Many people build their families through adoption and if you are thinking of doing so, then it is important to be aware of the adoption laws. Whether you want to adopt a baby or an older child, you must be a citizen of New Zealand to adopt within the country or internationally. For people who want to become parents through adoption, here is some information about the process.
Who Can Adopt?
Only a small number of adoptions occur in New Zealand every year because there are often other options than adoption that are explored for a child. The Department of Child, Youth and Family want to do what is right for children and that may include placement with a member of their extended family rather than adoption. However, if you want to adopt, there is no age limit for prospective adoptive adult parents.
Married couples, single people and same-sex couples are eligible to adopt a child. However, if an unmarried couple adopts, only one person will be allowed to legally adopt the child and be on their birth certificate. The only two factors that may prevent someone from adopting including having committed a crime putting a child’s safety and well-being at risk or if you have certain health issues that would make adoption a bad idea for you or a child.
Starting the Process
Before you get too far into the adoption process, you should seek the advice of a family lawyer who is experienced in adoption law. They can help make sure you follow all of the necessary steps within the adoption process and help you obtain any legal documentation you may need. To start the adoption process, you have to fill out an application showing your interest in adoption.
The application needs to include at least two personal references and it will give CYF permission to get your medical records and do a police background check. From there, you will be invited to attend an adoption Education and Preparation Programme for potential adoptive parents. You will likely be assigned a social worker and you will also start undergoing a series of interviews with social workers so they can find out about you and you can find out more about the process.
The Birth Mother
In most cases, open adoptions are encouraged and, in cases of an infant adoption, the birthmother will get to choose who can adopt her baby. Some birth mothers will want to find adoptive parents who don’t mind having an open adoption so they can be kept up-to-date about the child’s progress, although legally they would not have any say in the child’s upbringing. Many adoption agencies are encouraging the government to change adoption laws to allow for more open adoptions.
If you are considering adoption, you should seek an attorney so you know what to expect at every step in the process. They can help you with the legal requirements of an adoption and help you get it finalised if you are approved.