Program Update: The South Africa Central Authority has declared a moratorium on intercountry adoptions.

Notice from South Africa below:

“The South African Central Authority (SACA) hereby inform your organisations about the decision made to put a moratorium on all intercountry adoptions. This is due to the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced in the country and globally. The lifting to this moratorium will be communicated accordingly. All cases will be put on hold till further notice.”

Please be advised that because of this moratorium, Spence-Chapin is unable to accept any new applications at this time for the South Africa Program. Spence-Chapin remains committed to our work with Johannesburg Child Welfare (JCW) and to resuming the facilitation of adoptions from South Africa as soon as the moratorium is lifted.

We encourage you to reach out to us to speak about the South Africa Program or any of our other intercountry adoption programs. Thank you for your understanding and please call us if you have any questions.

Your South African Adoption Starts Here.

Spence-Chapin began its South Africa Adoption Program in 2013 to find permanent loving families for toddlers and young children with identified special needs. We are one of only three U.S. organizations accredited to do adoptions in South Africa and we are proud to work with Johannesburg Child Welfare, a social services organization that has been supporting vulnerable children and families in Johannesburg since 1909.

South Africa is a Hague Convention Country, and the central authority in South Africa that is responsible for all intercountry adoption matters is the Department of Social Development.

View our events calendar to register for an upcoming free South Africa Adoption Webinar!

Interested in a different country? We also have international adoption programs in Colombia and Bulgaria. If you would like to adopt from a country other than the three we currently work with, we can do your international home study to get your process started!

Where Is
South Africa?

South Africa


  • Gender: Male and Female*
  • Race/Ethnicity: Black South African, Zulu, Xhosa*
  • Ages: 0-10 years old at the time of referral.
  • Sibling groups: Siblings usually are not in need of intercountry adoption from South Africa.
  • Special Characteristics: All children placed through this program have special needs. The following needs have been identified by our foreign supervised provider as the most common needs of children waiting for adoption from South Africa: HIV and unknown or unpredictable developmental delays.

*Families are not permitted to race specify and should be open to being matched with a child of either gender.



  • Age: Up to 48. Applicants over 48 should consult with Spence-Chapin.

  • Marital Status: South Africa encourages applications from single persons, married and unmarried couples, heterosexual and LGBTQ parents living throughout the United States.

  • Family Composition: Families with 4 or more children will not be eligible to adopt from South Africa. South Africa requires that families adopt within birth order.

  • Medical: Identified medical conditions, including mental health diagnosis, will be considered on a case by case basis by the country’s Central Authority, the Department of Social Development.


Wait Time & Travel

  • Predicted wait time to be matched with a child: Approximately 24 months after submission of the dossier.

  • Travel: In order to complete the adoption process, families must make one trip to South Africa of approximately 6-8 weeks in length. Couples must both travel to country and be present for finalization.


Read stories about Spence-Chapin families adopting from South Africa on our blog.

The Granny

Spence-Chapin’s South Africa Granny Program pairs children living in children’s homes in Johannesburg to caregivers from the local community that provide one-on-one care and attention to these children, improving their skills and helping them thrive.

South Africa
Adoption Resources

Explore special needs resources for an adoption from South Africa

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