Adoption 101

Adoption: it may seem like the most terrifying option for any woman going through the rollercoaster of an unplanned pregnancy. However, adoption has a misguided stigma that has unfortunately increased over time.  

While adoption is not always an easy road, many women around the world will openly express the joy of being able to see their child flourishing. They often choose to receive frequent letters, photos, celebrate milestones and eventually come together with the child to reconnect and heal. At the forefront of their stories is repeatedly one clear message: I wanted my baby to have the very best life possible.  

Across Australia, there are literally thousands of qualified and approved future parents on a long waiting list to adopt. This includes a good portion of future parents who are more than willing to adopt a special child with a pre-existing condition. That’s great news for a woman deciding what to do!

So, before we get ahead of ourselves, what exactly is adoption?

We’ve all seen movie scenes depicting adoption. It usually involves a desperate woman sneaking up the church steps in the dead of night to leave her baby on the stairs in a basket.

As we know, life is not a Disney movie. The truth about adoption is far from this! The actual process of adoption is exceptionally comprehensive, safe, supportive and completely legal across Australia.  

There are two main types of adoption avenues to consider in each state or territory:  

Known vs local adoption

  1. Known child adoption—where the child and adoptive parents knew each other before adoption (maybe an aunt or grandma is stepping in to take the child permanently).
  1. Local adoption—the child and adoptive parents don't know each other (a brand-new person/s who is thoroughly vetted through a rigorous examination process and selected to adopt your child).  

Most women considering adoption are looking at the latter situation where a new family is found for their infant.  

Who would be adopting my child?

According to recent statistics from the Australian Government, 74% of adoptive parents were aged 40 and over, with 1 in 4 aged 40 to 44.  

Carers who become adoptive parents through a known child adoption also tended to be older than adoptive parents, most likely due to a good number of grandparents stepping up to adopt.

What happens if I am under 18 years old?

The Australian government regulations state that there is NO minimum age that a parent/s must be before he or she can consent to their child’s adoption.  

However, if you are under 18 years of age, the Adoption Act 2009 does say that you must be assessed by a qualified person (for example, a psychologist or psychiatrist) to determine if you can make an informed decision about giving consent for your child’s adoption.  

Is my mental health a factor in adoption?

It can be, yes. Consulting a mental health professional first is always a good idea no matter your age or situation. In fact, we would say that it’s a necessary step to connect to these services because consenting to adoption has life-long implications. You want to be in the best space you possibly can be!

Parent/s can consent to their child’s adoption only if they can understand the decision they are making. If the assessment finds that, because of your age or other factors, you are unable to make an informed decision about your child’s welfare, but you still want to go ahead with arranging for your child to be adopted, an application will be made to the Children’s Court to dispense with the need for you to give your consent.  

Where can I find basic information about adoption?

Contact us. Talking with someone at Diamond Women is safe, and completely confidential. We would love to meet you and support you. When you book an appointment with us you will be contacted by one of our friendly and professional team members to arrange a time that works with you. All our offices offer a warm and safe space, accompanied by women that are committed to helping you.  We will endeavour to answer all your questions and provide you with all the information you need for your journey. You can book by filling out this form, or call us on 1300 851 592.

Next in the Diamond Women adoption series:

Pre-Consent Counselling: Is Adoption Right for You?

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