MANDATORY WRITTEN INFORMATION ON ADOPTION Information for parents of a child in

Information for parents of a child in
out-of-home care
Introduction and Summary
Alternatives to adoption
Emotional effects of adoption
A child’s identity needs
The legal process of adoption
Post adoption rights
Emotional Effects of Adoption
This booklet, Mandatory written information on adoption, is for parents whose child is in
out-of-home care and where adoption is being considered for their child. It provides
information about what adoption is and the process of adoption. Adoption has
consequences for all involved and it is important that you as a parent understand what
adoption might mean for you and your child.
The law governing adoption, the NSW Adoption Act 2000, requires that if a parent is
considering giving consent to their child’s adoption, the parent must have the
opportunity to read the information in this booklet and talk with an appropriately
qualified person to ensure they understand the contents before they give their consent.
This booklet provides information about:
Alternatives to adoption
Emotional effects of adoption
Your child’s identity needs
The legal process of adoption
Post adoption rights
When adoption is being considered for a child in out-of-home care, other alternatives
are considered, for example, seeking an order allocating parental responsibility to the
carers or the child remaining in out-of-home care long term under the care of the
There are a number of both short and long term emotional effects of adoption. There
are a range of short term issues like dealing with the fact that adoption is being
considered for your child and what this can bring up for you. Parents can also
experience long term issues like dealing with not being a parent on a day to day basis
and having to see other people raise their child.
Some parents find that their emotional as well as physical health can be affected as a
result of their feelings about the adoption of their child. Some have had to seek ongoing
counselling and support.
Like you, your adopted child will experience lifelong effects from the adoption.
Adoption used to be shrouded in secrecy but we have learned from those who have
experienced adoption that it is much better for everyone to be ‘open’ about adoption.
Still, over a child’s lifetime, they need to deal with the fact that they are growing up in
another family and to make sense of this and feel okay about it. They need to have
information about their family and hopefully will be able to have some form of ongoing
contact with them as well.
Emotional Effects of Adoption
Adoption is the legal process which permanently transfers all the legal rights and
responsibilities of being a parent from you, as the child's parent, to the adoptive
parent(s). In New South Wales, adoptions are made legally binding by the Supreme
If your child is in out-of-home care, your child’s
carer/s may inquire about adopting your child; your
child may ask about being adopted; or adoption may
be raised in the context of a case planning meeting
arranged by Community Services or the foster care
agency. You, as a parent, are invited to take part in
discussions about planning for your child’s future.
An assessment of your child’s situation is
undertaken to see if adoption is in their best
interests. This usually involves talking to you, your
child and their carers.
If a decision is made from the assessment that
adoption is in your child’s best interest, approval is
sought from the Minister’s delegate.
All parents and anyone holding parental
responsibility for a child must consent to a child’s
adoption or the need for their consent must be
dispensed with by the Court. If your child is over the
age of 12 years and has been with their carers for
over two years, only your child’s consent is required.
If you do not wish to consent to your child’s adoption
and your child is under 12, the law still allows the
Court to make an adoption order. Community
Services or the adoption service provider would
have to ask for a ‘consent dispense’ order and show
that it is in your child’s best interests for the
adoption order to be made. If you wish to give
consent to your child’s adoption, you need to go
through the following steps:
You are given a package of information which
includes this Mandatory written information on
adoption, a booklet on post adoption access to
information and copies of forms, such as the
consent document, which you would need to sign if
you were to consent to your child’s adoption.
Registered Counselling:
You must meet with a Registered Counsellor who
makes sure you have been given all the required
Emotional Effects of Adoption
information about adoption and you understand the
effects of adoption.
When you give your consent to your child’s
adoption, you sign a consent document in front of
an independent witness which means you agree to
give up all legal rights to parent your child. In some
circumstances, your consent may not be able to be
given. An application then needs to be made to the
NSW Supreme Court to request an order to
dispense with your consent (this means your
consent is not required for the adoption).
