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Adoption as an option to create a family

Stop treating adoption as the only option for children in care

The criteria to apply to adopt a child in Western Australia: Applicant must be over 18 years. If in a marriage or de facto relationship, the relationship must have existed for at least 3 years. If applying as a couple at least one person must be an Australian citizen and the other a citizen of a country that gives similar rights to adopted persons.

Applicant must be a resident and domiciled in Western Australia. During assessment other criteria are also considered such as: Your ability to be physically and mentally able to care for a child until the child turns 18.

Your willingness to support the child's connection with their birth parents and culture where this is possible and appropriate. Your relationship must be stable. Your ability to provide a suitable family environment. You have not been found guilty of certain offences. You are of good repute. At the time when a child may be placed with you, other criteria also apply, such as: Your ability to meet the cultural, ethnic, religious and educational needs of the child.

The age of children currently in the family.

The following people can also apply to adopt: Single people can apply to adopt Australian-born children and children born overseas; however, not many other countries accept single applicants. Same sex couples can apply to adopt and have their suitability assessed. Currently, no overseas countries accept applications from same sex couples. If you already have children, you can still apply to adopt.

See excerpts from the submission to the Parliamentary Legislative Review Committee on this subject. If you are applying to adopt your first child as a couple then the maximum age difference allowed between the child and the youngest of the applicants is 45 years.

Thinking about adoption?

If you are applying to adopt your first child as a single person then the maximum age difference allowed is 45 years. If you have parental responsibility for a child the age limits increase to 50 years between the child and the youngest applicant.

If you are a single person and have parental responsibility for a child, the age gap between you and the child you wish to adopt cannot be more than 50 years. After you have been assessed, the Adoption Applications Committee AAC is likely to set a limit to the age of the child for which you will be approved.

Many applicants have little parenting experience and are likely to obtain an approval for a child in the age range of birth to four years. The length of time the adoption application and placement processes take vary significantly, for an intercountry adoption, it adoption as an option to create a family average between five to seven years.

This time period may affect the likelihood of a child being placed with you, depending on your age at the commencement of the adoption application process. In Western Australia, birth parents are involved in the selection of adoptive parents for their children and often prefer to have their children adopted by people who are of a similar age to themselves.

If you are applying to adopt a child from overseas it is important to be aware that most overseas countries have age limits that are lower than the age limits in the WA adoption legislation. Are there any circumstances where age requirements don't apply? Age limits do not apply if you intend to adopt a foster child, a child in your long term care or a step child. However in all cases you would need to demonstrate an ability to remain in good health to provide care until the child reaches 18 years.

After an initial inquiry, people interested in adopting must undertake the following process: Do I have to choose between local and intercountry adoption? When you apply you can indicate a preference for both intercountry and local adoption, or for either intercountry or local adoption.

If you wish to be approved for intercountry adoption you will also need to specify a preference for which country your file is sent to. Who decides if applicants are suitable to be adoptive parents? After attendance at the Assessment Seminar, you will be required to take part in an intensive assessment process should you choose to continue. An assessor with qualifications in Social Work or Psychology is contracted by the Department and will interview you a number of times in your home and will prepare a detailed assessment report with a recommendation as to your suitability to be adoptive parents.

The assessor will discuss the assessment report and the adoption as an option to create a family with you when it is finished. Your assessment report will then be presented to and considered by the AAC and a decision will be made about your suitability.

The AAC does not have responsibility for allocating or placing children with applicants. The AAC is comprised of both officers from the Department and independent people who have significant experience and knowledge in areas relevant to the long-term placement of children.

I have been approved to adopt; can I foster while I wait? You may wish to provide respite care for a child or children who are already in the care of the Department during this time. Alternatively you may wish to consider providing long term foster care to a child or children, but once a child is placed with you for long term care an assessment will be required to ensure it is appropriate to also place another child with you at that time.

  • The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children provides protections for both adopted children and adoptive families who complete an international adoption;
  • Can a relative apply to adopt a child?
  • If approved by the AAC, you will be asked to complete a profile if you are considering adoption of a local child;
  • This is one of the most common reasons that prospective parents choose adoption;
  • Like many modern adoption agencies, American Adoptions celebrates any transracial adoption completed through our programs , and our social workers can help you prepare for successfully raising a child of another race;
  • Will you want to choose the adopting parents for your child?

If I have been approved by the AAC, will a child be placed with me and how long will it take? There is never a guarantee that a child will be placed with you. If approved by the AAC, you will be asked to complete a profile if you are considering adoption of a local child.

