Apply for an Adoption Order

If you want to adopt a child in New Zealand or from overseas or are wanting to view an adoption record, you should first contact Child, Youth & Family (external link)

On this page:

Apply for an Adoption Order

It’s free to apply for an Adoption Order.

If you need help to fill in the forms you can call or visit your local court

Find out more about affidavits and statutory declarations

  1. Fill in this form:
    Application for Adoption Order – A3 [PDF, 485 KB]
    If the child is not named in the application you will need to show evidence of the child’s identity at or before the hearing.
    Information sheet to accompany certain applications – G7 [PDF, 44 KB]
    General affidavit [PDF, 38 KB]
  2. You, or the social worker or lawyer, will also need to arrange for the birth mother to fill in and swear an affidavit:
    Affidavit of natural mother [PDF, 20 KB]
  3. File your application.
    Find out more about how to file documents

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Information you need to know when you apply

Your affidavit will need to give the following information:

  • your age
  • your health status
  • your financial circumstances
  • the sex, age and state of health of any children you have
  • why you want to adopt the child
  • how long the child has been living in your home
  • a statement that no payment or reward has been, or will be, made for the adoption
  • a statement of any religious conditions made by any parent or guardian
  • details of your relationship with the child
  • whether you have been refused an Adoption Order before.

You will need to attach the following documents to your affidavit:

  • a certified copy of your marriage or civil union certificate (if this applies) – find out more about certified copies
  • a valid social worker placement certificate, if placement of the child was arranged through Child, Youth and Family (the certificate is valid for only 1 month)
  • the birth certificate of the child being adopted.

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Consent to Adoption Order

You need to get the birth mother (and the birth father in most cases) to sign a Consent to Adoption Order form.

Use the A5 form if you don’t want the birth parents to know who you are.

You need to file the Consent to Adoption Order with the court. If consent isn’t being filed, you need to apply to dispense with consent.

Witnessing the Consent to Adoption Order

The Consent to Adoption Order must be witnessed by 1 of the following people:

  • a lawyer other than the adoptive parents’ lawyer
  • a District Court Judge or Registrar
  • a Māori Land Court Judge, Commissioner or Registrar
  • a Registrar of the High Court.

Find a court

The person witnessing the consent must:

  • explain to the person giving their consent the effect of the Adoption Order
  • state that the person giving their consent appeared to fully understand the effect of the Adoption Order.

Generally to be valid, the consent should not be signed until 12 days after the child is born.

Find out about:

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What happens after you apply

The Family Court must be sure that the mother or parents have agreed to give up the child for adoption. This is called proof of consent.

The court also needs to be sure that the people who want to adopt will be good parents. The Family Court will ask for a report on the person or couple applying for the adoption from a Child, Youth and Family social worker.

If the judge thinks the application should go further, an adoption hearing will be held in the court. You can be represented by a lawyer. The court can also appoint a lawyer to help if there are legal matters that need clarifying.

Interim Order and final Adoption Order

If your application is successful, the judge will make an Interim Order. This is a temporary Order that gives you the right to act as the child’s parents for up to 1 year. Social workers from Child, Youth and Family may visit you from time to time to see that things are going well. You’ll need to ask the court before you can take the child overseas during this time.

You can apply for a final Adoption Order 6 months after the Interim Order starts (unless the judge says you can do it sooner). You must apply for a final Adoption Order before the Interim Order ends. If you don’t, you will need to reapply for an Adoption Order.

Fill in this form:
Application for issue of Adoption Order after Interim Order has been made – A7 [PDF, 55 KB]

When a final Adoption Order is made, you’re the legal parents of your adopted child and a new birth certificate will be issued for the child.

If there are special circumstances, a judge may make a final Adoption Order without making an Interim Order.

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