Revocation Period:
After giving consent, you have 30 days to change
your mind about adoption and revoke (or take back)
your consent. As your child is already in care and it
has been decided that adoption is in their best
interests, the adoption application generally would
still be lodged with the Court even if you revoke your
Adoption Plan:
This is a written document about contact
arrangements that you and your child’s carers agree
on. You may have been having contact with your
child already or you may be just re-establishing
contact with them. Other things can be covered in
the Adoption Plan like cultural issues for your child.
The Adoption Plan is part of the adoption
Adoption Application:
Legal documents, including the consents and a
report done by an approved assessor as to why
adoption is in the best interests of your child, are
lodged in the form of an application to the NSW
Supreme Court by Community Services or your
adoption service provider, requesting that a Judge
makes an adoption order.
Adoption Order:
If the Judge agrees from the information in the
adoption application that adoption is in your child’s
best interest, they will make an adoption order in
favour of your child’s carers.
Post adoption services:
Any ongoing support (after an adoption order is
made) to you, your child and their adoptive family is
provided by the Adoption Information Unit of
Community Services, your local Community
Services Centre, your adoption service provider or
foster care agency. You could also be referred to a
non-government post adoption service like the Post
Adoption Resource Centre.
Emotional Effects of Adoption
When adoption is considered for a child in out-of-home care, as part of the
assessment, all options for the child must be looked at. The Adoption Act 2000 states
that adoption must be “determined among all alternative forms of care to best meet the
needs of the child”.
The alternative forms of care that are generally considered for a child in out-of-home
care are:
a sole parental responsibility order being made to the carers
the child remains under the parental responsibility of the Minister until they are
These two options do not provide a child with the permanency, legal security and
sense of belonging that adoption can, so may not be the chosen option.
Emotional Effects of Adoption
Short-term effects
Parents tell us that when adoption is being proposed for their child who is in out-ofhome care, this can raise a number of issues for them. It is a reminder that the
decision about parenting their child was taken from them at some point in time and
their child was placed in out-of-home care. The discussion around adoption can bring
up this previous loss and the associated grief and take them back emotionally to that
time. Also it reminds the parent again that they have lost the opportunity of parenting
their child.
Many parents in this situation have also said that adoption can bring a sense of finality
which can be very distressing. Adoption extinguishes the last hope a parent may have
that their child may come home. It can be like a bereavement represented by the final
act of the making of an adoption order.
There are practical issues that can also be emotionally distressing like dealing with the
fact that your child will have a new birth certificate and their last name is likely to be
changed to that of the adoptive parents. You might feel concerned that wrong
information has been given to your child about you during their time in care or through
the adoption process.
In an article entitled ‘Birth Parents Experience of Contested Adoption” in Adoption and
Fostering Vol 21, No1, 1997, Mason & Selman detailed the experiences of parents
whose child had been adopted from care. They found that:
Birth parents experience anger and guilt which continues long after the decision to
place their child in a new family.
The move to adoption is ‘a very public declaration that brings with it anger, shame,
guilt and bitter recrimination’.
Some parents felt pressured to give consent and not to be ‘selfish’.
Parents didn’t fully understand what was happening.
The finalisation of adoption left parents with feelings of isolation and emptiness.
Some parents felt they were painted as ‘bad parents’.
Long-term effects
To some degree, you will always feel the loss of your child. Some parents have said
that their physical and emotional health was affected and they needed to seek ongoing
professional counselling or support from talking to other parents in a similar situation.
Having ongoing contact through open adoption means that you will not have to wonder
how your child is or what he or she looks like, but it will also mean that you are often
reminded that someone else has the day-to-day care of and responsibility for your
child. Contact with your child may bring with it a mixture of happiness and sadness.
Your relationship with your child may be easier at some times than others, causing you
Emotional Effects of Adoption
to wonder whether you can cope with the contact. Your relationship with your child’s
carers may be difficult as you can resent them for having the care of your child.
