Adopting a child from Thailand
Who can adopt?
|Who can adopt?||Who can’t adopt?|
|Married couples||Same sex couples|
|Single females||De facto couples|
Please note: Thailand has informed state and territory central authorities that the Thai Central Authority will not be accepting new applications from Australian prospective adoptive parents in 2022. Applications may still be accepted for children with special needs.
Children you can adopt from Thailand
The majority of children are aged between 1 and 7 years old and may have special needs. Younger children are placed with younger applicants.
You may indicate a preference for the gender of your child but more boys are available for adoption.
Thailand defines special needs as:
- sibling groups with 1 child aged over 4 years
- children aged over 4 years
- children with health or behavioural problems
- children born to parents with mental illness
- children born through incest
Specific eligibility criteria to adopt from Thailand
If you’re interested in adopting a child from Thailand, you need to meet the eligibility criteria of your state or territory central authority. You will also need to meet the following Thailand criteria:
- you need to have been married for at least 1 year and should have been living together for a few years
- if you’re a single female you will only be considered for a child with special needs
- you can’t be a same sex or de facto couple
- you need to be at least 25 years old
- if you are older than 45 years you will probably be placed with a child older than 4 years
- emphasis is placed on the female partner’s age with flexibility if one parent is significantly younger
- you need to provide evidence (i.e. letter from a psychiatrist or psychologist) that your mental health is suitable to parent a child
- you don’t have to be infertile, but medical reports are required if you’re applying as an infertile couple, as childless couples are given priority
- at least one of you must be an Australian citizen
Number of children in your family
- priority is given to childless couples
- if you have 2 or more children you’re unlikely to be matched; however if you still decide to apply the Thai Adoption Board will consider your application on a case-by-case basis
- you need to supply your criminal record check. If you have any criminal convictions the Thai Adoption Board will take this into account
Thailand has an annual quota on the number of applications that Australia can send. Talk to your state and territory central authority about available quotas for your state or territory.
The current waiting time is approximately 2 years from when Thailand accepts your file. The waiting time for younger children can be longer.
Cost of adopting a child from Thailand
There are 2 separate fees:
- AU$1,000 and
- THB2,000 to the Child Adoption Centre social worker to pay for your child’s Thai passport, birth certificate translation and collection of these documents
On top of state and territory central authority fees, there are other expenses such as:
- translation fees
- travel and accommodation costs
Travel to Thailand
You will need to travel once to meet your child and appear before the Thai Adoption Board. You will also need to travel within Thailand to where your child is located.
You should arrive in Thailand 5 days before you meet with the Thai Adoption Board and allow 2 weeks to ensure that the adoption and immigration processes are finalised.
After the adoption
Your child placement is a 6-month trial with you in Australia. During this time, you will need to complete a report every 2 months.
If your placement is going well, your STCA will send the reports in one bundle for approval. If concerns are raised during your placement, you will need to send the report every 2 months.
You may also need to complete post-placement reports for your state or territory central authority.
Thailand has 2 ways of completing adoptions:
- you apply to your state or territory court to convert the Thai adoption order to a full adoption or
- a new full and final adoption order can be issued by an Australian court
Both can be done on return to Australia.
You will also need to register the adoption through the Thai Embassy in Canberra.
Thailand encourages you to send information and photos about your child’s progress to the Thailand central authority, even after your reporting period has ended.
Immigration and citizenship for your child
Your child will have to travel to Australia on adoption visa (subclass 102).
Once you have converted the adoption in Australia you need to apply for ‘citizenship by conferral’, as soon as possible.
If the adoption order is issued by an Australian court your child will automatically receive Australian citizenship.
Hague Convention information
Thailand will attempt to place a child within a family in Thailand before deciding if a child can be placed through intercountry adoption.