If the child is placed before all of these waiting periods are completed, there is a chance that the adoption can fail.  For this reason, social workers are reluctant to place children before these waiting periods are completed.

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