The adoption process for birth parents

You officially make an adoption decision for your child when you sign an Instrument of Consent, also known as the Consent documents.

Who’s involved in the decision?

Both the birth mother and birth father must give consent to their child’s adoption. Both parents of a child have the same legal rights and in most situations, both parents should be involved in the decision to adopt.When a father is aware of the plan to adopt, we encourage him to be involved in the same way as the mother. This means, assisting with legal documents, providing social and medical information and choosing adoptive parents.

The father may see the adoption worker with the mother, or have separate meetings to explore his individual thoughts and feelings.

When the child to be adopted is over the age of 12 years, the child's gives sole consent.

After signing consent

When all the required consents have been given, the Secretary of FACS becomes your child's legal guardian.

After giving consent, you have 30 days to reconsider your decision. This is called a ‘revocation period’ and gives you some time to test out and consider being permanently separated from your child.

Your child is normally cared for by temporary foster parents while you are considering your options and during the 30 day revocation period. Your adoption worker can arrange for you to see your child during this period.

If you don't revoke your consent, and if your child is well, your child will be placed with prospective parents very soon after the revocation period has expired.

If you want to revoke consent

Your child’s name after adoption

If your child is newly born, you must register your baby's birth and name your baby. This will be the baby's legal name until the adoption order.

Adoption services will discuss with the adoptive parents the advantages of a child retaining their birth name.  If the adoptive parents wish to add an extra middle name at the time of the adoption, this will be discussed with you.   Usually your child’s surname will be changed to the adoptive parents’ surname.

The Adoption Act 2000 says that the given name of a child aged over one year old should not be changed.

A child who is over 12 years of age can choose their own names. Some choose to include their birth family's surname.

Information about you and other family members

Adopted people have a great need to know about their birth family – who they are, what they are like, their family medical history and the reasons for their adoption.

The adoption worker will ask you for personal information about you, your family and your family's health.

The information you provide to FACS may be included  in a "Life Story" which is written for your child.  This information will be in a non-identifying form unless you have given your permission for identifying information to be provided to the adoptive parents and your child. You may participate in preparing this information. See more on life story work.

Adoptive parents are expected to help children understand and learn about their adoption. They're encouraged to tell the child from an early age that they're adopted, and to tell them as much as possible about their birth parents, so that the child has positive feelings about their birth family.

Your child’s adoptive family

People who want to adopt a child are thoroughly assessed by a FACS approved contracted adoption assessor and receive training and education on adoption. Before they are approved as adopting parents, the adoption agency must be satisfied they have the ability to meet the particular needs of an adopted child.

The adoption worker will discuss with you the kind of family you would like your child to grow up in. You might have some strong feelings about religion, cultural background, or lifestyle of the adoptive parents.

You may ask to meet your child's adoptive parents and this can be arranged.

You may prefer to just be told a bit about the adopting parents and get ongoing news of your child's progress, at regular intervals.

Your involvement in selecting the adoptive parents

It's important that the family chosen to adopt your child is able to provide for their individual needs.

You need to talk to the adoption worker about your child’s needs, the kind of family you want for your child and about your own family. This will help the worker identify the most suitable adoptive parents.

You can be part of the selection of the adoptive parents by looking at non-identifying ‘profiles’ prepared by adoptive parents that tell you about them, their home and their plans for parenting an adopted child.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)