Being a parent who is not raising your child is often difficult. People in your life may not
know how to acknowledge your role as a non-custodial parent and you may feel hurt
and disappointed by the way they handle this. Special occasions like Mother’s Day or
your child’s birthday can be hard, as it brings up the grief again of the loss of your child
and you may not feel entitled to mark the occasion. You may find there are some
people you won't want to tell that your child has been adopted and you might find it
difficult to think of yourself as being a parent.
Some parents have positive feelings about the adoption of their child and may choose
to consent to their child’s adoption. They may like their child’s carers and believe they
are doing a good job raising their child and are reassured by the adoption that their
child will remain permanently with that family.
Support Groups
It is important to remember that there are supports available to you along the way –
post adoption counselling, support groups and contact with other parents who have
been through what you are now facing. See Chapter 7:Contacts for details of support
Emotional Effects of Adoption
Children's experience of adoption
For children unable to be raised in their families, adoption has been shown overall to
provide a successful alternative. Studies have shown that adopted children appear in
general to do as well as other children in the community.
Nonetheless, adopted children, like you as their parent, will experience life-long effects
from the adoption. When strongly attached to a secure and nurturing adoptive family,
an adopted child will be better able to deal with the extra issues that are associated
with their adoption. A child who is raised with openness and understanding will be less
likely to struggle with feelings of grief or difference. An open adoption arrangement can
assist a child to know who they are and why they were adopted.
The child’s wishes and consent
If your child is over the age of 12 years and capable of giving consent, they must
consent to being adopted, which is evidence to the court that the child is aware of, and
agrees to, the proposed adoption. In these adoptions, generally your child will have
lived for a number of years with carers who wish to adopt him or her. If your child is
over 12 and has been with the prospective adoptive parents for 2 years, it may be that
only your child’s consent is needed.
A Registered Counsellor must meet with your child and discuss adoption, before your
child can give consent to their adoption.
If your child is aged between 12 and 16 years, they must have their capacity to consent
evaluated by a registered psychologist or other appropriate expert. If your child is
incapable of giving consent, due to exceptional circumstances, the Supreme Court may
decide to dispense with their consent.
Your child is able to withdraw (revoke) their consent at any time before the adoption
order is made.
If your child is under the age of 12, they will have the opportunity to express their views
about being adopted in an age appropriate manner. Your child may see a psychologist
or have discussions with a caseworker or other advocate. Your child's consent to
adoption is not required but their views and needs must be given due consideration by
the Court.
Identity - your child's name at birth
An important part of your child's identity is their name. As a parent you should have
registered the birth of your child. Generally parents choose to give their children a first,
middle and last name. This is your child's full legal name until it is changed by a later
re-registration or at the time of making an adoption order. In most instances after an
adoption order is made, a child will retain their first names and take on the surname of
the adoptive parents. Some children may add an extra middle name at the time of the
Post Adoption Rights
The Court will not change the name of your child if they are over the age of 12 years
unless your child has consented to the change. Sometimes an older child may wish to
continue using their original last name, or may choose to use a hyphenated surname.
Identity - your family history
When a child enters out-of-home care, information is gathered about you and your
family to pass on to your child. This Life Story work should be kept up to date so your
child has ongoing access to information about their family and background. Life Story
work is shared with your child’s carers to help them make sure your child knows about
you and their background.
When adoption is looked at for a child in out-of-home care, it provides an opportunity to
make sure Life Story work is up to date and being shared appropriately with your child.
It also allows for any gaps to be filled in.
Life Story work - what does it include
Adopted children like to know about their parents' lives, what kind of family their
parents grew up in, education, employment, hobbies and interests. Interests, abilities
and personality traits can be inherited. Other family characteristics are interesting to
children, like family cultural or religious practices.
Members of your family can help by providing information. Sharing family history is
something really important that you and your family can do for your child. It provides a
starting point for a child in developing their own identity.
You will be asked to give medical information about yourself and your family. This
might include family health conditions that could be inherited, and anything that may
have affected your child's health during pregnancy and birth. The medical information
you give is also used to help identify your child's present and future medical and
developmental needs.
It is important that children learn about their birth parents’ cultural and religious
heritage. Parents or other family members can provide information about the family’s
history and culture.
