Is Adoption for you?


Impilo is a Designated Adoption Accredited Child Protection Organisation, National and Intercountry.

Adoption is a legal process of transferring parental rights and responsibilities to an adoptive parent/s who can provide a child with a permanent, loving family.
You can adopt through Impilo if you are over the age of 23, a South African citizen or a permanent resident. Race, religion and marital status are not a factor (single people and same-sex couples may also adopt).

Prospective adoptive parents undergo a screening and preparation process that involves orientation, interviews with a social worker, medicals, psychosocial and financial evaluations, home visits, police and sexual offences clearance, and references. The process explores the prospective adopters’ motivation to adopt, the age or gender of the child they would prefer, and the ability of the adopters to offer a child a loving and stable home. A preparation and education group is an integral part of the process.

Once the screening process has been successfully completed, and when a suitable match of a child has been identified, a process of information sharing and introduction to the child begins. 

The child will then be legally placed with the adopters, and the social worker will visit the family to assess the placement. Various departmental and court procedures will need to be followed before an adoption can be finalised. When an adoption order is issued by the relevant Children’s Court, it is sent to the Registrar of Adoptions for the adoption to be registered. Once the adoption is registered, the child’s name can be changed at the Department of Home Affairs. 

External processes take a considerable amount of time and are outside the control of the adoption organisation.

Once the child becomes the legal child of the adoptive parents, it is as if the child were born to them, and the child will have the same rights as a biological child.
Post-adoption services are offered, and fees are charged in terms of the Children’s Act, No 38 of 2005.

Types of adoption

  • Related adoption: This is the adoption of a child by a family member, eg step-parent, grandmother, aunt.

Foster parent adoption: This is the adoption of a child by its foster parent.


  • National adoption: This is a legal adoption where both the adopted child and parent are South African citizens, or have permanent residence in South Africa.


  • Intercountry adoption: South Africa is a party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions. After all efforts to find a family for a child in South Africa are exhausted, a child may be considered for intercountry adoption.

The legislation governing adoptions in South Africa is the Children’s Act, No 38 of 2005. 


Who may adopt a child in South Africa?


According to the Act, a child may be adopted:

  • jointly by a husband and wife, partners in a permanent domestic life-partnership, or other persons sharing a common household and forming a permanent family unit;
  • by a widower, widow, divorced or unmarried person;
  • by a married person whose spouse is the parent of the child;
  • by the biological father of a child born out of wedlock; or
  • by the foster parent of the child.

For national adoption enquiries and information, contact:

011 640 1343

Intercountry adoptions are facilitated in conjunction with our partners:


Years Established

Adoptions to date


Cared for monthly