Informing adoptive applicants of the proposed placementOnce te tamaiti has been born and birthparents have reviewed their adoption plan and want to proceed, we let adoptive applicants know they've been chosen to adopt te tamaiti.
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 shift
Informing chosen adoptive applicants
After te tamaiti is born, encourage birthparents to spend some time with te tamaiti and review their adoption decision. If they decide to go ahead with their adoption plan, they need to confirm that decision to us and then we tell the adoptive applicants they've been chosen to adopt te tamaiti.
Try to tell both the adoptive applicants in person – we can arrange to meet them in their home or our office. Give them time to discuss and consider this proposal.
We should also check that the applicants’ current circumstances have not changed in any way which would affect:
- the birthparents’ choice of their profile
- the ability of Oranga Tamariki to approve the placement and support the application to the court, and
- the court’s likelihood to grant an adoption order.
Any significant changes in the adoptive applicants’ circumstances should be considered and assessed at this point before proceeding with the placement proposal.
We must be satisfied that the adoptive applicants remain suitable and eligible to adopt – in order to exercise our legal responsibility for providing the social worker placement approval that allows te tamaiti to lawfully move to the applicants’ care.
What information to give the applicants
Discuss with the birthparents what information they want to share with the adoptive applicants. We should ensure the applicants have sufficient information about the birthparents' situation to help them make an informed decision about adopting te tamaiti. Relevant information about the background and needs of te tamaiti should be provided to help applicants make an informed decision about proceeding with the proposed placement. Consult with a supervisor if Oranga Tamariki holds birth whānau or family information that we consider relevant for adoptive applicants to consider, and where birthparents are reluctant to share.
Respect the birthparents' privacy by not giving out too much information and identifying full names and contact details – both parties can exchange their own details when they meet. Let the birthparents tell their own story.
While the placement is not guaranteed until the birthparents provide legal consent, let the adoptive applicants know what is likely to happen over the next few days, considering their needs and responsibilities. Help them make a preliminary plan for meeting te tamaiti and the birthparents, and such things as advising their employer and consulting their lawyer.
Meeting and making a contact agreement
Policy: Facilitating an adoption placement – Informing applicants of proposed placement
The adoption as a proposal
Make sure that both the birthparents and adoptive applicants know this is a proposal at first. Circumstances can change so we should:
- sensitively find out from the applicants if:
- it's an appropriate time for placement of a tamaiti – they may have to make big changes in lifestyle and employment, or change some long-term plans
- their circumstances have changed, including if they have any health problems or significant current issues in their lives – as this could be relevant for their own availability or affect the birthparents' choice of profile or the court granting an order.
- discuss any health issues that te tamaiti has and suggest the applicants get professional medical advice if required – reassure applicants that they're free to consider the facts and accept or decline to proceed with the placement.
Keeping in touch with waiting applicants helps to ensure there are no surprises when it comes to the time of placement.
Adoptive applicants will have their own social worker if they live in a different place from where te tamaiti is born. Liaise closely with their social worker as the placement proceeds so there's no confusion between parties.
The birthparents’ social worker can offer the adoptive applicant’s information and practical assistance but make sure they also get day-to-day support and contact from their own social worker. The applicants’ social worker is responsible for issuing placement approval and should be aware of how the adoption plan is proceeding, including any uncertainties about the placement.
If the birthparents and adoptive applicants have met and there is a decision not to proceed with an adoption, Oranga Tamariki will support both parties – we should encourage the party who withdraws to communicate, in whatever way they feel comfortable, their rationale for not proceeding to help the other party understand.