Having the baby adopted

If you decide to continue the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption, contact your state or territory adoption agency.

A counsellor will work with approved adoption agencies to arrange preparation for adoption before your baby is born, but nothing will be definitely arranged until after the birth. You will be completely free to change your mind.

The counsellor will discuss with you the kind of family you want your baby to grow up in and will usually tell you quite a lot about the family that is likely to become the baby’s new parents. You should talk to the counsellor about the possibility of meeting the family if you want to, or about other sorts of contact you could have in the future.

Although counsellors arrange adoptions, they are made legally binding by the courts. The court will make sure that you are definite about your decision to put your baby up for adoption and that the baby’s new home is the right environment for him/her to grow up in.

Everyone recognises that putting a child up for adoption is a very big step for a mother so you have a cooling off period after the birth before you need to give your final agreement in writing to the court (the actual amount of time differs from state to state – contact your state adoption agency for more information). When the adoption order has been agreed by the court you will no longer have any legal relationship with or responsibilities for the child.

Adoption means legally giving up responsibility for your child. Fostering means that another set of parents will temporarily look after your baby but that you will remain the legal guardian and hopefully be in a position to care for your child in the future.

The same people who organise adoption can help you with fostering. If, for whatever reason, you cannot look after your baby, the agency in your state or territory that is responsible for adoption and fostering will arrange temporary fostering and will try to work with you to reunite you with your child.

Making a decision about adoption or fostering is a big one and you should feel able to take time to make the right decision for you and speak to organisations and people who can help you make up your mind.

For more help and advice on adoption contact:

ACT - Department of Education, Youth and Family Services


NT – Department of Health and Community Services


NSW – Department of Community Services


QLD - Department of Child Safety


SA - Adoption and Family Information Service of SA


TAS - Department of Health and Human Services


VIC - Department of Human Services


WA - Department for Community Development