Below are frequently asked questions about intercountry adoption.
- FAQS about the adoption process
- FAQS about eligibility
- FAQS about support
- FAQS about general information
What is intercountry adoption and how does it work?
Does Intercountry Adoption Australia handle my application?
No. We act as an advice and referral service. Your state and territory central authority handles your application and the adoption process. They also provide the education and support you will need throughout the adoption process.
How much does it cost to adopt a child from overseas?
The cost varies depending on which partner country you want to apply to adopt from and what state or territory you live in. You can view your state and territory central authority adoption fees on the time and costs page.
How long does the adoption process take?
Waiting times depend on which country you want to apply to adopt from. Waiting times of several years are not uncommon. You can find out more on the time and cost page.
What else do I need to do after the adoption when I bring my child home?
There are other responsibilities you have once you bring your child home. You can discuss these with your state and territory central authority. Some of these responsibilities include organising immigration, citizenship, passport and birth certificate for your child.
Can anyone adopt a child from overseas?
If you want to adopt a child from overseas, you will need to meet specific eligibility criteria. Each of our partner countries has their own eligibility criteria. You will also need to meet the eligibility criteria of your state and territory central authority.
Can I apply to adopt if I’m single?
Many of our partner countries don’t accept applications from single people. You can read the eligibility criteria on each partner country page to check which countries accept applications from single people.
Which countries can I adopt a child from?
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
I’m a dual citizen and/or I have rights to live in another country: can I arrange an adoption in that country?
Even if you hold citizenship in another country, we warn against other types of overseas adoptions—such as expatriate and private adoptions—that don’t fall under our formal intercountry adoption arrangements. It’s unlikely a child adopted through these arrangements will be able to meet Australian immigration requirements. If this is the case, they won’t be able to enter Australia.
You should contact your state and territory central authority before going ahead with any adoption application to an overseas authority.
What support is available to adoptive parents?
There is a range of support available both during and after the adoption process. Your state and territory central authority is your main source of education and support during the adoption process and in the immediate period after you bring your child home.
The Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service is a free, nation-wide service that provides counselling support and case management service to help with the issues and challenges unique to intercountry adoption.
You can also find out about other Australian Government support.
Who do I contact for more information on intercountry adoption?
How do I contact Intercountry Adoption Australia from overseas?
People who wish to make contact with Intercountry Adoption Australia whilst overseas should contact us using our contact form.
What is the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption?
The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) aims to protect children and their families from trafficking, and illegal and ill-prepared adoptions.
The Hague Convention focusses on the need for countries to work together to prevent the abduction, sale or trafficking of children.
Australia only facilitates intercountry adoptions with our partner countries. These countries meet the principles and standards of the Hague Convention.
What other options are there for adopting or caring for a child?
If you’re unsure if intercountry adoption is right for you and your family, there are alternatives to intercountry adoption.
What are the challenges when adopting from overseas?
- policies and processes can change in both the overseas country and in Australia
- country programs can be put on hold or closed
- there is no guarantee that you will be able to adopt a child once you have applied to adopt
- you may receive incomplete or inaccurate information about a child’s background
- on rare occasions an adoption can collapse due to complications with bonding and attachment
Who are the children in need of adoption?
While the age of children in need of intercountry adoption varies across partner countries, they are usually older, in sibling groups or may have special needs including special physical, intellectual or behavioural needs. Their language, culture and ethnicity may be different from your own and that of your community.
Many children are old enough to remember their birth family, and some may have lived in foster care, orphanages and other institutions.
You can learn more about things to consider when adopting a child from overseas.
How many children from overseas do Australians adopt each year?
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provides a variety of reports and statistics on local and intercountry adoption in Australia.