Adults Can Be Adopted Too

08 FEB 2021


When we think of adoption, we automatically think of younger children being adopted by a stepparent, relative or foster parent. What few people are aware of, or think of, is that NSW legislation also provides a mechanism for adults to be adopted.

Generally, adoption of an adult occurs to formalize an existing parent- child relationship, or for inheritance purposes. In NSW, someone over the age of 18 can be adopted if they have been cared for by the proposed adoptive parents as their child prior to reaching the age of 18.

There are two main forms of adoption applicable to adults. The first is intrafamily adoption and this relates to step parents and other relatives. There is also adoption by unrelated adults, which applies to any other type of relationship that isn’t classified as intrafamily and most commonly occurs when a foster carer is adopting an adult.

The adoption process is rather complex and governed by strict legislation. Adult adoptions do not require a Court report to be completed, as would occur if the adoption related to a child. Adoption of an adult also does not require consent from the birth parents and only requires consent from the adult themselves.

Someone consenting to their own adoption must attend counselling with a registered counselor. This kind of counselling does not delve into your thoughts and feelings like most counselling sessions would, but instead aims to ensure that the person understands what it is that they are actually consenting to. The adult’s consent to their own adoption occurs in the form of signing a document, which needs to witnessed by an independent and authorized witness.

While the process of adoption is quite complex, it is an emotionally rewarding process that recognizes the role the proposed adoptive parents have played in the adult’s life, particularly during their formative years.

If you require more information on the above please contact Nevine Youssef on or by phoning 02 4626 5077.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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