Breaking down the adoption process

Published 16 Aug 2019

Whether you've been unable to conceive naturally or are adding to your existing family, adoption is a path that many consider as part of their parenting journey. Here, we break down the adoption process for those in New South Wales.

How can I adopt?

Adoption laws vary state by state, though the steps to adopting a child remain largely the same. In New South Wales, information about adoption is available by contacting the Department of Family and Community Services, a government agency committed to giving children a stable and safe home environment. The adoption process is quite time-consuming, with a fair few hoops to jump through before guardianship is awarded. This is understandable, as it needs to be clear that those adopting are fit to care for a child. The general steps to adoption are as follows:

  • Expression of interest
    Anyone looking to adopt both locally or internationally needs to file an expression of interest form with Family and Community Services. Once this form is completed, there will be a base level screening to ensure you meet the criteria for adoption.

  • Attend an adoption seminar
    If your expression of interest is accepted, you'll then need to attend a three-day Adoption Preparation Seminar in Sydney.

  • Submit an application for adoption
    After attending the seminar, you'll be contacted and asked which adoption program you're entering into, and formally asked to apply. This is followed by an application screening that covers medical and criminal records and personal references.

  • Final assessment
    Your application will then be assessed for placement risk and the factors that would make the adoption successful. This takes around four months. If the assessment is positive, your name will be added to a register of approved adoptive parents.

  • Placement
    If your application is successful, you'll enter the placement process. This involves slowly introducing the child to the chosen family. The length of time this takes is on an individual basis, all adhering to the needs of the child. After placement, an assessor will carry out home visits to ensure that the child is happy, healthy and safe in their new home.

In New South Wales, all adoptions are open. This means that both birth and adoptive families remain in contact after an adoption order has been made. While this can be beneficial for the wellbeing of the child, it also can create legal woes down the track in making key decisions for their future.

If you're seeking to adopt, or are having struggles with the challenges of open adoption, the team at Malouf Solicitors are prepared to help. With many years of experience in family law under our belt, we're dedicated to helping our clients reach a happy and healthy solution for all parties involved. For more information, reach out to our team.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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