Placing a child for adoption
Adoptive parents can parent your baby if you're not able to.
How it works
You choose the family who will adopt your baby.
You’ll be given profiles of different families who are hoping to adopt a child. You can look through as many profiles as you like before making a decision.
Once you choose a family your social worker will let them know. If you’d like to meet them then a time and place will be arranged. This can be at your home, their home, or somewhere neutral. It’s a good idea to take a support person to this meeting.
If you and the adoptive family agree then the next formal step is to sign the adoption consent forms. You’ll need a lawyer, but the adoptive parents will pay for this.
After the baby is born
After the birth you can choose for the baby to stay with you until the consent forms have been signed, or for the baby to be placed with a special foster carer.
The consent form needs to be signed by the baby’s guardian or guardians.
If you’re the baby’s mother you’re one of the baby’s guardians.
If you’re the baby’s father you’re only a guardian if:
- you're married to or in a civil union with the mother, and/or
- you lived with the mother at any time during the pregnancy, and/or
- you’re named on the baby’s birth certificate.
The birth mother can’t sign the forms until at least 12 days after the baby has been born.
The birth father can sign the consent forms at any time.
You can change your mind at any point before the consent forms are signed. After the interim order is made, the adoptive family will be the baby’s legal parents.
Contact with your child
Most new adoptions in New Zealand are open adoptions. The birth parents and adoptive parents know each other by name and often agree to ongoing contact.
A contact agreement can’t be legally enforced and can change over time — especially once the child is old enough to have a say.
Once an adoptive child turns 20, they’re entitled to information about their adoption. This can include their pre-adoptive birth certificate and other information held by the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
You may also be able to access information about your birth child.
Help and support
An adoption social worker can help you decide whether adoption is right for you and your baby. They will discuss all the options with you and guide you through the process.
Freephone: 0508 326 459