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Steps To Legally Adopting a Child In Australia

You and your partner have each other for life. It’s a good feeling. However, you feel something to be missing in your picture perfect world, a child! A child is an innocent and beautiful creation that is capable of changing your life for good.

There could be multiple reasons why a couple would like to adopt. But most importantly, adopting a child is a mutually beneficial initiative. A child, who would otherwise be unaware of what the world has to offer, gets a permanent home. And you, as a couple enjoy the responsibility of shaping a tiny human’s life into fulfilment.

Before we move any further with this article, understand that adopting a child in Australia is something a lot of couples want to do. However, statistics in Australia show that the number of cases is maddeningly, low. The reason: the complexity of the whole adoption process. It’s wise to think of adoption as a complete journey in itself. There will be many hindrances, where you and your partner will have to decide collectively. It’s safe to say that, as couples, you need to brainstorm in advance and understand the process, to align your goals with the outcomes.

happy family adopting a baby in Australia

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to adopt a child as a couple:

1.    Learn everything there is to, about adoption. Decide which kind of adoption works best for you both.

Every adoption opportunity is different from the other. Some couples are interested in cross-cultural adoptions, while some others would be interested in adopting an older child. These preferences are usually based on the choices of the couple, their incomes, their family’s and many other specifications. At the end what matters most is, to understand what kind of adoption would work for you realistically. See if your house, your neighbourhood, your income etc. goes in line with the adoption you are opting for. The adoption could be:

  • Domestic OR international
  • Open adoption, semi-open adoptions or closed-off adoptions
  • Adopt a baby/ A toddler or an older child
  • Private adoption OR foster care

There could be many more variations of adoptions, based on the region you reside in.

2.    Research the costs that would be involved in the whole process.

As harsh as might sound, adoptions require money. It’s not always a massive amount of money involved but could go up, depending on what kind of adoption you choose. The standard costs include the fee of your adoption professional & the marketing costs required. The other charges would be related to the expenditure of the birth mother, travelling expenses, pregnancy-related expenses, home study and legal expenses. You need to understand that all these costs go into improving your chances of being eligible to adopt a child successfully.

3.    Choose an adoption professional wisely.

An experienced adoption professional will help you get in touch with potential birth mothers. However, not all adoption professionals work similarly. It’s wise to ask what costs are involved in their work before you start working with them. Also, check which services are part of their offering and then decide on one. It’s advisable to ask as many questions as possible while going through the selection process. Enquire about how they find birth parents or how many children have they placed till date, etc.

4.    Start working.

Once you are done selecting an adoption professional, you will have to start filling out adoption applications. They will help you fill in your form based on your preferences. You will have to make an adoption profile which will be distributed among potential birth parents.

5.    Get done with an educational home study.

A home study is usually conducted by a social worker or a professional who will help you and your partner to prepare for adoption. This evaluates the capability you both have as a couple to adopt a child. This process involves visits and interviews to decide if you will be able to provide a safe environment for the child to grow in.

6.    Find a birth mother.

Depending on what kind of adoption you have chosen, there will be a list of waiting children or some birth parents would select your profile. Once a birth parent selects your profile, you will be given the chance to move forward or decline the opportunity. Once done, this process is moved forward to place the child. Usually, adoptive parents and birth parents like to get to know each other, to feel more confident.

7.    Prepare for the arrival of the baby.

You and your partner will have to make all arrangements to bring the baby into your house and your family. This step involves sharing the news with your closest friends and family. This is when you prepare your house to welcome your child.

8.    Your baby is born.

The adoptive parents are usually notified about the birth of the baby. You can choose your involvement, depending on your adoption plan. It’s essential to be updated about what’s happening, before, during and after the baby is born.

9.    Your baby comes home, and you file a petition to adopt.

As soon as you are able to bring your baby home, the work of your adoption professional starts. They will have to begin the process of petitioning for your adoption. Once it is submitted to the court it will be finalized with the involvement of all the party’s approval. The post-placement period is the time when the adoption is not yet finalized and can be anything between 1-18 months. This is usually decided by the state that has the legal jurisdiction of the adoption.

10.    Finalise the complete adoption process and celebrate.

The finalisation hearing is what completes the whole adoption process. Your social worker informs you of the time and date. This is when the adoptive parents are given permanent legal custody of the child. Regardless of whether you are both first time parents or not, you will have a lot of fun and memorable jobs to take up now.

mum playing with son throwing him in the air

And now; you, your partner and your adopted child are a forever family. This process, though hectic, can be extremely fulfilling when a “Forever Family” is what you have in mind.

 



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Bronte Price - Gay Celebrant Melbourne

Australia's Bronte Price is the first ever certified gay celebrant from the continent that now boasts of marriage equality. He is also the co-founder of an Equality Network that caters any LGBT wedding needs by creating a better experience through wedding suppliers. As a member of the GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organization for Business and Enterprise), he works tirelessly to empower the LGBT community. His website Gay Celebrant Melbourne is a stunning example of his dedication for celebrancy that unites the power of love. Apart from that, his fiancée Clint and their four-legged fur baby – Bingo are Bronte's quintessential lifelines. He is also passionate for volunteering as a newsreader at Joy 94.9 and spending time in his organic backyards comes a close second.
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*AMS takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained in this article. Please check with a legal professional regarding any questions you may have about adopting a child in Australia.

3 Comments

  1. 13/05/2019 / 6:36 am

    I sat next to a guy at work on the list and then one day he got a phone call and jumped up and ran out of the office explianing “We’re getting the baby!” – it was quite cute!

  2. 14/05/2019 / 2:47 pm

    I remember looking into the adoption process in Australia many many years ago and it was quite disheartening (such a long and arduous process and a very, very long wait). Back in those days, many couples we came across in the same boat were opting to adopt from overseas because the process was not as long and difficult. That’s a sad state of affairs I think. I hope that it is better here now. Pregnancy just wasn’t happening for us and it was scary. However, eventually we were very lucky and ended up having three biological children (twins first, then a single baby).

    • 15/05/2019 / 1:07 pm

      Yes, I imagine it would be a very stressful time for those wanting to adopt in Australia. I’m glad it all worked out for you in the end!

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