Your family background, interests, rituals, religious and cultural practices are the things
that make you unique. Your child will be interested to learn more about you and your
family as he or she grows older and the information that you give will help them learn
more about you.
My identity - what will my child and the adoptive parents know about me?
Adoption services observe the provisions of the NSW Adoption Act 2000, the Children
and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 and the Privacy and Personal
Information Protection Act 1998 about how information is managed. If you have any
concerns, ask for an explanation about why information is needed, how the information
you provide will be used, stored and passed on, and how you may have access to
amend or update the information.
Your child’s adoptive parents will be given a copy of the adoption order which has your
name on it and can apply for a copy of the child’s original birth certificate at any time
Post Adoption Rights
after the adoption. Further information about this and your rights to information can be
found in the booklet, Adoption Act 2000 How it Affects You: Post Adoption for
Adoptions made after 1 January 2010.
What is 'openness in adoption'?
Adoption is now very different to the ‘closed’ system that existed from the 1950s until
the mid 1980s, where the parents and child had no contact or information about each
other. The parents and adoptive parents did not get to know each other and there was
a general atmosphere of secrecy.
Adoption now recognises the benefit for children and both their families to remain in
contact with each other after an adoption placement has been made. 'Openness in
adoption' refers to ongoing contact of some kind between you as the parent with your
child and their adoptive parents.
When adoption is being considered for a child in out-of-home care, contact may
already be occurring between you and your child. This may or may not involve your
child’s carers.
Contact can be by letter or email exchange, face-to-face meetings or telephone
contact. The form and frequency of contact is determined on an individual basis, with
what is best for your child being the main focus.
Adoption services are committed to open adoption and make all efforts to ensure that
adoptive parents have the same level of commitment. Adoptive parents are educated
and assessed to ensure they have the capacity to support the child’s right to ongoing
contact with their parents and family members. Openness should also be reflected in a
willingness by everyone to openly discuss adoption in the family and the issues that are
raised over the child’s life.
Post Adoption Rights
Who arranges adoptions in NSW?
If a child in NSW is to be adopted by a family to whom they are not related, this must
be arranged by an accredited adoption service. The accredited adoption services in
NSW are:
Anglicare Adoption Services
Barnardos Find-a-Family Program
CatholicCare Adoption Services
Adoption and Permanent Care Services, Community Services, Department of
Human Services NSW.
See Chapter 7: Contacts of this booklet for details of the accredited adoption service
Who do I talk to about adoption?
It is important to talk with your child’s caseworker about the proposal that your child be
adopted by their carers. Even if you do not agree with the adoption, your views will be
considered and written down so it is important that you discuss these with your child’s
Parents' rights and responsibilities
The Adoption Act 2000 requires that both parents consent to their child’s adoption.
Fathers' rights
If you are a father and your name is not on your child's birth certificate, you still have
rights and must be given an opportunity to consent to the adoption. There is protection
for your legal rights as a father in any adoption arrangement.
You must be given information about your child and the proposed adoption. You must
have the opportunity to be notified of, and have the chance to oppose (if you wish), an
adoption proceeding.
If you want to be involved in the adoption process, the caseworker will talk with you. If
you do not want to be involved, or clearly state that you are not the child's father, then
adoption arrangements may proceed without your further involvement.
Post Adoption Rights
What if a mother doesn't want to identify a father?
As a mother, you may be reluctant to disclose information about the father of your child
for a number of reasons. You may be unsure about who the father of your baby is, and
may have difficulty talking about this. If have been sexually abused or assaulted, you
may also have difficulty talking about your experience. You may decide that you don't
want to identify the father because you have had an extremely difficult or violent
relationship with him. In these circumstances, you may want to ignore the father and
the issue of his role with the child.
A lack of information about the father also means that your child will not have access to
information about him or his family. As an adopted child gets older, social and medical
information about both birth parents often becomes more important to them.
If you don’t wish to have contact with the father, the caseworker can work with you both
separately, helping you to work through issues as they arise.
