Intercountry adoption

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Intercountry adoption in the AIFS library catalogue

Inter-country adoption in Australia : examining the factors that drive the practice and implications for policy reform.

Hilferty F and Katz I
Australian Journal of Social Issues v. 54 no. 1 Mar 2019: 76-90
This article presents the findings of a literature review on the factors that drive inter-country adoption and considers the lessons for Australia. It discusses the global policy context, the factors that drive or sustain inter-country adoption in sending countries, the roles of poverty and disaster, the role of policy and local child welfare systems, factors in receiving countries, infertility and demand from prospective parents, parent concern over open adoption policies, and the policy context in Australia. The article concludes by considering how Australia can continue to promote and support inter-country adoption.

Intercountry Adoption Tracing and Reunification Service (ICATRS) review

Zwiers R
Australia : International Social Service Australia, 2018.
The Intercountry Adoption Tracing and Reunification Service (ICATRS) provides free information and support to Australian intercountry adoptees and adoptive parents wishing to trace a birth family overseas. The program is funded by the Australian Government and operated by International Social Service (ISS) Australia. This report was commissioned by ISS to review client engagement and satisfaction with the service and draws on client case data and surveys. Overall, the findings indicated the service addresses an important need and has a very positive impact on both adult intercountry adoptees and adoptive parents searching on behalf of their child.

Connecting to 'roots': a study of Taiwan and Australian adoption

National Taiwan University, University of Sydney, University of Sydney. Institute of Open Adoption Studies
Sydney, N.S.W. : Institute of Open Adoption Studies, University of Sydney, 2018
Taiwan is one of the main countries for intercountry adoptions to Australia. This paper explores adoptees and their birth and adoptive families' sense and experiences of connection to each other and the methods they employed. It summarises findings from a collaborative study by the National University of Taiwan and the University of Sydney, which involved interviews with birth parents in Taiwan and adoptees and adoptive parents in Australia and focus groups with adoption professionals in both countries. The paper outlines the process of intercountry adoption between these countries and outlines study findings regarding birth parents reasons for relinquishing their child, adoptees' interest in connecting to their birth families or learning more about their birth country, adoptive parents' efforts to support cultural identity development, connections made through initial the information received at adoption, through letters or phone calls, through face to face visits, the use of technology, and the benefits and risks of connection. Globally, there is a movement towards openness and connection in adoption, and this study highlights how the need or desire for connection can change over the life course as well as the barriers to openness in intercountry adoption.

Adoptions Australia 2017-18

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
This series presents the latest data on adoptions of Australian children and children from overseas. This edition presents statistics for the 2017-18 period, along with trends since 1993-94. Sections include: total adoption activity, intercountry adoptions, local adoptions, known child adoptions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and applications and vetoes for contact and information exchange. Information is also presented on relevant legislation and adoption procedures. In 2017-18, 330 adoptions were recorded as finalised. While other types of adoption have declined, 'known child' adoptions have increased over the past decade and comprised 71% of all finalised adoptions in 2017-18 - largely due to a policy change in New South Wales that resulted in a higher number of adoptions from foster care.

Adoptions Australia 2016-17

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017.
This series presents the latest data on adoptions of Australian children and children from overseas. Data cover characteristics of adopted children, their parents and adoptive families, as well as applications and vetoes for contact and information exchange, issued immigration visas and intercountry processing times. Trends are compared from 1992/93 to 2016/17. In 2016/17, 315 adoptions were recorded as finalised - an increase of 13% from the previous year which was the lowest number on record and part of a 60% decline in Australia over the past 25 years. However, there has been an increase in 'known child' adoptions, which largely reflects policy change in New South Wales which has resulted in a higher number of adoptions from care.

Adoptions Australia 2015-16

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016.
"'Adoptions Australia 2015-16', the 26th report in the series, presents the latest data on adoptions of Australian children and children from overseas, and highlights important trends in the number of adoptions back to 1991-92. Data cover characteristics of adopted children, their parents and adoptive families, as well as applications and vetoes for contact and information exchange, and intercountry processing times. During 2015-16, there were 278 adoptions finalised across Australia, the lowest on record over the period reported: 100% of local adoptees were aged under 5, compared with 71% of intercountry adoptees and 9% of known child adoptees."--Publisher abstract.

Public and private families : a comparative thematic analysis of the intersections of social norms and scrutiny.

