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An adoption order is made by the NSW Supreme court, to legally transfer all parental rights and responsibilities, guardianship and custody from the child's birth parents (or anyone who has parental responsibility for the child) to the adoptive parents.
The courts must consider adoption to be in the ‘best interests’ of the child both in childhood and in later life to grant an adoption order. This means that they must consider adoption to be the better option in relation to the care of the child than any other legal action.
What is the effect of an adoption order?
New birth certificate
Once an adoption order is made, the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages issues a new birth certificate for the child.
This amended certificate records the child's adoptive parents as if the child were born to them. It makes no reference to the child's birth parents unless one of them becomes the child's adoptive parent (as may occur in a step-parent adoption).
The original birth certificate with details of the child's birth parents can no longer be used for legal purposes.
Access and contact
Open adoption encourages that, wherever possible, an adopted child is connected to their birth family and cultural heritage.
An adoption plan is a written document that sets out an agreement between the people involved in an adoption about:
- how contact with members of the child’s birth family will occur to provide opportunities to build relationships
- how information will be shared between the birth family and adoptive family
- how the child will be supported to develop a healthy and positive cultural identity and foster links with their heritage.
Your registered adoption plan can be reviewed by the Supreme Court if the arrangements are no longer suitable and you cannot reach an agreement with the birth parents about contact.
When an adoption order is made, the child automatically has a right to inheritance from their adoptive parents. However, the child loses the right to inherit from members of their birth family unless the child is specifically mentioned in their will.
You should discuss inheritance with your solicitor.