What is the role of the Registered (Adoption) Counsellor?
If you make a decision to consent to your child’s adoption, you will need to see a
Registered Counsellor. They will make sure that you have been given this 'Mandatory
Written Information on Adoption' booklet and a copy of an adoption consent document
and that you have considered them both. The Counsellor must make sure that you
understand the legal effect of adoption and both the short and long term emotional
effects of adoption on you and your child.
How do I consent to adoption?
Consent is given when you sign an adoption consent document. Before you give
consent, you must meet with a Registered Counsellor. You must receive a copy of this
Mandatory written information on adoption booklet and an adoption consent document
at least 14 days before giving consent.
A suitably qualified person, who is separate and independent of the Registered
Counsellor, must witness your consent. Your caseworker will arrange the Registered
Counsellor and witness for you. You will be given a copy of the adoption consent you
signed and a notice informing you of the date on which the 30-day revocation period
ends. During these 30 days you may withdraw (revoke) your consent at any time.
As your child is under the parental responsibility of the Minister, the responsibility for
making decisions still stays with the Minister even after you give your consent to their
The Minister for Community Services, or his or her delegate, must consent to an
application for adoption being lodged with the Supreme Court.
Post Adoption Rights
Dispensation of a parent’s consent
There are provisions in the NSW Adoption Act 2000 which allow the Supreme Court to
make a 'consent dispense order', if it is satisfied that it is in the best interests of the
child to do so. This means that an adoption order can be made without your consent.
The court may decide to dispense with a parent's consent in situations where the court
is satisfied that it is in the best interests of the child and:
the mother or father cannot be found, or identified
the mother or father are unable to consent due to their physical or mental
there are serious concerns for the welfare of the child
a child is in foster care and has a stable relationship with their carers and the
adoption of the child by those carers will promote the child’s welfare.
All reasonable efforts are made to give the parent notice of the legal proceedings. The
parent is able to seek legal advice and representation so that they can put their views
before the Supreme Court.
What if I am under the age of 18 years?
There is no minimum age for a consenting parent, but if you under the age of 18 years,
you must receive independent legal advice concerning the effect of adoption, before
giving consent. See Chapter 7 Contacts for legal services.
Your parents (the child's grandparents) do not need to give consent to the adoption,
however it is important that you discuss your decision with them, if this is possible.
What if I am under the age of 16 years?
In addition to receiving legal advice, if you are under the age of 16 years, the
Registered Counsellor needs to certify that you understand the consent documents and
the legal and emotional effects of adoption.
What if my child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?
It is acknowledged that adoption is not generally accepted within Aboriginal culture and
is differently arranged in Torres Strait Islander communities. Written information about
the impact of adoption in Aboriginal families is available.
The Director-General of the Department of Human Services NSW must be satisfied
that the making of an adoption order for an Aboriginal child is clearly preferable to any
other action that could be taken by law in relation to the child. The application of the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child placement principles is considered as part of
the adoption application.
If your child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and you wish to consent to your
child’s adoption, your caseworker will ask you to meet with an approved Aboriginal
person or Torres Strait Islander person as defined by the Adoption Act 2000.
Alternatively, you are able to nominate a person in the Aboriginal or Torres Strait
Post Adoption Rights
Islander community who is recognised as being aware of the issues in adoption or
substitute care of children. A local, community based and relevant Aboriginal or Torres
Strait Islander organisation will also be consulted in relation to the adoption of your
How do I revoke (withdraw) my consent?
There is a period of 30 days, commencing on the day you consent to your child’s
adoption, during which you have an absolute right to revoke your consent to adoption.
You will receive a revocation notice with your consent information. If you change your
mind and want to revoke your consent, you must inform the Supreme Court by filling
out the revocation notice. The current address of the Supreme Court is on the
revocation notice for your information. You will also receive a written reminder no less
than seven days prior to the end of the revocation period.
