Intercountry adoption ad hoc requests




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Intercountry adoption ad hoc requests


This document explains what ad hoc adoption means and the general principles that apply to ad hoc adoptions. It also outlines the criteria and process for an ad hoc adoption request.

What is an ad hoc adoption?


An ad hoc intercountry adoption request refers to an application to adopt an overseas child from a country with which Australia does not have an existing intercountry adoption program.

Australian central authorities’ view


Australia maintains intercountry adoption programs where we can be sure that Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) standards are being applied consistently and appropriately by countries or agencies to ensure the best interests of the child.

To protect the interests of adoptive children and prospective adoptive parents, Australian central authorities will not consider ad hoc requests unless particular criteria are met, including that exceptional circumstances are demonstrated.

If exceptional circumstances are demonstrated and the ad hoc request is accepted, applicants will be subject to the normal intercountry adoption process (and waiting times) applicable in their relevant state or territory and the overseas country.

What are the requirements for ad hoc requests?


State or territory central authorities may consider an ad hoc intercountry adoption request if:

  1. The state or territory central authority, in consultation with the Australian Central Authority (ACA), is satisfied that an adoption arranged in the overseas country:

      • complies with the Hague Convention standards and requirements, international law and principles and the laws of the overseas country, and

      • demonstrates the appropriate infrastructure and procedural safeguards are in place to protect against the abduction or sale of, or traffic in, children.

  1. The adoption would comply with the relevant Australian laws and immigration requirements.

  2. The applicants can demonstrate that exceptional circumstances apply. For example, exceptional circumstances may include, but are not limited to:

      • shared ethnicity, citizenship and/or language

      • having lived in the country for several years, and

      • currently having close family members residing in the country.

  1. The state or territory central authority has sufficient resources to be able to facilitate an ad hoc adoption.

Who can I speak to about ad hoc requests?


State and territory central authorities are responsible for the consideration and facilitation of individual adoption cases. Specific enquiries about intercountry ad hoc adoption requests should be discussed with the relevant state or territory central authority, including whether any other alternatives may be available.

Prospective adoptive parents and children must be assessed by their relevant state or territory central authority. Where an intercountry ad hoc child adoption is not arranged through the relevant central authority, there is a significant risk that the child will not meet Australian immigration requirements and, therefore, be unable to enter Australia.


What is the process for ad hoc adoption requests?


Your local state or territory central authority must agree in principle to accept the ad hoc request before you can make a formal application for adoption. Each ad hoc request will be considered on a case-by-case basis against the criteria listed above.

If a state or territory central authority agrees in principle to accept the request, the following process generally applies:



  1. Applicants submit an Ad Hoc Request Form, provided by your state or territory central authority. Prospective adoptive parents who contact the Australian Central Authority (ACA) directly will be referred back to their state or territory central authority.

  2. Applicants submit the completed Ad Hoc Request Form to their state or territory central authority. When completing the form, applicants should provide as much detail as possible about their circumstances and attach any supporting documentation.

  3. The state or territory central authority, in consultation with the ACA, will assess the ad hoc request to:

  • Determine whether the applicants meet the relevant state or territory eligibility requirements for intercountry adoption.

  • Consider the request against the criteria for accepting ad hoc requests including any exceptional circumstances claimed.

  • Consider whether there are any specific reasons why the request should not be accepted.

  1. If the state or territory central authority considers the request should be accepted, it will advise the applicants to make a formal intercountry adoption application. The applicants will be subject to the normal intercountry adoption process applicable in their relevant state or territory and the overseas country.

  2. If the state or territory central authority considers the request should not be accepted, it will advise the applicants (and the ACA) that the ad hoc request has been unsuccessful and outline the reasons for that decision.







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