Riggs D, Bartholomaeus C and Due C
Health Sociology Review v. 25 no. 1 Mar 2016: 1-17
Despite the increased diversification of Australian families, the nuclear family formed through reproductive heterosex continues to be treated as the norm. This paper argues that this norm impacts negatively upon families formed in other ways, by exposing them to increased scrutiny. Drawing on interviews with 60 participants from four cohorts (families formed through reproductive heterosex, intercountry adoption, long-term foster care, or surrogacy), a comparative thematic analysis is presented in which two key themes are elaborated: (1) the impact of government policies and practices, and (2) the degree to which families are treated as public property. Findings suggest that families formed through reproductive heterosex were the least regulated and scrutinised; families formed through either adoption or surrogacy received a considerable degree of regulation and scrutiny; and foster families were the most scrutinised and negatively impacted by government policies. The paper concludes by considering what is required to engender more inclusive and supportive responses to all families.

Adoptions Australia 2014-15

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2015.
"'Adoptions Australia 2014-15', the 25th report in the series, presents the latest data on adoptions of Australian children and children from overseas, and highlights important trends in the number of adoptions back to 1990-91. During 2014-15, 292 adoptions were finalised across Australia - 72% were children from Australia and 28% were from overseas, with 27% of all adoptees coming from Asia. Adoption of Australian children by carers, such as foster parents, comprised 32% of all adoptions."--Publisher abstract.

Adoption rethink

Pike G
Hawthorn, Vic. : Women's Forum Australia, 2014.
This report investigates what is known about adoption in Australia, including the practices involved, the influence of social changes, and the impact on those involved. The report also presents recommendations for policy and practice reform to improve the welfare of birth families, adoptive families, and children. Adoptions from infancy, adoptions from care, and intercountry adoptions are discussed.

Adoptions Australia 2013-14

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013.
"[This report], the 24th report in the series, presents the latest data on adoptions of Australian children and children from overseas, and highlights important trends in the number of adoptions back to 1989-90. Data cover characteristics of adopted children, their parents and adoptive families, as well as applications and vetoes for contact and information exchange, and intercountry adoption processing times. During 2013-14, 317 adoptions were finalised across Australia. Among these adoptions: 64% were children from Australia and 36% were from overseas; 28% were by carers, such as foster parents; 32% of adoptees came from Asia; 45% of adoptees were aged under 5."--Publisher abstract.

Protecting the rights of indigenous and multicultural children and preserving their cultures in fostering and adoption.

Anderson M
Family Court Review v. 52 no. 1 Jan 2014: 6-27
This article discusses issues in the transracial or transcultural adoption or foster care of children in New South Wales. Information is provided on: issues of attachment and identity, international conventions, the right for children to learn and use the language and customs of their families and have their original cultural identity protected, state legal provisions and case law, and service strategies for preserving a child's ethnic and cultural heritage.

Adopted children and stepchildren: 2010

Kreider R and Lofquist D
Washington, D.C. : U.S. Census Bureau, 2003.
This report provides a portrait of adopted children and stepchildren in America. Together, these children represent about 7% of the 64.8 million children under age 18 in 2010. Using data from the Census, the American Community Survey, and the Current Population Survey, this report presents information on the number of children by family type and age group, their state by state distribution, ethnic background, disability status, gender difference by age group, parents' marital status, parents' education and income, parent employment, home ownership, country of origin of international adoptions, and transracial adoptions.

The best interests of the child in intercountry adoption

Cantwell N
Florence, Italy : UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, 2014.
This study explores the best interests principle in intercountry adoption. It investigates what role the best interests principle should play in intercountry adoption and the overall conditions required for it to do so in keeping with the rights of the child. Sections include: best interests, human rights and intercountry adoption; the role and purpose of the best interests concept in a human rights context; the changing role and purpose of intercountry adoption; determining children's best interests in intercountry adoption; and ensuring the right conditions for a best interests determination in intercountry adoption. While there is general agreement that the best interests of the child should be the paramount consideration in intercountry adoption, there is no consensus on who decides what is in a child's best interests or on what basis that decision should be made.

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Intercountry Adoption) Bill 2014: submission from Australian Institute of Family Studies

Higgins D
Canberra, A.C.T. : Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, July 2014.
The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Intercountry Adoption) Bill 2014 aims to provide access to citizenship for children adopted by Australian citizens from specific countries who are not parties to the Hague Convention on Protection and Co-operation. The Senate has referred this Bill for inquiry and report. This submission, from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, notes recent research by the Institute on past 'closed' adoption practices and describes its implications for policy and service delivery in intercountry adoption.

Submission to Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet regarding making overseas adoption easier for Australian families.