You are able to take the revocation notice to the Supreme Court yourself, send it by
ordinary mail or by courier. The revocation notice, which must be in writing, must reach
the Supreme Court by 4pm on the 30th day. If the end of the revocation period falls on
a weekend or public holiday, then the 30th day is taken to be the following court sitting
day (usually the following working day).
Do not worry if you have lost or misplaced the blank revocation notice. You are able to
write a letter stating clearly, ‘I wish to revoke my consent to the adoption of my child’
with the following details:
the name of your child
the date and place of birth
your name, address, phone number
the date you gave consent to adoption
the adoption service you are in contact with
Sign and date your letter before sending it to the court.
If you are worried about how to revoke your consent, you can ask for help from a Legal
Aid office, a clerk of the local court, your caseworker, your local Community Services’
office or your adoption agency.
What is my child's legal status if I revoke my consent?
As your child is subject to care orders made in the Children’s Court (generally an order
for Parental Responsibility has been made in favour of the Minister), those orders will
remain in place.
Post Adoption Rights
Opposing an adoption application
All parents, or any person who has parental responsibility for the child, who do not wish
to consent to a child’s adoption must be given legal notice of the adoption application
being lodged with the Supreme Court. If you as a parent do not respond to this notice,
the court is likely to make a ‘consent dispense order’ and the adoption order will be
If you want to oppose an adoption application, you should seek legal advice at the
earliest opportunity, so that you can prepare your case and be clear about your
position. You, as the parent, would be required to attend court and be available to
answer questions. See Chapter 7 Contacts for Legal advice numbers.
An Adoption Plan is a plan agreed to by two or more of the parties to an adoption. The
parties to an adoption can be you as the child's parents, the child, the adoptive parents,
the Director-General and the Principal Officer of an adoption service. The Adoption
Plan can include:
the arrangements for exchange of information/ contact between the parties after
the adoption
the ways in which a child will be assisted to develop a healthy and positive
cultural identity.
The Adoption Plan is filed with the adoption application and may be registered by the
Supreme Court. If the post adoption contact arrangements approved by the court are
not maintained, any of the parties may request a review.
If contact arrangements have been occurring for some time and are working well for all
parties, the same arrangements are likely to continue and will be reflected in the
Adoption Plan.
The legal effect of adoption
Adoption is the legal process which permanently transfers all the legal rights and
responsibilities of being a parent from the child's parents to the adoptive parent(s). In
New South Wales, adoptions are made legally binding by the Supreme Court. For
children in out-of-home care, the parental responsibility order held by the Minister
ceases to have effect once an adoption order is made.
When the adoption application is made, the court looks carefully at:
the best interests of the child, both in childhood and later life
the parents' consents or evidence about why the parents’ consent is not required
the suitability of the adoptive family
Post Adoption Rights
the arrangements for the Adoption Plan
If the court is satisfied with the above, the Judge proceeds to make an adoption order.
Once an order has been made, the adoptive parents will, from that time on, be the
child’s legal parents.
Advice of the adoption order
When an adoption order is made, each of the parties is notified and provided with a
copy of any Adoption Plan. The adoptive parents will also receive a copy of the
adoption order. Birth parents can apply for a copy of the adoption order. For more
detail, see booklet, Adoption Act 2000 How it Affects You: Post Adoption for Adoptions
made after 1 January 2010.
Changing the child's birth certificate
When an adoption order has been made, the court instructs the Registry of Births,
Deaths and Marriages to issue your child a new (amended) birth certificate. This new
official birth certificate names the adoptive parents as your child's parents, as if your
child was born to them. Your child’s original birth certificate is kept at the Registry for
future reference. You are able to apply for a copy of this amended birth certificate from
the time the adoption order is made, if you are successful in obtaining a supply
authority from Community Services.
Your child (with the permission of their adoptive parents) and their adoptive parents are
able to obtain a copy of your child’s original birth certificate at any time after the
adoption. As a parent, you are able to apply to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and
Marriages (BDM) at any time for a copy of your child's original birth registration after
paying the relevant fee. The certificate you receive will be marked 'not for official
Following the making of an adoption order, your child has an automatic right to inherit
from their adoptive parents (subject to any will). Your child loses the automatic right of
inheritance from you and members of your family, unless he or she is specifically
named as a beneficiary of a Will (made before or after the adoption order). Once the
adoption order has been made, you and your family members would have to alter your
Wills to ensure your child’s entitlement to inherit from you all.
