Actress Cate Blanchett has spoken about her daughter Edith for the first time at the premiere of the live-action version of the Disney classic, Cinderella in which she stars as the wicked stepmother.
The star described the addition of baby Edith into her and husband Andrew Upton’s tribe of three boys Dashiell 12, Roman, 10 and Ignatius, 6 as,
” extraordinary, the fourth time round. There’s a lot of children out there who don’t have the good fortune that our biological children do so it’s wonderful to welcome a little girl into our fold.”
In adopting Edith via the American system, the Blanchett-Upton’s have highlighted the difficulties faced by families hoping to adopt in Australia.
The rate of adoption in Australia has dropped a dramatic 76 per cent with only 317 babies being placed in 2013-2014.
Lobbyists have raised concerns about the length of time it takes to situate children in formal adoption, which sees thousands of vulnerable children in an out of home care for years.
The fostering process for Australian children takes four years before adoption is even considered and up to seven years for children from overseas.
When asked about the Australian adoption system, the Academy Award winner said, “I think it is… well I haven’t been through it here. It was in the United States,”.
According to Jane Hunt, the CEO of Adopt Change, a lobby group founded by actress Deborah Lee-Furness, there are 50,000 children currently in limbo. Over 11,000 children at risk of abuse or neglect have been permanently removed from their families.
Delays have been attributed to a resistance to adoption after the horrific fallout of the stolen generations and forced adoptions.
Also standing in the way of progress are varying laws across Australian states. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he’ll be raising the idea of streamlining laws across the states at COAG meetings, but there has been minimal progress thus far.
Andrew Upton told the Sydney Morning Herald that when his term as the Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic director winds up at the end of 2015, his family would like to try living in America.
“We’re all looking forward to spending more time together in one place,” he said. “They have terrific opportunities in television there and Cate has a very strong film career there, too, obviously.”
Have you or anyone you know faced difficulties adopting in Australia?