What is adoption?

Adoption is the legal process where the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent are transferred permanently from the child's birth parents to the adoptive parents. Adoption permanently establishes a new relationship for both the child and adoptive parents.

What are my rights if I am adopted?

As an adopted child, you generally have the same rights and privileges as  any other child.

Can I find out who my biological parents are?

You can get information about who your biological parents are when you turn 18. You do not require permission from your adoptive parents to get this information once you turn 18.

Your biological parents also have a legal right to find out information about you after you turn 18.

If you are under 18, you can’t access information about your birth parents without the consent of your adoptive parents. Also, your birth parents are not allowed to contact you if you are under 18.

How do I get information?

You can apply for identifying information by completing an application form available from the Queensland Adoption Services Unit. Once an application is made information will be sent provided there is no objection lodged to the disclosure of information.

Alternatively if you are not 18 years of age, Queensland provides a mailbox program which allows an adopted child to have a voluntary exchange of correspondence with the birth parents. Only non-identifying information can be exchanged.

What if I don’t want my biological parents to contact me?

Once you turn 18, you can stop your birth parents from contacting you by filling out a form and sending it to the Adoption Services Queensland Unit. Your birth parents will still be able to find out information about you, but won’t be able to contact you.

Remember, your birth parents aren’t allowed to contact you when you are under 18.

Can I move in with my birth parents?

After an adoption is made, your adopted parents have full parental rights and responsibilities. That means it is generally expected that you will live with your adoptive parents. You should discuss contacting your birth parents with your adoptive parents. However, you are not breaking any law if you leave home.

For more information about leaving home, see our Lawstuff topic ‘Leaving Home’.

Can my birth parents adopt me again?

Re-adoption is possible if everyone agrees.

Who can adopt me?

In Queensland, there are two types of adoptions – adoption of a relative (e.g. a step-child) or adoption of an unrelated child under the Queensland Adoption Program. To adopt under the Queensland Adoption Program, one parent to be infertile. This is not required in the case of an adoption of a relative.

What is taken into consideration when my adoption is being considered?

An adoption cannot be made if the child’s wishes are not considered!

Do I have any rights to inherit my adoptive parents’ property when they die?

Inheritance occurs when someone dies, and their property, for example, their house and money, is transferred to someone else. Parents’ property is usually inherited by their children.

In QLD, once you are adopted into a family, in the eyes of the law you become a child of your adoptive parents. Therefore you have the same rights that a birth child has with regard to inheritance of your adoptive parents’ property when they die (but you have no rights of inheritance from your birth parents).

Last updated 22 September 2010

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