Is adoption permanent?
Yes. An adoption order is a very final order and is rarely changed. The only grounds for
a formal application to the Supreme Court for discharge of an adoption order are if:
there is evidence the adoption order or consent was obtained by fraud, duress or
improper means
there are exceptional reasons why the order should be discharged.
Post Adoption Rights
See enclosed booklet, Adoption Act 2000 How it Affects You: Post Adoption for
Adoptions made after 1 January 2010.
Post Adoption Rights
It is hoped that this booklet has answered the questions that you have about adoption
where your child is in out-of-home care and its possible impact on you and your child.
However, everyone’s situation and support needs are unique and there are a range of
services to ensure that you are given clear information and useful support.
If you are unsure about any of the information given here, you are encouraged to
approach any of the services listed in the last chapter of this information called
Contacts Chapter to discuss your situation in detail.
Adoption service providers:
Community Services Adoption and Permanent Care Services
2-4 Cavill Avenue
Locked Bag 4028
ASHFIELD NSW 2131 Australia
(02) 9716 3003
(02) 9716 3001
[email protected]
Community Services Adoption and Permanent Care Services provide a statewide
adoption service, working with Community Services local offices in NSW metropolitan
and country centres. Includes services for local, special needs, Intercountry and
intrafamily adoptions and permanent care placements.
Community Services Adoption Information Unit
Address as above
1300 799 023
(02) 9716 3400
[email protected]
Community Services Adoption Information Unit provides post adoption services for all
parties to an adoption including extended family members.
Anglicare Adoption Services
19A Gibbons Street
(02) 9890 6855
(02) 9890 3700
[email protected]
Website :
Anglicare provides adoption services to parents considering adoption for their baby or
young child, to children with specific needs who need adoption or permanent care, to
prospective adoptive parents, and post adoption services. Parents and adoptive
parents must live within a 200km radius of Sydney.
Barnardos Find-a-Family Program
23 Nelson Street
PO Box 137
(02) 8596 5000
(02) 8596 5001
[email protected]
Barnardos specialises in the adoption or permanent placement of children under the
Parental Responsibility of the Minister from 0-12 years, including sibling groups, and
provides ongoing post adoption services. Barnardos provides services in the Sydney
Metropolitan, Central Coast and Illawarra areas.
CatholicCare Adoption Services
Level 1, 8 Jacobs Street
PO Box 3127
(02) 8709 9333
(02) 8700 3390
[email protected]
Website :
CatholicCare provides adoption services to parents considering adoption, to babies
and children needing adoption or permanent care placement, and to prospective
adoptive parents and post adoption services. CatholicCare provides a statewide
service conducted from Sydney utilising a network of counsellors who are closely
supervised by experienced adoption workers.
Government or Funded Support Organisations:
Post Adoption Resource Centre
Mailing address:
PO Box 239, Bondi, NSW 2026
Street address:
Scarba House
24A Ocean Street
(02) 9365 3444
(02) 9365 3666
[email protected]
Toll Free: 1800 024 256
Legal Advice:
Chamber Magistrates
Chamber Magistrates are usually located in local courts, and can sometimes provide
free legal advice, or help you understand legal forms. For the nearest local court look
up Local Courts in the L-Z volume of the White Pages of the phone book. Hours and
the need to make appointments vary from court to court.
Community Justice Centres
Office of the Director and Administration for Community Justice Centres
Street Address:
Level 5, Parramatta Justice Precinct,
160 Marsden Street,
Postal Address:
Locked Bag 5111, Parramatta 2124
(02) 8688 7455
(02) 8688 9615
[email protected]
Phone for general enquiries about their services: 1800 990 777
Community Justice Centres provide free mediation services to the community to help
people resolve their own disputes. The service is free and confidential. Matters suitable
for mediation are family and neighbour disputes, some workplace disputes and
financial disputes.