Jordan T
Australian Journal of Adoption v. 8 no. 1 2014: 8p
This paper is an abridged version of submission to the Prime Minister's Committee to Review Intercountry Adoption. In this submission, Jigsaw Queensland outlines three principles that ought to dominate considerations in international adoption: accountability though openness and an honesty at all levels of practice, child-centred policy and practice (recognising the life-long impacts of adoption), and adequate provision of ongoing pre-adoption and post-adoption support.

The decline of intercountry adoption in Australia : will privatising the system make a difference?

Petersen S
Australian Journal of Adoption v. 8 no. 1 2014: 24p
Over the past decade there has been a rapid and consistent decline in numbers of children coming to Australia through intercountry adoption. This article considers the reasons behind this decline and whether privatising pre-adoption services would increase and improve intercountry adoption.

Reflections on inter-country adoption by a single professional parent.

Baker F
Australian Journal of Adoption v. 8 no. 1 2014: 7p
In this article, the author, a single, older, professional woman, reflects on her decision to adopt a baby from another country, and the impact it has had on their lives.

Orphans of Vietnam : a history of intercountry adoption policy and practice in Australia, 1968-1975.

Forkert J
Australian Journal of Adoption v. 8 no. 1 2014: 280p
This thesis presents a detailed historical analysis of the origins of the policy and practice of intercountry adoption - the legal adoption of children from overseas - in Australia. Efforts by Australian families to adopt children from overseas were made in the years immediately following the Second World War, but it was not until the Vietnam War that significant numbers of adopted children began to arrive in Australia. This thesis focuses on the period from 1968, when the first Vietnamese children were adopted, up until Operation Babylift in 1975, and examines the development of state and Commonwealth government policies towards intercountry adoption. Through an examination of the relationship between state and Commonwealth government authorities, international social welfare organisations, volunteer groups and individual adoptive parents, it argues that each phase of the development of adoption policy was shaped by broader political considerations, such as foreign affairs, defence and immigration policies, moreso than any consideration for the interests of the children themselves.

Intercountry adoption reform : a service provider's contribution to the debate.

Clare C
Australian Journal of Adoption v. 8 no. 1 2014: 21p
This paper is an abridged version of submission to the Prime Minister's Committee to Review Intercountry Adoption. In this submission, VANISH, the Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self-Help, urges the Prime Minister to ensure that any changes to adoption legislation, guidelines, policy, and service delivery are consistent with the best interests of the child and must override the desire of adults to be parents. They believe the best way to do this is for Australia to continue to only engage with countries who have ratified the Hague Convention and to implement the National Adoption Principles.

Do schools promote social inclusion? The experiences of intercountry adoptees in Australia.

Scarvelis B, Crisp B and Goldingay S
Journal of Social Inclusion v. 5 no. 1 2014: 61-77
Intercountry adoption programs have brought children from racially and culturally diverse backgrounds to live as Australians, including 30 children from Ransgit Children's Home who arrived in South Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As part of a larger project which explored the life experiences of 12 adults who had arrived as children aged between 4 and 9 from Ransgit, this paper explores the role of schools in facilitating their inclusion into life in Australia. The school experience was often critical in learning English and was pre-requisite for acceptance in the school yard but also a place in which most of these Thai-born intercountry adoptees experienced racism. Despite very few participants completing secondary school, all had employment. However, many held jobs which were low-paying and which precluded them from participating in opportunities to return to Thailand to learn more about their Thai origins or participating as adoptive parents in intercountry adoption programs. Hence, while schools can play an important role in facilitating social inclusion, the school system alone may be unable to address the multiple dimensions of exclusion experienced by intercountry adoptees.

Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Intercountry Adoption

Australia. Interdepartmental Committee on Intercountry Adoption
Canberra : Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2014.
This report outlines options for implementing reform within Australia to improve intercountry adoption. A number of options are given for immediate and long term reforms. Note, as of 7th May, the public version only includes pages 1-40, which include the recommendations, current situation, and impediments to intercountry adoption. The public version does not contain deliberative material that is still being considered by the Government, including options for reform and possible immediate measures. Also, some text has been redacted to protect individual submissions.

The changing context of adoption.

O'Neill C, Ban P and Gair S
Rice, Simon, ed. Day, Andrew, ed. Social work in the shadow of the law. 4th ed. Annandale, NSW : Federation Press, 2014. 9781862879492: 26-46
This text book explores social work practice in different legal contexts in Australia. This chapter looks at adoption. It describes the development of adoption in Australia, the legal and policy context, different types of adoption, and adoption as part of the continuum of out of home care. It includes a case study of traditional adoption practices among Torres Strait Islanders and discusses the issue of access to adoption information by adoptees and birth parents.

