Short Guide to Adoption in Australia

Adopting a child can be tricky and exhausting process. It may take several months or even years to finalize the adoption and bring a child into your family. Additionally, the process can vary between Australian states and territories.


To help you out, we have prepared a short guide to teach you the basics of adoption in Australia. This will include types of adoption in Australia, the general adoption process and where to find help on this journey.

adoption in Australia

Different types of adoption

Depending on the state or territory, adoptions may be only through government departments, or they may also be through select agencies. They may offer the following types of adoption. 

  • Local adoption: 
This is probably what most people think of when they consider adoption. A parent voluntarily puts their child up for adoption, for whatever reason, and the child is adopted by parents who likely do not have any connection to the birth parent. 

It is a rare form of adoption nowadays as more traditional reasons for putting a child up for adoption, like being a single mother, are no longer seen as socially unacceptable. The child is usually under two years of age.

  • Permanent care: 
In some instances, a child can no longer stay with their birth parents. This may be the child is at risk of negligence or abuse. The child is then placed in permanent care adoption to give them the best life possible. 

Sometimes, the child may continue contact with their birth parents if safe to do so. However, the adoptive parent will be the child’s legal guardian until they turn 18. The child is then legally an adult and can choose to continue to have a relationship with their adoptive parents, as well as their birth parents. 

  • Inter country adoption: 
Australian parents can adopt children from other countries. However, the processes and requirements to adopt can differ between countries. 

Steps to adopting:

While the adoption process varies between states and territories, below is a general guide of what to expect if you choose to adopt a child. 

  • Contact agency or government department: 
To begin, you will need to let the relevant government department or agency know that you are interested in adopting. They can then direct you to the next step in the process. You may like to research about them before approaching them. 

  • Go to the information session:
Generally, you will be asked to attend an information session before officially beginning the adoption process. At this session, they may discuss the adoption process, what is expected of you as adoptive parents and what it means to adopt a child. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have before you commit to the adoption process. Use this as a chance to educate yourself as much as possible.

  • Undergo assessment and training:
If you are still interested in adopting a child, you then need to undergo assessment and training. This is to ascertain if you will be suitable adoptive parents and able to provide the child with the care and support they need. 

What this training and assessment will look like can vary depending on the government department and agency. Generally, though, it covers parenting skills and assesses if you have the means to look after a child. 

  • Wait to be matched:
Once you’ve successfully passed your training and met the criteria for adoptive parents, you will have to wait to be matched with a child. This can take a long time — even years — so you will need to be patient. However, it will be all worth it when you can provide a child with the love and care they need and deserve. 

  • A child placed with you:
When a child is matched with you, they will be placed into your care. You will likely receive support from the agency or government department you worked with for at least the first six months. This support may also be for the child. The idea behind this is to ensure the child is happy, safe and settled in their new home and that you feel confident in your abilities to care for them.

Seek a lawyer’s help!

The above information is simply a summary to give you a brief introduction to Australia’s adoption process. However, you may have more specific questions that cannot be answered in a blog post. Therefore, we recommend speaking with a family lawyer.

A family lawyer can explain the process in more detail to you, as well as provide you with additional information and guidance as needed. 

The bottom line

Adoption is primarily about ensuring children get the love and care they need. Choosing to adopt a child is an honorable and worthwhile decisions, but you need to be sure it is what you want to do. Additionally, you need to be prepared for the difficult and long adoption process.

Short Guide to Adoption in Australia Short Guide to Adoption in Australia Reviewed by Top Australia Businesses on December 02, 2020 Rating: 5