Mostly when people apply to adopt, they do not have a specific child in mind. Occasionally however, people want to adopt a child they know, such as a step-child, a relative or a person who has been in their care.

Adopt a step-child

Adoptions by a step-parent are rare in Victoria. Parenting orders under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) deal with parenting arrangements, and can decide who has responsibility for a child.

The Adoption Act 1984 does not prevent a person from making an application for an adoption order in Victoria if leave of the Family Court has not been granted. Without leave, a natural parent’s parental responsibility under the Family Law Act does not stop.

For more information about parenting orders:

If you want more information about adopting a step-child please contact one of the approved adoption agencies.

Adult adoption

Adoption is usually associated with young children, but it is also possible for adults to be adopted. Often, this is to formalise an existing close relationship within the family.

There are no adoption agencies involved in adult adoptions. An application is completed with supporting affidavits from the applicant and adult adoptee. See County Court Adoption and Parentage (External link) for more information.

Relative living overseas

The process for considering the adoption of a relative who lives overseas is the same across Australia. See Intercountry relative child adoptions (External link) for more information.

As with any intercountry adoption process, an intercountry relative child adoption must only take place if it is in the best interests of the child.

Intercountry relative child adoption should only be considered after all options have been explored, and must always be initiated in the child’s country of origin.

Support for families who have adopted a child

If you have adopted a child and need additional support, you should contact the adoption service that arranged the adoption.

If the adoption was arranged by the Department of Health and Human Services, you should contact Adoption Victoria.

Families may also seek support for Permanent Care Adoptive Families or the Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service.

Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service

The Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service (External link) is a free, independent, nation-wide service available to couples, families and individuals who are engaged in the intercountry adoption process. The service also provides post placement support to children and their families, including expatriate adoptions, as well as adult intercountry adoptees.

The service provides counselling support and case management services to assist with a range of issues and challenges unique to the intercountry adoption experience. Services are provided free of charge.

The service is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and is delivered by LifeWorks in partnership with International Social Service Australia.

Contact the Intercountry Adoption Support Coordinator:

Find out more

Contact Adoption Services

known.adoptions@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)
(03) 8608 5700 or 1300 769 926 (local call cost)
1800 130 225 (national free call)

Adoption Information Services
Level 20, 570 Bourke Street
Melbourne, 3000
Victoria