Realities and risks

Responsibility for safeguarding children

We work with 13 partner countries to facilitate intercountry adoptions for Australians. The work we do with partner countries aims to ensure that all parties work within the Hague Convention.

We do this by working with the governments of these countries to ensure safeguards are in place to protect children. The partner country decides if a child is eligible for overseas adoption. They ensure that safeguards are maintained in their country. Australia seeks to minimise risk by partnering with countries it’s satisfied maintains appropriate safeguards.

Overseas responsibility

If you’re adopting from overseas it’s the child’s country of birth that is responsible for:

• ensuring that a child is legitimately available for adoption
• verifying the accuracy of information provided about the child

Australian governments’ responsibility

Australian central authorities are committed to:

• ensuring the integrity of our intercountry adoption system and
• preventing the trafficking of children.

Australian central authorities regularly monitor each of Australia’s intercountry adoption arrangements to check the principles of the Hague Convention are being met.

Despite our efforts, you could find out years after your child’s adoption:

• they were trafficked or
• there were irregularities with the adoption process in your child’s country of birth

Your responsibility

Adoption is a big commitment and can cause emotional distress for you and your family. This distress can be felt not only throughout the adoption process, but even after the adoption has been finalised.

You need to be aware that intercountry adoption can be emotionally, mentally, physically and financially challenging. You should also be aware of the transracial, transcultural and transnational aspects of intercountry adoption.

What is the role of Intercountry Adoption Australia?

The Australian Government, through Intercountry Adoption Australia:

  • helps guide you if you want to adopt a child from overseas
  • connects you with a range of resources and services throughout the adoption process
  • doesn’t have any control over the adoption process (this is through your state and territory central authority)
  • can’t approve applications for adoption (this is through your state and territory central authority)
  • can’t determine if a child can be adopted (this is handled by the child’s country of birth)