Thursday, September 14, 2017

Adopting in Australia remains a black spot



Adoptions have hit an historical low- again. There were only 45 children adopted Australia wide from the adoption pool in 2015-2016.  The recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals that in 2015-2016 there were 278 adoptions- whether Aussie kids or kids adopted from overseas.  Of those, only 82 came from overseas.  In the past, as many or more adoptions came from overseas than happened locally.

Of the 196 Australian adoptions, 151 were known child adoptions, half of which were for stepparents at 76 and almost half were carers at 70.  The other known child adoptions were 3 for relative and 2 for others.  Of those carer adoptions, almost all of those will be from New South Wales.
These numbers contrast with 1971-1972 at a time when, shamefully, children were ripped off the breasts of their mothers and forcefully adopted and Aboriginal children were removed from the families under the Stolen Generation.  Back then, approximately 10,000 children were adopted.  The Australian population was about half of what it is now.

Where children have come from and where they go

Country
NSW
Vic
Qld
WA
SA
Tas
ACT
NT
Chile




3



China
1
1


1



Columbia
1



3



Philippines
5

13

2



Sri Lanka
2







Thailand
3
2
7
4

1
1

Other (one from Hong Kong and one from South Africa)

1





1
South Korea
4
4


2
1

3
Taiwan
5
1
6

3


1

The median length of time from when an Australian applicant became an official client of the State or Territory department to when a child was placed with them was 41 months.  Median waiting times vary by country arranging from more than 2½ years for South Korea to nearly 7 years for Thailand.
Of the 82 intercountry adoptees, 94% were younger than 10 and 71% were under 5.  The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said:

            “While this is similar to previous years, changes to the population of children in need of adoption have led to a steady decline in the numbers of adoptions of infants and children aged 1-4.  The number of adoptees aged 5 and over has been generally similar over time, with more fluctuations among the females than males.  Historically, considerably few children in this age group have been adopted than younger children.  However, this pattern is changing with the decline in infant adoption.  Only 7 of the 82 intercountry adoptees were infants aged under 12 months, with most of these from Taiwan.”

The Institute said:

            “Adoptive parents tend to be older than parents of non-adopted children, for various reasons, which for some may include postponed childbearing, unsuccessful fertility treatments, evaluation of alternatives in relation to family formation, and often lengthy processing times in intercountry adoption.  Added to these are the specified age requirements for some adoption programmes.  All adoptive parents of finalised intercountry adoption were aged at least 30, and more than 80% were aged 40 and over. Most of Australia’s countries do not allow de facto couples to marry.  Some have a time limit for the intended parents to be married, such as South Korea for a minimum of 3 years, and only South Africa will allow same sex couples to apply.”

In 2015-2016, 129 adoption specific visas were issued for children who were adopted by Australians overseas through an overseas agency or authority.  This was a one-third increase from the previous year.

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