Three important issues in relation to adoptions are discussed in this publication:

  • the continued decrease in the number of adoption orders made in Australia;
  • the country  of birth of children adopted  by non-relatives;
  • changes in adoption law in Australia that have allowed adopted persons, birth parents  and birth relatives access to information  about their adoption.

The following are among the main findings of the report:

  • Between 1 July 1993 and 30 June 1994,764 adoption orders were made-a decrease of 2% from the previous year and a decrease of 92% since the peak in 1971-72.
  • The majority of adoption orders (536, or 70%) were made by non-relatives; adoptions by step-parents accounted for 214 (28%) and adoptions by other relatives 14 (2%).
  • Of the children adopted by non-relatives, 49% were aged under 1 year. The majority (71%) of children adopted by relatives were aged between 5 and 14 years.
  • Of children adopted by non-relatives, 41% were born overseas. Of these, 53% were girls.
  • The number of overseas-born children adopted  by non-relatives  decreased by 2% since 1992-93 and 47% since 1989-90.
  • The majority (82%) of adoptions of Australian-born children by non-relatives involved an ex-nuptial child (259 out of 314).
  • There were 259 ex-nuptial Australian-born children adopted by non-relatives in 1993-94, the same number as in the previous year but a decrease of 51% from 1988-89.
  • Seven of the 13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children adopted were placed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In1993-94, 6,135 applications were made for information about past adoptions in Australia.  Access to information legislation has been introduced only in the last five to ten years so it is likely that the number of applications for information will stay high for some time.