If you are considering adopting in New Zealand you will need to make contact with the Adoption Information and Services Unit at Child Youth and Family. Their number is listed in the government section at the front of the White Pages telephone book or you can call 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459).
The following are the stages of the adoption process (adapted from CYF's website)
Contact the Adoption Services team at Child, Youth and Family (CYF).
They will tell you about when you can attend a group information meeting. Group information meetings provide an overview of the adoption process. You'll also meet people who can answer your questions.
Complete the forms.
If you decide you'd like to adopt, you'll need to fill out an application form, giving basic information about yourself and:
provide the names of two people who know you well and who can provide references relevant to your application
give permission for your doctor to provide medical information
give permission for Child, Youth and Family to do a police check (It's important that you have no offences affecting the safety of a child)
If you'd like to ask about health issues or offences that may affect your application, you can talk to an adoption social worker about it.
Attend the CYF preparation programme.
Once your application has been received, CYF will invite you to an adoption Education and Preparation Programme. At the programme, you'll get more in-depth information about adoption, and what it means to you and your family. This is a chance for you to ask as many questions as you want. You will be assigned an adoption social worker at this point, who will work with you throughout the process. You'll also hear about general attitudes and beliefs about adoption, so that you're well prepared and confident to be a parent to an adopted child.
Social worker Interviews
During and after the programme, you'll have a number of interviews with social workers. These will be done so CYF can learn about you, including your current home-life and your background, and for you to you learn more about how adoption works.
Preparing the profile
After completing the assessment you produce a profile of your family for birth parents to consider. Birth parents will use these profiles to make their decision about who they would like to adopt their child.
Current practice is that you are only informed you've been picked after the birth (in some cases you will be told beforehand).
Meet the birth parents.
Most birthparents want to meet the adoptive parents they are considering for their child. This is a time to get to know each other, and decide if you both want to go ahead with the adoption. You may also want to talk about the sort of ongoing relationship you'd like to have with each other. Once parents reach this stage, there are consent forms and legal processes to go through.
Adopt the baby.
There has to be a minimum of 10 days between birth and adoption (therefore possible from day 12). At this point the birth parents can sign the legal consent forms. Note, this 12 days is the minimum time frame in which consent can be signed, some birth parents may take a bit more time to sign. In New Zealand the law is that once the birth parents sign consent forms, they give you (the adopting parents) full legal rights and responsibility of the child. You will need a lawyer and you pay for this and also pay the birth parents' legal fees. After consent is signed the baby is in your care. The legal paperwork needs to be finalised. Usually six months later you will go to Court to get an Interim Order, then about six months after that you get the Final Order. It is at this stage you can change baby's name on the birth certificate over to yours.