Intercountry Adoption

Topics: Adoption, International adoption, Adoption in Australia Pages: 5 (1561 words) Published: September 17, 2013

Intercountry Adoption

This report will look at Inter country adoption in Australia and will relate to the state of Victoria, as each states adoption laws differ slightly.

Definition

For the audience to understand inter country adoption we must first look at adoption in general. Adoption is when a family takes a child who has different birth parents into their lives to bring up as their own. An individual or couple becomes the legal and permanent parents of a child.

People adopt a child or children for a number of reasons, some reasons may be because they want to have a family and they are not able to have biological children of their own or they feel that they are in a position to make a difference to a child’s life.

There are three types of adoption in Australia. They are local adoption, known child adoption and inter country adoption. Local adoption is when the couple wanting to adopt the child are residents of Australia and have no prior knowledge of the child and no connection to the child what so ever. Known child adoption is when a relative, carer or friend of the family applies to become the child’s legal guardian. Inter country adoption is adoption of children from countries other than Australia who are legally able to be placed for adoption, but who generally have had no previous contact or relationship with the adoptive parents.

Background and history

Intercountry adoption programs began in Australia in the 1960s as part of a humanitarian response to children of countries afflicted by war, poverty and social and political problems. In 1975 as the Vietnam War was coming to the end, the Vietnamese Government agreed to allow a number of children to leave the country for the purposes of intercountry adoption. Two hundred and ninety two children came to Australia and were adopted by Australian families. Since that time, inter country adoption in Australia has become more common and the number of inter country adoptions has substantially increased over the past 35 years. While inter country adoptions have increased since the early 1980’s and numbers have remained solid since 2002, local adoptions have dropped significantly since the early 1970’s and 80’s. In fact in the early 1970’s the number of local adoptions per year was over 8,000, compared to average of 150 per year from 2002 – 2007. This is due to a number of factors such as acceptance of single parents, support for parents in the local and government sectors, and knowledge and use of contraception and termination products.

Relevant legislation

Applicants who wish to adopt from countries outside of Australia are required to meet the criteria as set down in The Hague Convention, and the Victorian Adoption Regulations 2008. Adoptions are handled by state and territorial government agencies, such as and the Department of Human Services in Victoria.

The Australian Government Attorney-General's Department has primary responsibility for developing and maintaining inter country adoption arrangements with other countries. This responsibility is shared with the State and Territory authorities, which assess applications, facilitate adoptions, provide advice and assistance, and provide post-placement support and supervision. Each overseas country also has eligibility criteria that applicants must meet. Inter country adoption can take a long time, usually taking at least 2-6 years in Australia, requiring assessments of prospective parents to make sure they are suitable for the children that are being adopted.

Inter country adoption must comply with the principles of the Hague Convention on Inter country Adoption, which became a legal document in Australia on 1 December 1998. The Hague Convention included the Family Law Act 1975. Also the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 made the process of obtaining Australian citizenship for children easier who were adopted overseas in accordance with the Hague Convention. Weaknesses

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