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Adoption is one of a range of options used to provide permanent care for children who are unable to live with their families. It is a legal process where rights and responsibilities are transferred from a child’s parents to their adoptive parents.

The categories of adoption used in national reporting are:

  • Intercountry adoptions—adoptions of children from countries other than Australia who are legally able to be placed for adoption, but who generally have had no previous contact or relationship with the adoptive parent(s). Expatriate adoptions are not included in the numbers for intercountry adoptions.
  • Dynamic data display: Intercountry adoptions

    Dynamic charts and data for intercountry adoption

    Description and notes

  • Local adoptions—adoptions of children who were born or permanently residing in Australia before the adoption, who are legally able to be placed for adoption, but who generally have had no previous contact or relationship with the adoptive parent(s).
  • ‘Known’ child adoptions—adoptions of children who were born or permanently residing in Australia before the adoption, who have a pre-existing relationship with the adoptive parent(s) and who are generally not able to be adopted by anyone other than the adoptive parent(s). Known child adoptions include adoptions by step-parents, other relatives and carers.

These are the latest figures from Adoptions Australia 2013–14.

Adoptions in Australia, 2013–14

adoptions flowchart showing split across intercountry, local and 'known' adoptions- all adoptions 339 - intercountry adoptions 129 (38%); Hague adoption 61; non-Hague adoption 68 - Australian adoptions 210 (62%) - local adoptions 54 (16%); 'known' child adoptions 156 (46%) - Domestic 156; overseas (not in scope) - step-parent 70; relative 2; carer 81; other 3.  

Adoption rates infographic

76% decline

in adoptions in Australia in the last 25 years.


Under 5s adoptions infographic

2 in 5

adoptees were under 5 years of age.

Only 12% of adoptees were infants under 12 months of age.


Intercountry adoptions infographic

2 in 5

adoptees came from overseas.


Adoptions from Asia infographic

89%

of adoptees who came overseas were from Asia.


Wait time infographic

5 years

was the typical wait time for families who adopted a child from overseas in 2013–14.

This has increased by 2 years since 2007–08, but remained stable since 2012–13.


Birth mothers infographic

1 in 2

birth mothers of local adoptees were aged under 25.

Almost all (93%) were unmarried.


Infographic showing 87% of Australian adoptions were ‘open’.

89%

of local adoptions were ‘open’ (that is, all parties agreed to some contact).


Known adopters infographic

57%

of ‘known’ adoptions were by non-relative carers (such as foster carers), and

41%

of 'known' adoptions were by step-parents.