Why is open adoption best for children?

Be a part of creating brighter futures for children in Australia.

What is open adoption?

Open adoption means that when children get adopted, they will still have ongoing connection and contact with their birth families. For children whom the court has ruled unsafe to return home, open adoption can provide them safety, permanency, security and belonging for life.

100% of all domestic adoptions in Australia are considered to be open adoptions, and supporting this relationship is a legal obligation of the adoptive parents.

At Barnardos, all adoptions are open adoptions.

Why is open adoption best for children?

Having openness around their adoption means children know who they are and where they come from through family connection. This openness, knowledge, and understanding helps adopted children form a healthy sense of identity and belonging, which is essential for their emotional, intellectual, and physical development.

Open adoption gives children the best opportunity for a secure future by meeting their attachment needs and giving them the opportunity to understand their past. This is essential to their development and ongoing construction of identity as a member of an adoptive family.

Read more about the adoption process at Barnardos.


Benefits of open adoption

For children

  • Lifelong family relationships
  • Reinforces identity and self-worth
  • Reassured on family’s wellbeing
  • Honest relationship with adoptive family

For adoptive parents

  • Information about child’s history
  • Better prepared for future
  • Honest relationship with child
  • Security in their parental role

For birth parents

  • Ongoing part of child’s life
  • Reassured about child’s wellbeing
  • Can assist with grieving
  • Honest, transparent relationships

Research proves that open adoption is the best option

Barnardos prides itself on having an evidence-informed practice through our own research, submissions to government and peak bodies and papers such as the ‘Outcomes of Open Adoption from Care’ research project, which was a collaboration between the Universities of Oxford, Loughborough UK and Barnardos Australia.

Outcomes of Open Adoption Executive Summary

A full executive summary of the research on Outcomes of Open Adoption in Australia, including all key findings

Outcomes of Open Adoption from Care book

An Australian Contribution to an International Debate
Lyn Moggah
Play Video about Lyn Moggah

Barnardos launches groundbreaking
adoption research

Open Adoption FAQs

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

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.

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 Islander children.


Open adoption stories

Play Video

Meet Matt and Bernie

Play Video

Meet Sharon and Chris

Play Video

Meet Ronnie and Paul

Enquire about open adoption

We'll make sure you get all the information you need.