1. You are permanent residents of New Zealand,
2. You receive a positive, supportive home study report from the New Zealand Central Authority for Adoption, following an adoption education course and assessment by one of the pre-adoption approval agencies, AFS or OT.
3. You understand the needs of children who have experienced grief and loss and you are prepared to accept and work with a child of an appropriate age.
4. You meet the requirements of the country you wish to adopt from.
NOTE - Each adoption is viewed individually. Adoption requirements are sometimes flexible if you are applying for older children, sibling groups of three or more children from one family, those with medical needs, or if you have cultural heritage that matches the child's culture. Other conditions may apply in your particular case, so we strongly recommend you talk to us before progressing too far.
After this, the first formal step is to undertake adoption education/preparation courses and be approved as an adoptive family. You have a choice of two routes for this -
1. Adoption First Steps OR
2. Oranga Tamariki Ministry For Children.
Once you are approved, ICANZ can begin the actual adoption application to the overseas country for you.
The country you choose to apply to,
The age, gender, number of children you choose to apply for, and any restrictions you place on the characteristics of child you will accept
How well you fit the type of parent that country is looking for and how your application is presented,
How many other parents are applying at the same time,
How many children enter the orphanage or other form of government care in the months or years before your application is received.
Some examples, based on our experience: If you apply to Thailand for one child up to 2 years, you may wait 4-8 months to receive information on your child, then a further 6-8 or more months to bring your child home.If you apply to the Philippines for one child aged 8-11 years or a child with medical or developmental needs, you may be matched in a few months. If you apply for a healthy child up to 3 years, you might be matched in 2 years. If you are willing to accept some medical needs, this will be much shorter. Timeframes for India and Lithuania are also variable (a few months for children 8-11, far longer for little children), but in general those applying for older children are matched far more quickly, as are those who accept waiting children. See our waiting children page for more information
Please note: These time frames are for the adoption process with ICANZ only and do not include the time for pre-adoption approval agencies AFS or OT to assess and approve you to be adoptive parents. Adoption processes and timeframes with other placement agencies may be very different.
Philippines - for children over 9 years so long as you can meet other criteria.
Thailand for children over about 8 or 9 years.
There is no government funding to help you in NZ or the child's country of origin.ICANZ is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that must charge fees on a cost-recovery basis.
Many people are involved in each adoption. In New Zealand we employ qualified trained professionals whose sole job is to assist you. They are not volunteers trying to squeeze this work in between other jobs. We must pay for staff to answer enquirers seeking information and to process adoption paperwork for those undertaking an adoption.
To set up the adoption programme you use, our team had to travel to the overseas countries to meet with government officials, and our partner organisations that will help you overseas.
In NZ, ICANZ is required to have a secure office, to protect very personal documents for the families we assist, telephone and computer systems to communicate with NZ families and overseas authorities. Each month, we must pay these overhead costs of rent, power, phone bills, internet service provider, alarm company, water rates, insurance company as well as maintain viable office equipment.
Your adoption will involve engaging experienced personnel in your child’s region. These overseas service providers facilitate your application through the legal process and obtain the paperwork necessary for the child’s adoption, visa, NZ Citizenship and passport. In some countries there is the additional cost of employing translators to translate each and every communication and document that is required for the court case for the adoption. When parents travel to pick up their child, facilitators, guides and translators may meet them at the airport, transport them to their pre-arranged meetings and help them as they meet their child for the first time. Some overseas partner agencies are also child caring agencies, and must fund the costs of the staff, buildings, equipment, overheads, food, clothing, to care for the children.
Although the ICANZ team and the associated personnel in the child's country of origin view their work as a mission, like anyone, they must earn a living to provide for their families. Each employee needs a salary, an office, a computer, a phone, office supplies and ongoing training and ICANZ faces capital expenditures for equipment, furniture and maintenance, insurance, etc.
All of this and more requires money to pay expenses. So, as you can see, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes! We welcome your calls and questions so we can help you understand the process and costs involved.
Documentation costs, usually involving notary's fees, government department costs, costs for your own medical reports, psychologist report, home study report, as well as translations
Travel costs internationally and within the child's country, including visas, passports
Overseas accommodation costs
ICANZ costs within NZ
Overseas agency costs including interpreter costs, court fees, lawyers' fees, the child's medical examination
Post adoption monitoring costs
NZ citizenship costs
These vary from country to country. ICANZ supplies a detailed written list of predicted expenses for your process of adoption for each country. Contact us for this information.