A local birthparent could select you soon after approval or you could wait years in the hope of being chosen. For those adopting from overseas, from the time you are approved to when you are offered a child for adoption, can take an average of four to seven years. However, these timelines do change according to the number of children in need of adoption from your chosen country and that country's processes and policies.

  • If you are applying to adopt your first child as a single person then the maximum age difference allowed is 45 years;
  • Permanence comes in many guises and it is time that we as professionals give them all equal weight, support and resource;
  • Transracial adoptions achieved through international adoption were generally more favorably viewed, so much so that the Child Welfare League of America updated its adoption standards in 1973 to recommend only same-race placement in domestic adoption.

Will waiting times affect our eligibility to have a child placed with us for adoption? The age criteria in both the overseas country and Western Australia will impact upon your application. The Adoption Act 1994 stipulates that for a first adoption there should not be more than 45 years age difference between the younger applicant and the child at the time of placement. The maximum age difference is 50 years for people who have already a child in their care. Most birth parents of locally born children and the authorities in overseas countries prefer adoptive parents under about 45 years.

For overseas adoption the process currently takes about four to seven years to adopt a child under the age of two years. It is therefore advisable for the applicants to be no older than 40 years at the time of the first inquiry with the Department. What happens once a child is placed with an approved adoptive family?

“What does adoption mean to a child?”

Is the adoption finalised at the time of placement? No, the adoption is not finalised until at least six months after the child is placed with the adoptive family. During this time the child is under the guardianship of the Director General and the placement is supported and supervised by officers from the Department.

In country areas, staff from the local Department office may be responsible for this. A report on the placement is considered by the Western Australian Family Court in their determination of the Adoption Order. The only exceptions to this are adoptions from China.

These adoptions are finalised in China, although there is still supervision of the placement once the child and their new family return to Australia. If the placement of any adoptive child has not been successful then there is a possibility that the child may be taken into regular Department care and come under the guardianship of the Director General.

Local children are under the guardianship of the Director General until the adoption order is made. With adoptions from overseas, how do we know that the children have not been sold? The Department only deals with countries that have signed the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions or with whom we have other agreements to safeguard children. There are a limited number of countries that have signed the agreements and that have children available for adoption.

Adoption as an option to create a family children in the developing world are not legally available for adoption, although they may be separated from their parents. The demand for adoptable children by receiving countries who are signatories to the Hague Convention, such as Australia, is greater than the number of children sending countries can provide.

It is unethical for a receiving country to put pressure on a sending country to place additional children. Receiving countries must not contribute to 'creating a market' that encourages child trafficking.

This is also why it is very important for adoptions to be well regulated and to be arranged through approved regulatory bodies. What are the costs involved in adopting a child?

Overseas costs include administrative and legal as well as other expenses relating to overseas travel and accommodation. There is an assessment fee associated with intercountry adoption applications.

Adoption is an Option

Only a minor part of the costs relating to an overseas adoption are associated with Department or government charges. Do birth parents and other relatives have any contact with the child after adoption? Yes, contact is considered on an individual basis according to the child's best interests. It can vary from an occasional exchange of information with no contact, to a regular flow of information and frequent contact. These arrangements are set out in an Adoption Plan which is drawn up at the time of placement between at least one of the birth parents and the adoptive parents.

Considering Adoption? 23 Reasons to Take the Plunge

The Adoption Plan needs to be approved by the Family Court of Western Australia and there are heavy penalties for breaching this agreement. The Plan can be changed by agreement as the needs of the child change with approval by the Family Court. Today we embrace the concept of open adoption as this has been found to be in the best interests of the child. Even for an overseas child, who may have been named by a foster carer or an institution, it still remains an important link to their heritage and may be used in many years to come as a way of making contact with the adoptee.

What about adoption by step-parents? You are a step-family if you or your partner has a child by a previous relationship who lives with you. There are a number of ways in which you can legally formalise the relationship between the child and the step-parent. One of these options is adoption.

  1. Due to infertility, some couples cannot have a biological child.
  2. During assessment other criteria are also considered such as. Therefore, by adopting a baby, prospective adoptive parents can help a young woman achieve her personal goals, like finishing school or advancing in her career.
  3. Here are some of the commons reasons to adopt a child today.

Please refer to The Step-Parent Adoption Information Guide for information about the effects of a step-parent adoption, the alternatives to adoption, the criteria to apply, and the steps involved in the process. Please consider your options carefully; a decision to permanently sever the legal ties between a child and their birth parent is a serious one. Adoption may or may not be the most suitable option for your family.

For example, it may be more appropriate to seek an alternative to adoption or to pursue the adoption once the child has turned 18 through adult adoption.