Challenges you may face

The process of adopting a child from overseas can be long and difficult. To help you make an informed choice about intercountry adoption we have listed some of the challenges.

Arrangements with partner countries can change

The nature of intercountry adoption with partner countries mean that there can be changes both in the overseas country and in Australia. These can include:

  • longer waiting times
  • increase in fees
  • changes to the criteria you need to meet

An intercountry arrangement may at any time be:

  • suspended
  • placed on hold
  • closed

Arrangements with partner countries can be affected by:

  • the number of children available for adoption
  • the number of applications received globally
  • the resources a country has for intercountry adoption
  • the social, political and cultural context in overseas countries

No guarantee a child will be placed with you

Even if a country has accepted your application there is no guarantee that you will be matched with a child.

While your state and territory central authority (STCA) does its best to provide up-to-date information, on some occasions a partner country may choose to place a hold on adoptions, or suspend or close an arrangement at short notice.

If changes mean you no longer meet a country’s eligibility criteria, your STCA will let you know.

Incomplete or inaccurate information about a child’s background

Sometimes, information on a child’s background is not available or the child’s country of birth provides incomplete or inaccurate information about their age, health and background.

There are many reasons for this:

  • the child’s birth country may have limited capacity to investigate and assess the child’s circumstances
  • stigma around children born to unmarried parents. This can result in abandoned children and lack of information provided to protect unwed mothers
  • the child’s circumstances may be misrepresented, as people may think that a younger child with an uncomplicated social and medical background has a greater chance of being adopted

Your STCA will give you all available information on a child and encourages partner countries to maintain high standards. It’s possible that more information about a child will become available over time. This new information may add to or contradict information you already have.

As a result, a child could arrive with the following undiagnosed problems or conditions:

  • medical
  • mental
  • emotional
  • social
  • behavioural and/or
  • developmental

The adoption could collapse

On rare occasions, adoptions can breakdown. This can be due to complications with bonding and attachment between you and your child.

Support is available through the Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service.  This service is free for families and individuals going through the intercountry adoption process.