Family Court of Australia
Sydney Registry
Level 2, 97-99 Goulburn Street
National Enquiry Centre Phone: 1300 352 000
[email protected]
The Family Court provides a confidential counselling service for parents who are
separating or divorced and who have made application to the Court regarding
arrangements for their children in relation to residence, contact or other specific issues.
Intellectual Disability Rights Service
2C/199 Regent Street
(02) 9318 0144
(02) 9318 2887
1800 666 611
[email protected]
This service is involved with the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. It provides
legal advice, education, resources and publications to those with a disability, their
family, carers and friends; assists solicitors working with people with an intellectual
The Law Society of NSW
Community Assistance Department: Solicitor Referral Service
170 Phillip Street
(02) 9926 0300
Toll Free:
1800 422 713
This service can refer callers to private law firms practising in a particular area of law in
a location convenient to the caller, as well as to firms with solicitors or staff who speak
community languages. The Service also refers callers to a wide range of government
and non-government agencies that can provide free information or help.
Legal Aid Commission
1300 888 529
The Legal Aid Commission provides a free legal advice service at all Legal Aid offices.
Legal representation is available in most areas of the law subject to a means and merit
test. Branch offices around the state. Appointments must be made for advice.
Support Organisations:
(Members with personal experience of adoption)
Adoptive Parents Association of NSW
PO Box 629
RYDE 1680
(02) 9837 6769
[email protected]
If you want to talk with an adoptive parent about a particular issue, this support group
for adoptive parents welcomes telephone enquiries.
ARMS & Co (Action for the Rights of Mothers and Children Organisation )
(02) 9773 6384
A pro-active group working toward healing, justice and reconciliation for all families
suffering as a result of adoption.
Origins Inc.
PO Box W18
Bonnyrigg Community Centre
Bonnyrigg Avenue
(02) 9604 9352
A self-help organisation supporting people separated by adoption.
Parramatta Holroyd Adoption Self-Help Group
37 Collins Street
(02) 9636 8437
[email protected]
A Post Adoption Support meeting takes place on the first Wednesday evening of the
month from 6:30-8:30. Please contact on number above before attendance. This
group is offered to all who have been affected by the adoption experience.
Suggested Reading:
Adoption and Loss: The Hidden Grief
by Evelyn Burns Robinson, Clova Publications 2000.
A birthmother talks of her personal experience of adoption and loss as well as looking
at the effects on other members of the triangle.
by Merry Bloch Jones. Chicago Review Press, 1993.
A comprehensive study of the impact of adoption on birth mothers' lives.
Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience
by Betty Jean Lifton. New York, Harper & Rowe 1988.
Explores the range of issues faced by adoptees, birth and adoptive parents while
considering the search process and the benefits of openness in their adoption
Out of the Shadows
by Mary Martin Mason. O. J. Howard Publishing, Edina, Minnesota, USA, 1995
17 US birth fathers with contrasting stories are interviewed by Mason, who is both an
adoptee and an adoptive parent. One of the world's few books dealing with birth
fathers' experiences and feelings.
The Primal Wound
by Nancy Verrier
The Open Adoption Experience
by Lois Melina, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 1993
A complete guide for adoptive and birth families – from making the decision through the
child’s growing years.
Reflections: Birthparents Stories
Ed: Centacare Adoption Services, Sydney, 2002
The experience of adoption explained in their own words, by parents who have
arranged adoption for their child in the recent past.
The Colour of Difference
Ed: Sarah Armstrong and Petrina Slaytor, Sydney, 2001
This book looks at the issue of trans-racial adoption from the perspective of 27 adult
adoptees. It has accounts of adoptees who were born in Australia (9) and from intercountry (18) and their experience of being adopted trans-racially in Australia.
Releasing the past: Mothers’ stories of their stolen babies
Ed: Christine A Cole, Sydney, 2008
Information current at 1 July 2010