Adopting a child is an exciting time in a person's life.
It's easy to get caught up in the idea of starting a family, or
adding to your existing family but excitement can turn to
frustration and disappointment when you encounter delays and
difficulties with the system. This article outlines the processes
and pitfalls you may come across in your adoption journey.
Firstly, it's important to understand that there are
different 'types' of adoption. Besides intrafamily adoption
(which will be explored in my next blog), these are:
Intercountry Adoptions (Adopting a child from overseas)
Many families explore the option of adopting a child from
another country. This type of adoption is handled through a
Community Services program and there are many support agencies that
provide assistance and information throughout the process. Waiting
periods for intercountry adoption have increased in recent years
due to improved local adoption systems and increased government
regulations in many countries. However, for those willing to put
time and effort into the process, this is a good option for many
One of the most common misconceptions that I've come across
in adoption matters is the belief that any child can be adopted
from any country provided the birth parents consent to the
adoption. In fact, only certain countries are signatory to the
'Hague Adoption Convention'. I've had clients face the
heartache of not being able to adopt a child they've grown to
love as the country they are in has not signed the convention.
If you're thinking about international adoption then plan
ahead – make sure that the country is a signatory to the
View a list of countries.
Very few children adopted within NSW are adopted to someone
outside of their family. As such, there are extensive requirements
and often a very long waiting period. The biological parents are
able to specify the type of family they wish the child to be placed
with. The preference is usually for a mother and a father so single
parents and same sex couples can have increased difficulties
adopting through this process.
What is commonly known as a 'closed adoption' is very
uncommon in Australia. Families seeking to adopt must enter into
the process with awareness that the biological parents may wish to
maintain contact with their child.
Some families caring for a child for an extended period of time
may consider adopting the child to provide more permanency and
stability for both themselves and more importantly, the child. This
takes place through the local adoption process. View more information on
becoming a foster carer.
Family and Community Services, as with many government
departments and organisations, are woefully underfunded.
Consequently, there are significant delays in this process.
Adoption is a wonderful and rewarding process, for you and the
child. It cements arrangements and relationships that are already
in place and also creates new relationships and identities which
increase individuals' and families' wellbeing. It is
therefore important that you're well prepared so that the
complexity of the process and inevitable delays, don't take
away from the end goal of adopting a child.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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