The Australian Federal government is set to make initial changes to the current lengthy process of adoption, which for some couples can take up to a decade.
The changes will slash the waiting times for couples hoping to adopt children from countries which are not signatories to The Hague Convention.
Currently this process means Australian couples can wait up to 12 months for final approvals from the court system.
Proposed legislative changes will apply to three countries, which are not signatories to the convention but who share bilateral agreements with Australia.
Full adoptions from Ethiopia, Taiwan and South Korea will hence be automatically recognised in Australia.
South Korea and Taiwan alone represent the source for almost half of all inter-country adoptions in Australia.
The Ethiopian adoption program was closed in June 2012 – but more than 600 Ethiopian-born children had been adopted by Australians through this program.
The government has assured families whose adoptions had not yet been finalised that they to will benefit from the legal changes.
When Australian couples adopt they must undergo both legal requirements and processes both in the child’s native country and at home.
But the government is hoping to cut the red tape associated with court processes in Australia to make the process some what easier and quicker too.
Deborra-Lee Furness from National Adoption Awareness Week has congratulated the government for the changes.
“I am particularly happy for the many families who will be directly affected by this immediate action,” she told reporters.
“We have been calling for change for a long time, and I am absolutely thrilled to see the Prime Minister’s office committing to real action.”
The initial changes to the adoption process are part of an established interdepartmental committee established by the government to look at other ways to simplify the overseas adoption process.
The committee is in the final stages of it’s report.