Other types of overseas adoptions

There are some rare instances where your application for intercountry adoption may be handled differently by the authorities in your state or territory. As a signatory to the Hague Convention, Australia is committed to maintaining safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child.

For more information about other types of overseas adoptions that fall outside Australia’s regular intercountry adoption processes please refer to the categories below.

Intercountry relative adoptions

Relative adoption refers to the adoption of a child by a biological relative.

The requirements for intercountry relative adoptions vary depending on the child’s country of birth. Relative adoptions do not include customary or traditional adoptions, which do not end the legal relationship between child and birth parent.

An adoption order is a significant legal order that changes the legal identity of a child and severs any parent-child relationship that existed prior to the adoption. As such, relative adoption can sometimes lead to difficulties and confusion for an adoptee in understanding their family relationships and origins and in developing their own identity.

For more information, visit Intercountry relative adoptions

Intercountry known non-relative adoptions

Known non-relative adoption is when you adopt a child who is previously known to you, but is not a biological relative.

Known non-relative adoptions will only be considered where you can demonstrate an existing relationship between you and the child (for example, you have a relationship with the child’s family or have previously cared for the child).

For more information, visit Intercountry known non-relative adoptions

Intercountry subsequent sibling adoption

Subsequent sibling adoption is when your family adopts the known sibling/s of your adopted child or children.

In some situations, following the initial adoption of one or more children, other siblings become in need of care. These adoptions are complex and despite the relationship between an adopted child and their siblings, it may not always be possible for a subsequent sibling adoption to take place.

For more information, visit Intercountry subsequent sibling adoption

Intercountry adoption ad hoc requests

An ad hoc request is an individual request to adopt a child from a country with which Australia does not have an active intercountry adoption arrangement.

Ad hoc requests for intercountry adoption are generally not consistent with Australia’s management of intercountry adoption. They are considered by your state or territory central authority on a case-by-case basis and are only likely to be considered where exceptional circumstances are demonstrated and where the relevant laws and relevant criteria are met.

For more information, visit Intercountry adoption ad hoc requests

Expatriate adoptions

The Australian Government strongly warns Australians against trying to arrange domestic or private adoptions through an overseas country, even if they hold citizenship or rights to permanent residency in that particular country. You should contact the central authority in your state or territory before going ahead with any application to an overseas authority.

Expatriate adoptions occur when an Australian citizen or permanent resident living abroad for 12 months or more adopts a child through an overseas agency or government authority. Australian adoption authorities are not responsible for expatriate adoptions, and do not assess or approve applicants for such adoptions. For these adoptions to be recognised in Australia, you must prove that you were not living overseas to bypass the legal requirements for the entry of your adopted child into Australia, and that you have lawfully acquired full parental rights in adopting the child. Your child is then required to obtain an adoption-specific visa to enter Australia.

Private adoptions

State and territory central authorities do not support adoptions arranged through privately-funded adoption agencies, or those that do not go through a government’s central authority. Adoptions to Australia must either be approved by a state or territory central authority, or meet Australian immigration requirements for expatriate adoption.