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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/adoption/direct-adoption-applications-to-the-family-court/intercountry-adoption-applications-to-the-family-court/
Printed: 19/05/2024
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Last updated: 27/10/2020

Intercountry adoption applications to the Family Court

When adoptive applicants apply for intercountry adoption directly to the Family Court, we determine the best way to proceed depending on the countries of residence of all parties to the adoption application. We liaise with the Intercountry Adoption Team.

Upcoming changes for this guidance

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from ​Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice approach

When an intercountry adoption application is made directly to the New Zealand Family Court

Adoptive applicants, whether living in New Zealand or not, can apply directly to the New Zealand Family Court to adopt a tamaiti who may or may not be living in New Zealand. The parties to the adoption application usually have a link to New Zealand.

When the parties are divided between countries an adoption order may be the only way te tamaiti can live permanently in the same country as their proposed caregivers.

We often only learn about these direct intercountry adoption applications when the court registrar requests social worker’s reports from us according to section 10 of the Adoption Act 1955.

Section 3 of the Adoption Act 1955

Section 10 of the Adoption Act 1955

Policy: Responding to relative intercountry adoption proposals

Gathering information for the social worker’s report

Liaising with the Intercountry Adoption Team

When we’re asked for a social worker’s report for a direct adoption application that involves a tamaiti from another country, we must consult the Intercountry Adoption Team early in the process to find out the best way to proceed. An Intercountry Adoption Team advisor can also follow up and confirm the citizenship and immigration status of the parties involved, with their consent.

If there are any challenges in the adoption proposal, we advise the court and, if appropriate, make recommendations or request direction from the court on how to proceed.


The social worker's report

Once we’ve gathered all the information about the adoption proposal, we write our report to the court.

Writing the social worker's report to the Family Court — Direct adoption applications to the Family Court