Interested in open adoption in Australia?

Adopt with Barnardos. Open adoption gives children in foster care a new beginning. You can provide them with safety and stability for life.

Start your parenting journey with us

Many people believe the only way to adopt a child in Australia is via intercountry adoption. However, this is not the case. There are thousands of children in foster care in Australia who need a safe and secure family in which to grow and thrive by belonging to a family for life through local adoption.

Barnardos is currently looking for prospective adoptive parents in NSW and ACT to welcome vulnerable young children aged 5-12 years into their hearts and homes. Many of these children also have brothers and sisters in the same age range and we believe siblings should be kept together wherever possible.

We welcome people of all backgrounds and cultures. You may be a single person, a couple, already have a biological child or children, or be a member of the LGBTQIA community – it doesn’t matter, as long as you (and any other adult household members) meet our eligibility criteria to foster and then adopt a child. In most cases, the process to adopt a foster child or foster children in your care takes between one and two years.
Barnardos acknowledges that adoption is culturally inappropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Open adoption starts with you becoming a foster carer

Adoption gave these siblings in foster care
a permanent home.

Play Video about barnardos-foster-cares-family-photo

Meet the Latimers,
adoptive parents to four siblings

Matt: What does family mean to me? Family’s everything. You’ve got work, you’ve got life, you’ve got friends, but then you’ve got family. And family is everything you have.

[Matt and Bernie have provided a permanent home to four siblings who were in foster care.]

Bernie: One of the things that made us want to look after siblings is that we didn’t want any siblings to be pulled apart, and we didn’t want any other siblings to go to different homes.

Isaac: The good thing about being in this family is that I get someone to love and someone to love me. It’s good because it’s all happy, so they all care for each other.

Bernie: When I first met them, I just wanted to hug them and not let them go.

Matt: You start getting the feedback from the kids and the appreciation, and they start building the trust with you, and it ends up building the love. It’s good.

Zander: It’s great that we can all grow up and develop together as a family.

Eve: We all get to feel safe and happy together, and we all get to be in the same new life together.

Bernie: I definitely would encourage people to take on siblings because these kids need that security, and they’ve been pulled apart so many times already. It’s so much more fulfilling for the whole family and for the children as well.

Isaac: My siblings are someone that I can play with. They’re brothers and sisters that I can love and that are there for me when I need them.


Free information events

To help you better understand what’s involved in local adoption and fostering, Barnardos Australia holds free information events and education sessions where you can ask any questions about the foster-to-adopt process. Come along to an event near you, it’s an informal and friendly way to find out more about our adoption services – we’d love to meet you!

Events cover the following topics:

What is foster care?


What is open adoption?

70 all

Steps involved

Roles and responsibilities

Support and training

Hear what it's like from
other families

*We advise that you seek alternate care arrangements for your children if attending an information event in person due to the nature of the event and the information covered. We apologise for any inconvenience caused however we also hold online events in the event you cannot attend a local one.


Open adoption information events

Information events coming soon.

7th March 2024
6pm - 7:30pm

Barnardos Australia: 13 Green St. Warrawong

Barnardos is holding a free in person information session to discuss open adoption. There will be an in-depth presentation about open adoption, different types of foster care and what is involved in becoming a carer.

To RSVP, email us or call the team on
1800 663 441



Our adoptive families share their amazing journeys

Play Video about Frazier-Preston-and-Anabellas-Adoption-Story

Frazier, Preston and Anabella's adoption story

Play Video

Meet Sharon and Chris

Play Video

Meet Ronnie and Paul

Open Adoption FAQs

For children whom the court has ruled cannot safely return home, open adoption provides security and belonging for life. The adopted child becomes a legal member of the adoptive family through a formal court process, whilst still maintaining contact with their birth family which helps them to form a healthy sense of identity.

Open adoption gives children who cannot live with their birth parents the opportunity for a secure future and a family for life. Having “openness” around their adoption means children know who they are and where they come from through birth family connection. This openness, knowledge, and understanding help adopted children to form a healthy sense of identity and belonging, which is essential for their emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Open adoption also means the child is no longer part of the foster care system.

Learn more about why open adoption is best for children.

The frequency of contact is decided by the court and depends on the age of the child and their relationship with their birth families. Contact usually includes face-to-face visits, letters, telephone and video calls, emails, photos, and cards.

No. There are no legal expenses, assessment expenses, or administration costs for carers wanting to become an adoptive parent. Our in-house legal team manages the adoption process from start to finish.

Depending on your financial situation, ongoing carer allowance and financial support may be available subject to Australian government policy.

No, every child’s family circumstances are different and so not all children in foster care are suitable for adoption. We also acknowledge that adoption is culturally inappropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait children.

Yes. We currently have children aged 5-12 and groups of two or more siblings in temporary care arrangements who desperately want and need a forever family.

We accept applications from prospective adoptive parents in the Sydney metropolitan area, Illawarra and Shoalhaven, and Hunter and Central Coast areas.

People tend to think it’s impossible to adopt in Australia and the only solution for people wanting to adopt is to adopt from overseas, however this is not the case!

Open adoption from foster care in NSW and ACT is a viable path for people wanting to build their family. There are many children in foster care who are suitable for adoption. 

The process of adoption is very involved and can take approximately two years or more from the time a family decides to adopt, to the time when an adoption is finalised.

Learn more about how to adopt a child in Australia.

Enquire about our adoption process