The small number of children who need a family each year will have particular needs.
Adoption Victoria works to find families who have the capacity to provide for these needs.
You do not need any special qualifications to be an adoptive parent. The experiences and skills of all families are welcome.
In Victoria, you can apply if you are an adult and normally live in Victoria.
Eligibility and marital status
You can apply if you are:
- currently married or living in a de facto relationship for at least two years
- a single person.
Couples include same-sex and gender diverse couples.
The Adoption Act 1984 does place restrictions on when the Court can grant an adoption to single people. This can affect which children a single person can be matched to.
Families being sought
Each year there are many more people that want to adopt than there are children who require families.
Adoption Victoria seeks applications from families who can meet the following characteristics
1. Readiness to adopt
You are capable of receiving a child in your home. This could happen soon after you are approved.
Making sure you are ready to adopt means considering the needs of any children already in your family, especially infants under one year old. It also means considering plans you may have for fertility treatment, surrogacy or pregnancy.
2. Capability to parent children with a range of additional needs
Children who require adoption often have additional needs that need to be supported.
- ongoing contact with their natural family
- disability or significant health issues
- vulnerability to developing health issues later in their childhood
- complex backgrounds
- developmental trauma and,
- a culturally or linguistically diverse background.
3. Commitment to open adoption
Open adoption supports ongoing contact between an adopted person and their birth and adoptive families.
It recognises that children benefit when their birth and adoptive families remain in contact after an adoption order has been made.
An open attitude to adoption means accepting that the child will have significant connections to more than one family.
It is a key part of how adoption is practiced in Victoria.
It is based on the willingness of adoptive and birth families to:
- know about each other
- exchange information
- where possible, build relationships through direct contact.
An open attitude to adoption gives children the opportunity to talk about their life story and birth family. It helps them accept their own history and experience.
4. Diversity of possible adoptive parents
When a parent consents to the adoption of their child, they are often involved in selecting the adopting family.
Birth parents may express wishes relating to:
- the background of the applicants
- location of the family home
- many other factors that may be important to them.
There are no fees to adopt a child from Victoria. You may incur legal costs when you apply for an adoption order in the County Court. There may be fees if you are applying to adopt a child from overseas.
There is no age limit to apply to adopt, but you should be fit and healthy enough to care for a child through to adulthood.
For intercountry adoption, the overseas country programs set their own requirements relating to the age of applicants.
How to apply to adopt
Applying to be a permanent carer
You can seek to be approved as a permanent carer first through any of the permanent care programs.
If you later apply to adopt, we will seek your consent to access all information about any assessment and training you have undertaken to be approved as a permanent carer. Generally, this will shorten the process for approving you to adopt.