Perfecting adoption? Reflections on the rise of offshore commercial surrogacy and family formation in Australia.

Cuthbert D and Fronek P
Hayes, Alan, ed. Higgins, Daryl J., ed. Families, policy and the law : selected essays on contemporary issues for Australia. Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014. 9781922038487: 55-66
Australians are increasingly using offshore surrogacy arrangements to satisfy their desire to become parents. By comparing this rise in offshore surrogacy with the rise of intercountry adoption in the 1970s, this chapter argues that offshore surrogacy is the latest shift in a highly dynamic market for having children as part of family formation.

Speech and language development of intercountry adopted children aged 3 to 6 years : an explorative study of Australian parents' knowledge, beliefs, and experiences.

Golding S, Leitao S and Williams C
Adoption Quarterly v. 16 no. 1 Jan 2013: 40-61
This article explores intercountry-adoptive parents' knowledge, beliefs, and experiences about their children's speech and language development. Eleven parents who lived in Australia and adopted a child aged 3 to 6 years from an overseas country were surveyed regarding what they thought their children's experiences were before adoption, their thoughts on the parent role in children's speech and language development, and their efforts to learn more on this issue, seek help, and consult professionals.

Apologies for forced adoption practices : implications for contemporary intercountry adoption.

Fronek P and Cuthbert D
Australian Social Work v. 66 no. 3 2013: 402-414
2012 marked historic events in the practice of adoption in Australia. Government focus was on the formulation of apologies to those people affected by past forced adoption practices. A critical reflection on these and other Australian apologies, highlight assumptions that differentiate past domestic adoption practices from past and contemporary practice in intercountry adoption. The importance of social work, founded in the values of social justice and human rights, to ensuring the same practice standards apply to all people who give birth to children regardless of where they live is highlighted. Expanding knowledge on intercountry adoption indicates that Australia should prepare for another apology.

International surrogacy arrangements : legal regulation at the international level

Trimmings K and Beaumont P
Oxford : Hart Publishing, 2013.
This book is a resource for legal practitioners and policy makers interested in the proliferation of international surrogacy arrangements. Part 1 profiles particular arrangements in several countries, including Australia, and highlights the local challenges and incompatibilities that arise from international surrogacy arrangements. Part 2 provides a human rights perspective on the issues involved. The book concludes in part 3 by proposing a regulatory model to help address these issues.

Adoptions Australia 2012-13

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013.
This report contains comprehensive information on adoptions in Australia, including the characteristics of adopted children, adoptive families and birth mothers. It also reports on the processing times for intercountry adoption, as well as on applications and vetoes lodged by parties to adoptions concerning contact and information exchange. During 2012-13, there were 339 finalised adoptions across Australia. Among these adoptions: 46% were 'known' child adoptions, 38% were intercountry, and 16% were local; 84% of intercountry adoptees came from Asia; 52% of 'known' adoptions were by carers, such as foster parents; 51% of adopted children were aged under 5. (Publisher abstract)

The market in babies : stories of Australian adoption

Quartly M, Swain S and Cuthbert D
Clayton, Vic. : Monash University Publishing, 2013.
This book describes the history of adoption in Australia through the words and experiences of those involved. From baby smuggling to international surrogacy, from forced adoption to international child rescue, this book looks at the personal face of the rise and fall in the demand for babies and the right - or otherwise - to have children.

Adoption of children in Queensland and in England : culture or compromise.

Dowding S and Lovecy C
Australian Journal of Adoption v. 7 no. 3 2013: 13p
The article compares 'adoption from care' law and policy between England and Australia, with particular reference to the perceived importance of cultural matching and the best interests of the child in cases where it is unsafe for a child to remain with their parents.

The back door in : private immigration bills and transnational adoption to the US 1945-1961.

Balcom K
28 May 2013
In the fifteen years following the Second World War, US legislators created the legal framework for transnational adoption to the United States through various pieces of legislation which were part of a larger series of debates over the shape and intention of US immigration policy in this period. There were many stops, starts, proposals and controversies along the way. At the same time, there was a backdoor for the admission of adopted or to-be adopted children through the hundreds of private immigration laws passed by Congress to allow the admission of children who could not qualify under the existing legislative framework. Dr Balcom's research highlights the stories of adopting families, of relinquishing families and of children pulled apart and thrown back together in new familial arrangements in the aftermath of world war, civil war, poverty and dislocation.
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