If you are currently considering adopting a child, you may realise the court system in NSW can be quite complicated and confusing. It may also be difficult to figure out where to start looking, where the best source of information is and how adopting a child can change your current family dynamic.
In NSW, you can adopt whether you are a single person or a couple (whether married or in a de facto relationship). You must also be:
- A resident or domiciled in NSW,
- Of good repute and fit and proper to fulfil the responsibilities of parenting,
- Over 21 years of age, and
- At least 18 years older than the child to be adopted.
Amongst the above requirements, the Adoption Act 2000 also sets out some other general principles:
- the best interests of the child, both in childhood and later life must be the main consideration
- adoption is a service for the child rather than the right of an adult hoping to adopt them
- the child or young person is to be assisted to know and have access to their birth family and culture
- the child’s given name or names, identity, language and cultural and religious ties should, when possible, be identified and preserved
- openness is to be encouraged in adoption including the applicants’ attitudes towards birth family members and contact
- the making of an adoption order must be clearly preferable to any other action that can be taken by law.
There are also various types of adoption. The Department of Communities & Justice sets out the differences in varying kinds of adoptions (https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/families/adoption/adopting-a-child). Generally, the two most common types of adoption are: –
- Adopting a child within the family
Adopting within the family is also known as ‘intrafamily adoption’. This can be by a stepparent or a relative such as by a grandparent, son, daughter, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt of the child.
- Adopting a child from overseas
Adopting a child from overseas is also known as ‘intercountry adoption’. All intercountry adoptions are governed by the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation which places obligations on both the child’s birth and receiving country. It is also important to be aware that whilst the Australian government actively works to negotiate with other countries relating to the adoption of children, there are only a limited number of participating countries, and many restrictions can apply. Intercountry adoption can also be very expensive when considering airline travel, overseas accommodation and costs in preparing the documentation (e.g. translation, legal and notary fees).
Nevertheless, adopting a child can be a very rewarding process for families. If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors on 02 8917 8700, and we’ll be happy to guide you through the adoption process.