The Catholic Women's League Adoption Society is a non-profit organisation that has been offering a service to those involved in adoption for over 68 years. We are a non-denominational organisation and our services are available to all racial, cultural and religious groups in the greater Johannesburg area. Professional social workers are employed who are skilled in offering counselling in all aspects of adoption.

The C.W.L. Adoption Society was started in 1951 and is a non-profit-making organisation providing a range of specialised services to all racial, cultural and religious groups in the greater Johannesburg area. Professional social workers offer the following services:

Prospective parents are screened by the agency social workers and educated in all aspects of adoption. Support, counselling and information are given to couples both before and after the adoption.

Our social workers offer professional counselling during pregnancy to a prospective birth mother and after the baby's birth. We will help the mother to look at all options and to make the best decision for her and her baby's future. Practical help is offered where appropriate. Our help is confidential, and we will support the mother in whatever decision she may make.

Adopted persons can talk to their social worker about any aspect of their adoption that is of concern to them. Information about birthparents or even help in tracing them is available. In order to trace birthparents, the law requires that the adoptee be over 18 years of age if tracing with the adoptive parents' consent, or over 21 without their consent. All enquiries are kept strictly confidential.

Our social workers work tirelessly searching for birthparents, obtaining birth certificates, ID documents and opening children's court enquiries. Every effort is made to re-unite the children with their families. However, if this is not successful our agency will organise the placing of children in adoptive homes both locally and overseas.

Over the past 10 years or so the number of prospective adopters has decreased as has the number of babies eligible for adoption. This can be attributed to IVF procedures enabling more couples to have their own children and to the passing of the law allowing for abortion, reducing the number of children available for adoption. In line with the laws of the Roman Catholic Church, our agency is completely opposed to abortion as an option and will not advise a birthmother on the process or refer them to an organisation who carries out abortions.

We are pleased to have been awarded accreditation from the SACA to do international adoptions and we have had a very good relationship with Amarna in Belgium for many years now. Catherine and Phillippe Fettweis make the process an easy one by screening couples for us in Brussels. Suitable children for these families are found in South Africa and a dossier of the child is sent to Amarna for the prospective adoptive parents to peruse.

Once the adopters have decided to adopt a child, they come out to South Africa so that they can bond with the child before taking the child back to Belgium. This process takes about 3 weeks.

We also have a relationship with the India called CARA and we have placed some Indian babies with South African Indian couples. However, the process has not been an easy one, and couples have been let down by CARA. We intend to wind down this option in 2020.

Apart from adoption work, our social workers also work in the community helping pregnant mothers with food and organising medical help for them. They also visit informal settlements and help families in crisis with food, finance and clothing. Our auxiliary social worker is very caring of people who find themselves in these situations.

Our agency has always been highly respected by the social work community at large and the work we do is of the highest standard. We would be extremely sad if we had to close our doors. The years of work that have gone into making our agency what it is would be sorely missed by the community. For the moment we are at a “wait and see” point.

For the present we remain committed to our prospective adopters, past adopters and adoptees and will continue with our work, bearing in mind the Catholic Women's League Motto of “Charity, Work and Loyalty” in all we do.


The child is the centre of who we are and what we do.

The needs of the birth mother are to be uppermost in our handling of her pregnancy. Whilst we are an adoption agency, we will listen to and hear the needs of the mother. If it is her wish to raise the child on her own, we will assist as far as possible both materially and supportively.

The adoptive parents will be screened and supported in the process of preparing them for the placement of an adopted child.

At all times the motto of the Catholic Women's League of Charity, Work and Loyalty is to be upheld


It is our fervent wish that no child be placed in a children's home as all children need a mother and father to look up to and to guide and nurture them through childhood to adulthood.

Where this is not possible we would like the child to have at least a mother to nurture and protect them and guide them to adulthood.