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The adoption process

How do I adopt?

Adoption Act 1955, ss 5, 13

Adoption applications are made to the Family Court.

Before any adoption order is made, whether interim or full, a social worker will write a report about the placement of the child with the adopting parents. The report will usually include a police check.

In the first instance the court will make an interim adoption order. While this interim order is in force the prospective parents will not have full parental rights in relation to the child. After this probationary period, a full order may be granted and, if it is granted, the prospective parents become the child’s legal parents.

The Adoption Act doesn’t require a lawyer to be appointed for the child, but the Family Court will often appoint one anyway under its inherent jurisdiction.

How the Family Court decides whether to make an adoption order

Adoption Act 1955, s 11

The Family Court must be satisfied that:

  • the person applying is a fit and proper person to have custody of a child, and has sufficient ability to bring up, maintain and educate a child, and
  • the adoption will promote the welfare and interests of the child (this is decided case-by-case), and
  • the person applying will comply with conditions made by any of the child’s guardians about the child’s religious upbringing.

If an adoption application has been made mainly for other purposes (for example, to obtain immigration status), the court won’t grant the adoption order.

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