Adoption describes the process of transferring parental responsibility from the birth parents of a child to the adoptive parent or parents. It is a way to permanently and legally formalise a familial relationship and is generally associated with young children.

In NSW, if you wish to adopt a child you must be:

(a) A resident or domiciled of NSW;

(b) Of good repute and fit and proper to fulfil the responsibilities of parenting;

(c) Over 21 years of age; and

(d) At least 18 years older than the child to be adopted.

There are further requirements for adoption by a couple, adoption by a relative and adoption by a step parent.

But is it possible to be adopted as an adult?

Under the Adoption Act 2000 an adult can be adopted, provided that the adult was cared for by the adoptive parent(s) prior to the adult reaching the age of 18 and all parties consent to the adoption. If you were over the age of 18 when you began to be cared for by the adoptive parent(s), your application may be rejected.

This is most common in stepparent and stepchild relationships to formalise and legally acknowledge the familial connection. Formalising the relationship is also useful with respect to inheritance purposes. Adult adoption is generally a simpler process as there is no need for a welfare report as is necessary for children under the age of 18 years.

If you are a person over 18 years of age and wish to formalise your adoption, you may prepare your own application or engage a private solicitor. Your application can be filed in the Supreme Court of NSW via the NSW Online Registry. You will need to register an account and then complete and file the following prescribed forms:

  1. Summons for Adoption;
  2. Minute of Order;
  3. Memorandum of Adoption Order;
  4. Affidavit of Proposed Adoptive Parent(s)
  5. Affidavit of Referee;
  6. Affidavit of Adoptee; and
  7. Consent to Adoption.

There may be additional or alternative documents if you are commencing an intrafamily or stepparent adoption.

Supreme Court adoption forms and guides can be found here and information regarding filing fees can be found here.

After a successful application, a new birth certificate will be issued registering the newly adoptive parents as the legal parents of the applicant.

If you need further advice from our expert family law team, please contact us on 1300 749 709 to see how our experienced team can assist you.