"Adoption from India is very common among Indian South Africans," Jeevie Pillay, a specialist in adoption associated with the Ministry of Social Welfare, said.

"We hope that we will be able to reach a stage where the race and culture of a child will not matter," Pillay said, adding that there was a huge demand for parents for African children, especially many left orphaned, as well as a demand for Indian children from childless couples.

In most cases the prospective parents are concerned about the acceptance if they adopt an African child, she said.

"They are concerned about what people will say. They also look at the cultural identity of the child and make decisions based on that," Pillay said.

"If you want a child, it should not really matter what the race is, but sadly this does happen," Pillay added.
Although there have been instances where Indian couples have adopted an African child, Pillay said this was more likely to happen in families where there were already children born to the couple.

Couples who had no children of their own tended to look for new-born Indian children, which rarely came up for adoption in South Africa, ignoring the huge number of African children awaiting adoption, she said.

Pillay said it was not uncommon for Indian South African couples to spend large amounts travelling to India in search of babies to adopt, often working through agencies specializing in it.

More than Rs 11 lakhs was sometimes spent by couples in this process, she said.


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