Waiting times

In its Adoptions Australia 2016-17 report, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) noted that for new families formed through intercountry adoption in 2016-17, the median length of time to complete an adoption was two years and 9 months.

The AIHW reported that the median waiting times for countries with which Australia has an open adoption program varied considerably. For example, placements from Hong Kong had a median time of 23 months, while the median time was 73 months (just over 6 years) for Thailand. Generally, the longest period in the process occurs between the time a partner country receives an applicant’s file from Australia and when the overseas authority allocates a child. However, in 2016–17 this varied depending on the country of origin. While the combined median time for all countries of origin for this part of the adoption process was 9 months, for placements from South Korea the median time was 2 months, while in Taiwan and Thailand it was 20 and 23 months, respectively.

Factors that might affect the time involved in the intercountry adoption process include:

  • the number and characteristics of children in need of adoption
  • the number of applicants
  • the age and needs of the child/children who you are approved to adopt
  • how long it takes the overseas country to process your application (which is outside Australia’s control and subject to changes in their policies, and the resources of the partner country).

The Adoptions Australia 2016-17 report is available from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website.