Adoption Victoria works in partnership with intercountry adoption australia to support overseas adoption programs.
The Hague Convention specifies that adoption between countries must always be in the best interests of the child and should only occur when there are no appropriate adoptive families available in the child’s country of birth.
The Hague Convention specifies that adoption between countries must always be in the best interests of the child and should only occur when there are no appropriate adoptive families available in the child’s country of birth. One of the reasons that adoption from overseas has decreased over time is that partner countries have turned to adoptive families available in their country.
Overseas country eligibility requirements
Each overseas country program has its own set of eligibility requirements for adoptive families.
These can include limitations around:
- health issues
- family composition
- education, religion and cultural background.
Single applicants are not eligible for all country programs.
Couples in same-sex relationships may apply to adopt under Victorian law, however not all overseas programs accept applications from couples in same-sex relationships.
You will find comprehensive information on overseas country eligibility requirements on the intercountry adoption australia website.
If you are not eligible for the Intercountry Adoption Program, you may be eligible for the permanent care program.
If you are making an application to adopt a second or subsequent child through intercountry adoption, please see the Intercountry adoption Victoria information kit.
Who can apply
You do not need any special qualifications to be an adoptive parent. The experiences and skills of all families are welcome.
Families can apply to Adoption Victoria if they meet both the Victorian requirements and the selected overseas country's specified requirements.
You can apply if you:
- an adult and normally reside in Victoria
- currently married or living in a defacto relationship for a minimum period of two years
- a single person.
If you are single the Court may be limited in the circumstances in which it can grant an adoption order. You will be required to provide documentary evidence to the court.
If the child you are adopting is not automatically an Australian citizen, you must be an Australian citizen (for couples one must be an Australian citizen). Many countries have a requirement that at least least one applicant must be an Australian citizen.
There is no age limit in the Adoption Act 1984, but there is an expectation that you should be fit and healthy enough to care for a child safely through to adulthood. Broadly speaking, this means that you need to be within the spread of ages at which most people become parents. Some overseas country programs impose limitations around age.
If you've undertaken fertility treatment, you must have completed it at least six months before attending a training session.
Same-sex and gender diverse couples
In Victoria, same-sex and gender diverse couples have the right to adopt children under the same circumstances as any other couple.
Many overseas adoption programs do not accept applications from same-sex and gender diverse couples. More information can be found about this from Adoptions Victoria.
Applying with other children in your care
We need to consider any current or potential children in your care. You must meet the following:
- all existing children in your family, including birth, step or adopted children, are at least 12 months of age
- the adopted child would be the youngest child in your family
- any previously adopted child's placement is finalised and the adoption order granted
- you are not currently engaged in a surrogacy arrangement as an intended parent
- you are not currently undergoing fertility treatment
- neither you or your partner is currently pregnant.
Applicants will pay fees to:
- Department of Treasury and Finance Victoria (please see the table below)
- the overseas partner country – you can find more information for fees that apply to each partner country on the Partner countries page of the Intercountry Adoption Australia website.
Department of Treasury and Finance Victoria fees for adoption (Valid from 1 July 2019)
|Fee description||Cost for first application*||Cost for a person who has previously adopted a child*|
|Fee to register interest in adopting a non-citizen child||$143.70||$143.70|
|Fee for assessment of applicants for adoption of child outside Australia||$3834.30||$2242.20|
|Fee for administrative and other expenses incurred by the Secretary or principal officer in preparing the application||$1735.70||$1446.90|
|Fee for preparation of documents for the overseas country from which the child is being adopted||$1880.90||$1880.90|
|Fee for preparation of reports in relation to post-placement supervision and support of the child||$1446.90||$1446.90|
|Fee for supervision of a child||$2026.00||$2026.00|
- Please note that fees are slightly different for people who have previously adopted a child under the Adoption Act 1984.
How to adopt from overseas
Step 1: Make contact
Contact Adoption Victoria:
- (03) 8608 5700 or 1300 769 926 (local call cost)
- 1800 130 225 (national free call).
Step 2: Attend an information session
The information sessions will help you understand the processes and what you have to do.
The sessions are held regularly throughout Victoria, and you should attend one before you can proceed further with an application.
Step 3: Register your interest
Register your interest with Adoption Victoria. Before you apply, it is important to read the Intercountry Adoption Victoria information kit to get a basic understanding of the process and which overseas country programs are currently seeking families.
Complete the Adoption Victoria questionnaire and send your signed form to Intercountry Adoption Victoria:
- Adoption Victoria, Level 20/ 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000
Once we receive your registration of interest, we will contact you to discuss the completed questionnaire.
Families who meet all eligibility criteria will be invited to complete a full application for assessment of their suitability to adopt a child from overseas.
Intercountry adoption can only be arranged through Adoption Victoria.
Step 4: Application
You will be required to complete a detailed application, which involves:
- police checks
- medical checks
- working-with-children check
If you're in a de facto relationship, documentary evidence will also be required.