Transracial adoption in South Africa: Challenges faced by adoptive parents

Jackson, Sandra Jacki (2018-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South Africa there is an abundance of abandoned babies as well as children orphaned as a result of HIV and other causes. Traditionally, in African cultures, extended family care for orphans. However, due to the increasing number of HIV orphans in both rural and urban communities, these systems are no longer able to cope. This has contributed to increased numbers of children in need of adoption. In addition, transracial adoption has been fuelled by a disproportionate and racially skewed ratio of adoptive parents and babies available for adoption in South Africa. There are not as many white children in need of adoption as there are black children available for adoption, which subsequently leads to transracial adoption. Due to the fact that in South Africa, transracial adoption has been on the rise since its legalisation in 1991, this study aimed to gain an understanding of the challenges experienced by transracial adoptive parents. A qualitative approach was used in this study. A combination of exploratory and descriptive research designs was utilized as a framework for the research approach. Data was gathered by a means of semi-structured interview schedule, which was conducted during personal interviews with the transracial adoptive parents. The findings of the empirical study revealed that according to the challenges faced by transracial adoptive parents, it was the view of participants that education of society, especially the older generation and the black population, is essential. Findings further indicated that there is a dire need for adoption organisations to ensure that transracial adoptive parents are supported prior to adoption, throughout the adoption process and post adoption. Service was found to be inconsistent depending on which adoption organisations are utilized. A recommendation of the study was to offer a uniform training programme for all adoption social workers, to ensure that service offered by both government and private adoption organisations is standard and the same service is offered, regardless of the adoptive parent’s financial status. Challenges such as whether transracial adoptive parents would be willing to expose their adopted children to their birth culture; deciding whether to encourage children to learn their birth language; how to manage their fear for their adopted child’s future and how to provide them with the tools to manage racism should their children be confronted with it, were topics that participants experienced as challenging. Additionally, it was found that where the overall experience of adoption was positive, interaction with the Department of Home Affairs was found to be a negative experience. Service was described as inefficient and being at Home Affairs’ mercy while waiting for the crucial paperwork which would confirm that their adopted child was finally theirs in name, was frustrating and extremely emotional for transracial adoptive parents. The recommendations regarding the challenges faced with Home Affairs, emphasised that the Department should consider training dedicated staff in the field of adoption administration, to streamline the process and alleviate challenges faced by adoptive parents. The recommendation regarding education of society included educating children about adoption in schools. Ensuring that the future generation is educated regarding transracial adoption could pave the way for future generations to have a better understanding of transracial adoption, as well as being more accepting thereof. Learners could impart their knowledge to others, ultimately educating friends, family, community and society.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In Suid-Afrika is daar 'n oorvloed verlate babas asook kinders wat wees gelaat is as gevolg van MIV en ander oorsake. In tradisionele Afrika-kulture, sorg die uitgebreide familiegroep gewoonlik vir weeskinders. As gevolg van die toenemende aantal MIV-weeskinders in beide landelike en stedelike gemeenskappe, kan tradisionele stelsels nie meer byhou nie. As gevolg daarvan is daar 'n toenemende aantal kinders wat 'n behoefte het aan aanneming. Daarbenewens is “transracial” aanneming aangevuur deur 'n oneweredige en rassistiese wanverhouding tussen aanneemouers en babas wat beskikbaar is vir aanneming in Suid-Afrika. Daar is minder wit kinders in die behoefte van aanvaarding terwyl daar volopo swart kinders beskikbaar is. Die feit lei tot “transracial” aanneming. “Transracial” aanneming is sedert sy wettiging in 1991 besig om toe te neem, dus het hierdie studie ten doel gestel om 'n beter begrip van die uitdagings wat “transracial” aannemende ouers beleef. ‘n Kwalitatiewe benadering is toegepas vir hierdie studie. 'n Ondersoekende asook beskrywende navorsingsontwerpe is gebruik as die raamwerk vir die navordingsbenadering. Data is versamel deur middel van 'n semi-gestruktureerde onderhoudskedule wat uitgevoer is tydens persoonlike onderhoude met die “transracial” aanneemouers. Die bevindinge van die empiriese studie het gewys dat volgens die uitdagings gekonfronteer deur “transracial” aanneemouers, is dit die mening van die deelnemers dat opleiding van die gemeenskap, veral die ouer geslag en die swart bevolking, noodsaaklik is. Bevindinge het verder aangedui dat daar 'n ernstige behoefte is vir aanneming organisasies om te verseker dat “transracial” aanneemouers voor aanneming, regdeur die aanneming proses en na aanneming ondersteun is. Diensoorsiening was ongelyk bevind afhangende van watter aanneming organisasie gebruik is. 'n Aanbeveling van die studie was om 'n eenvormige opleidingsprogram vir alle aanneming maatskaplike werkers aan te bied, om te verseker dat eenvormige dienste aangebied word deur beide die regerings en privaat aanneming organisasies, en dat dieselfde dienste afgelewer is, ongeag die aanneemouers se finansiële status. Verskeie uitdagings, byvoodbeeld of ouers bereid is om hul aangenome kinders bloot te stel aan hul geboorte kultuur; besluit of kinders aan te moedig om hul geboortetaal te leer; hoe om te hul vrees vir hul aangenome kind se toekoms te hanteer, en om hulle te voorsien met die emosionele gereedskap om die bestuur van rassisme as hul kinders daarmee gekonfronteer is, was deur deelnemers ervaar. 'n Verdere bevinding is dat waar die algehele ervaring van aanneming positief was, was interaksie met die Departement van Binnelandse Sake 'n negatiewe ervaring gewees. Diens is beskryf as ondoeltreffend. Om aanneemouers vir die belangrike papierwerk wat sou bevestig dat hul aangenome kind uiteinelik hulle s’n in naam is, te laat wag, was frustrerend en emosioneel vir die “transracial” aanneemouers gewees. Die aanbevelinge rakende die uitdagings gekonfronteer met Binnelandse Sake, het gewys dat die Departement opleiding met toegewyde personeel in die veld van aanneming administrasie in ag moet neem, om die proses meer vaartbelyn te maak en om die uitdagings van “transracial” aanneemowers te verlig. Die aanbeveling met betrekking tot die onderwys van samelewing, is dat onderwys oor aanneming in skole 'n oplossing vir hierdie probleem kan wees. Om te verseker dat die toekomstige geslagte opgevoed word met betrekking tot “transracial” aanneming, kan dit die weg baan vir toekomstige geslagte om 'n beter begrip en aanvaarding van “transracial” aanneming te hê. Leerders kan hul kennis oordra, wat sal bydra tot opvoeding van vriende, familie, gemeenskap en samelewing.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105010
This item appears in the following collections: