A New South Wales (NSW) couple has recently been granted custody of two young children placed in their care.
The case was decided at the NSW Supreme Court, and concerned adoption of a two-year old and a 15-month old. There was an absence of consent from the biological parents of the children. For this reason consent dispense orders under section 67(1)(d) of the Adoption Act 2000 were sought.
Both of the children were placed in the care of the proposed parents soon after their birth by Barnados and the Director-General of the Department of Family and Community Services. Parental responsibility for the children had been given to the Director-General until each of the children turned 18.
The proposed parents of the children had been in a de facto relationship since 2007. The court ordered that the adoption be made and approval for a change of surname for both children be granted.
The surname was changed despite opposition from the biological parents. The court found that "the proposed change of surname will reflect the surnames of the adoptive parents, and thus further promote a sense of belonging and identity within the family, I consider that it is in the best interests of each of the children for the proposed change in surname to occur", according to a summary of the proceedings.
Adoption Act 2000
The Adoption Act 2000 provides for regulations regarding the adoption of children in NSW and access of information concerning an adoption.
When making a decision about the adoption of a child the act states what needs to be considered, the most important point being that the decision is in the best interests of the child, not just as a minor but during later life as well.
The act also states that no adult has the right to adopt a child. Furthermore, if the child is able to express their own views on the their adoption they must be given the chance to express those views.
What is an Adoption Plan?
An adoption plan is also provided for in part four of the act and the Court is required to take it into consideration. While the biological couple in this case did not provide consent for the adoptions they did sign the adoption plan.
Provisions for the adoption of a child are laid out in the plan. These provisions should be agreed to by two or more of the parties.
Possible provisions include arrangements between the parties for exchanging information about the medical background and development of the child and how contact between the parties and the child will be established.
If you are interested in adoption contact a family lawyer to discuss your situation.