Adoption legislation was first introduced in 1928 and since that time around 64,000 Victorians have been adopted (Department of Human Services). This should equate to an average of 762 adoptions per year, however, this is not the case today. The number of adoptions in Australia has dropped significantly from 9,798 in 1971-72 to 384 in 2010-11 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011). Each year in Victoria as few as 20 children are put up for adoption and nationally around 70 children from international countries are adopted (Department of Human Services; Adoption Australia 2011).
During 2010-11 there were 384 finalised adoptions across Australia-the lowest annual number on record. Of these adoptions: 56% were intercountry, 12% were local and 32% were 'known' child adoptions (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011). The children available for intercountry adoption is now greater than the numbers for local adoption (Adoption Australia 2011).
The low rate of adoption today is clearly not a matter of decreased demand. The current rates for fertility treatment amongst Australian couples are at an all-time high with one in six couples having fertility problems (McArthur 2007). In addition one State received 174 applications from families wanting to adopt a child in 2010-11 however only 40 children were adopted that year (Queensland Government 2011).
The existing process for giving a baby to the State for adoption and for adopting a baby into a family is riddled with convoluted paperwork and red tape. While these requirements are designed to protect the wellbeing of the child, it has been to the detriment of adoption being accepted as a feasible option for unplanned pregnancy and, on the other side of the fence, for those wishing to adopt a baby. The waiting time from the beginning of the process to actually taking home your child can take up to eight years and cost up to $40,000 (Jackman 2008).
The purpose of "The Gift of Adoption" is to promote, educate and politicise adoption in Australia. Through a multi faceted approach we believe Adoption can be widely accepted in our society as an option for unplanned pregnancy and the process complexity greatly reduced.