Creating families through adoption
Updated: 01 July 2013
What's Important To Us
Adoption is a means of providing some children with security, and meeting their developmental needs by legally transferring on-going parental responsibilities from their birthparents to their adoptive parents, recognising that in doing so, we have created a new kinship network that forever links those two families together through the child.
In adoption as in marriage, the new legal family relationship does not signal the absolute end of one family and the beginning of another, nor does it sever the psychological tie to an earlier family. Rather it expands the family boundaries of all those who are involved.
The child’s best interests are the paramount consideration as birthparents consider their options for the care of their child. It is the core component in sessions during which adoptive applicants prepare to parent a child not born to them, and when placements are made between families who are compatible and cooperative in meeting the child’s needs for attachment and identity throughout life.
This policy outlines the key practice requirements for Oranga Tamariki social workers in four areas of work.
Engaging with birthparents who are considering placing their child for adoption
This part of the policy has been rewritten and replaced with the policy:
Choosing an adoptive family and placing the child in their care
Adopting a child via IVF surrogacy
Social workers must respond to requests for assessment for adoption according to the Key information In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) surrogacy adoption.
Working with people who wish to adopt a child from overseas
Adoption of children from overseas countries by New Zealand citizens and permanent residents must comply with New Zealand’s international obligations and the laws of the countries involved within the framework and principles of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
Prior to completing the adoption assessment, adoptive applicants must be informed about the different processes that each country has, the likely costs for which they will be responsible, and the consequences of pursuing multiple applications.
Creating the overseas dossier
Once the adoptive applicants have been assessed and approved as able to meet the needs of a child from another country, a Home Study Report must be prepared and the documentation dossier assembled as specified by the country selected by the applicants.
The social worker must liaise with the New Zealand Central Authority (NZCA) to enable the NZCA to fulfil its duties to cooperate with other Central Authorities under the Hague Convention (Articles 1, 9, 15, and 16).
Receiving a proposal for placement
When applicants have been selected by the overseas country to adopt a particular child, a child study is sent by the Central Authority of that country to the New Zealand Central Authority who must approve of the proposal before sending it to the social worker for discussion with the applicants. This function may be undertaken by an NGO.
The adoptive applicants must be given the opportunity to explore the possibilities of the proposal, using the concepts encountered in the child study review tool during preparation.
Once the applicants are in a position to go ahead with the proposed placement, with the supervisor’s approval, the social worker will notify the NZCA of the applicant’s decision.
Facilitating the adoption proceedings
In cases where the NGO does not fulfil this function, the social worker must liaise with the NZCA to assist the applicants to correspond with the overseas country, plan their meeting with the child, their activities while in the child’s country of origin and their return to New Zealand.
As countries vary in what formal procedures are undertaken as part of the transfer of the child’s care, the applicants must be familiarised with the country requirements and process for finalisation, administrative or a Court process.
If the adoption is to occur in the New Zealand Family Court, follow the 'Providing a social worker's report on a direct adoption application to the court' process in the guidance Direct adoption applications to the Family Court. The report must include information pertaining to the Hague status of the child’s country of origin, compatibility of legislation and the residency /citizenship status of the applicants.
In all intercountry cases, the NZCA must take appropriate measures to ensure any children adopted from another country have a formal record of their birth and adoptive identity and to assist these children to secure New Zealand citizenship and entitlement to services.
Where an NGO does not carry out this function, the social worker must sight the Adoption Order or adoption finalisation document and record details to ensure the mandate for placement report is established. The social worker will supply to the NZCA accurate and timely post-placement reports as required by the child’s country of birth.
Applications to the New Zealand Family Court from parties outside of New Zealand
Social workers must respond to all adoption proposals and/or applications under s3 of the Adoption Act 1955.
Intercountry adoption proposals by relatives
Social workers will respond to all requests for intercountry adoption proposals by relatives according to the policy: