Adopt in New Zealand

In New Zealand, lesbian couples can access assisted reproduction techniques since 2004, with both mothers being registered on the birth certificate.
Adoption by same-sex couples is possible since 2013 (read more).

” Adoption Act

Power to make adoption orders

(1)Subject to the provisions of this Act, a court may, upon an application made by any person whether domiciled in New Zealand or not, make an adoption order in respect of any child, whether domiciled in New Zealand or not.

(2)An adoption order may be made on the application of 2 spouses jointly in respect of a child.

(3)An adoption order may be made in respect of the adoption of a child by the mother or father of the child, either alone or jointly with his or her spouse.

Restrictions on making adoption orders

(1)Except in special circumstances, an adoption order shall not be made in respect of a child unless the applicant or, in the case of a joint application, one of the applicants—

(a)has attained the age of 25 years and is at least 20 years older than the child; or

(b)has attained the age of 20 years and is a relative of the child; or

(c)is the mother or father of the child.

(2)An adoption order shall not be made in respect of a child who is a female in favour of a sole applicant who is a male unless the court is satisfied that the applicant is the father of the child or that there are special circumstances which justify the making of an adoption order.

(3)Except as provided in subsection (2) of section 3, an adoption order shall not be made providing for the adoption of a child by more than 1 person.

(4)Any adoption order made in contravention of this section shall be valid, but may be discharged by the court under section 20.

(5)Where any adoption order made in contravention of this section provides for the adoption of a child by more than 1 person, the High Court may, on the application of any such person made at any time while the adoption order remains in force, make such provision as appears just with respect to the role of providing day-to-day care for the child, and with respect to the maintenance and education of the child.

Who can adopt in New Zealand?

In New Zealand most couples who apply to adopt are approved. There will be cases where people convicted of crimes against children or who have certain health issues may not be approved. You can discuss your individual case with the social workers at Child Youth and Family (CYF). With a couple, if they are not married, only one member of the couple is allowed to adopt and has his or her name on the new birth certificate.

Family members can formally adopt a child without going through the pre-adoption training days. They will be required to make an application to CYF and the process is the same as any other person who wishes to adopt a child. That is they will have to have a police check, a medical check and supply references.

Single people are welcome to apply. With birth parent(s) selecting who they would like to adopt their baby, the difficulty might be in regards to birth parents being more likely to prefer to select a couple. However this may not always be the case and a birth parent has the right to – and may select a single person.

Overseas adoption

New Zealand has an agreement with a number of countries as regards adoption. CYF will assess anybody who wishes to adopt.  However the ‘sending country’ (i.e. of the child) has its own rules as regards who they would allow to adopt.  Therefore CYF are guided by these rules.  Currently there is no country which CYF has an agreement with, which would permit a baby to be adopted by a single applicant.  Hong Kong allows a single applicant to apply to adopt an older child or a child with a disability.  By ‘older child’ the age would be around 6 years of age.  By disability this could mean a moderate to severe learning and/or physical disability.  There is often an assumption that a single applicant would be female.  This would need further clarification if the single applicant was male. These guidelines do change so please check with CYF.

Gay/Lesbian couples wanting to adopt

Gay/lesbian couples can adopt in New Zealand.

Age Limit

There is no age limit to adopt in New Zealand.  It is the birth mum’s choice as to who she wishes to adopt her baby.

 New Zealanders Living Overseas Wanting to Adopt

You have to be a resident of New Zealand to adopt in New Zealand – both domestic and international.”