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Printed: 16/05/2021
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Last updated: 11/09/2020

Involving family/whānau in the adoption decision

We should make every effort to involve the expectant parents’ family/whānau when adoption is being considered.

Helping sense of self and identity

For tamariki to develop a sense of self and identity, they need to know about their birth family/whānau, their whakapapa and how they are connected. This includes the father’s family/whānau.

Supporting whānau connections

Involving fathers when considering adoption

How we can involve the wider family/whānau

We should encourage and support expectant parents to involve their family/whānau when considering adoption. They can provide the expectant parents with emotional and practical support, and information about the family/whānau.

Responding to the rights and interests of Tangata Whenua—Māori

Hui ā-whānau

Ideally, expectant parents consult family/whānau on their own accord. If asked, we can help to arrange a meeting involving key family/whānau and prepare any information required. If the expectant parents don’t want their families/whānau involved, we must respect their wishes. We cannot approach their family/whānau without the expectant parents’ permission.

Where family/whānau involvement is possible your kairaranga ā-whānau may be a useful source of support and advice.

Kairaranga ā-whānau

Expectant parents aren’t required by law to consult their family/whānau about the future of their tamaiti. They are the only ones who can give consent to adopt or not.

Arranging a family/whānau meeting

Explore with the expectant parents whether they are open to any sort of family/whānau meeting to consider planning for the care of the child. Our role in a family/whānau meeting is to:

  • encourage the family/whānau to consider their care options for the child
  • empower the family/whānau to find their own solutions
  • help identify the objectives of the meeting
  • facilitate the meeting if asked
  • provide any information on the adoption process and requirements
  • provide support for the expectant parents
  • summarise the outcome
  • offer to leave the meeting so the family/whānau can have their own discussion.

This is not a statutory process and family/whānau meetings in this context are not the same as a family group conference. Any agreement or plan that comes out of a family/whānau meeting is not binding and expectant parents are voluntary participants. Agreement to participate in this sort of process will depend on the extent of the trust and engagement that can be achieved.

Consider the hui ā-whānau guidance for relevant and helpful advice.

Hui ā-whānau