Most frequent questions and answers

You don’t have to, but few things are more difficult to manage than secrets within families – usually the truth comes out and at the worst possible time! Also you may be surprised at just how supportive your family may be, once they get over the initial shock. Usually the sooner you tell the better the result as then they don’t feel you have shut them out. However, you may have good reasons for not wanting to tell your family. If this is the case do look for someone whose judgement you trust to confide in.

You also don’t need to worry about buying things for the baby. If you choose to place your child for adoption the social worker who will arrange the adoption can sort out all the items the baby will need when it is born.

No it won’t cost you anything. Lawyers are necessary for the paperwork but don’t worry adoptive parents pay all the birth mum’s costs.

By 6 weeks after conception, or 8 weeks after your last period, the heart is beating, the eyes, ears and respiratory system have begun to form and the skeleton is complete, including fingers and toes.

By 8 weeks after conception all body systems are present and the embryo makes isolated twitching movements too small for you to feel.

By 12 weeks after conception all body systems are operating and the embryo is now called a foetus. The nervous system is functioning at a primitive level, teeth are beginning to form and it is possible to tell on a scan if it a boy or a girl.

Find out more about the developing baby or watch the YouTube clip below.

Talk it over at school. Generally the answer is yes. You may feel unwell at the beginning of your pregnancy and the school will be more understanding of you taking time off if they know you are pregnant. Once the pregnancy is beginning to show you may wish to consider studying through the correspondence school.

Child Youth and Family (CYF) deal with the adoption process. Adoptive parents attend educational courses run by CYFs and then they create profile books which give details of their lives. A profile book will tell you about the couple and their families. They usually have lots of pictures in them and you can use them to choose a couple. A CYF social worker will talk to you about what you consider to be important and then he or she will select profiles that match your requirements. There is no set rule on when to look at profiles but for a whole lot of reasons it is better to wait until the last month of your pregnancy. The biggest reason is that your ideas about your baby, and what kind of family will be “right” will change as your pregnancy progresses. 

Yes you can, but before your child can legally go to them they would have to be assessed and approved by a CYF social worker. Even if they seem good, there may be things about their past or present life that you are not aware of that may affect your choice. Also, going this way and not looking at other profiles means that you do not get to see the range of families who have already been approved and are available. You might like one of them even more.

You keep your baby. It’s that simple. There is absolutely no legal obligation for you to go ahead with adoption until the consent papers have been signed. If you do feel uncertain about proceeding, the sooner that you say this the kinder it is for all concerned.

There are many reasons people choose adoption but the most common ones are:

  • The birth parents feel unprepared or too young to be parents.
  • The birth mum is on her own with little family support and does not feel able to parent a child.
  • The birth parents are no longer together and they decide to choose a couple that have a stable relationship to raise their child.
  • The birth mum already has children and knows she would not be able to cope with another child.
  • The child is a result of an extra marital affair and the partner does not want to raise it.

In New Zealand most couples who apply to adopt are approved. There will be cases where people convicted of crimes against children or who have certain health issues may not be approved. You can discuss your individual case with the social workers at Child Youth and Family. With a couple, if they are not married, only one member of the couple is allowed to adopt and has his or her name on the new birth certificate. Family members can formally adopt a child without going through the pre-adoption training days. They will be required to make an application to Child, Youth and Family and the process is the same as any other person who wishes to adopt a child. That is they will have to have a police check, a medical check and supply references. Find out more information for who can adopt.

New Zealand has an agreement with a number of countries regarding adoption. CYF assess anybody who wishes to adopt. However the ‘sending country’ (i.e. of the child) has its own rules as regards who they would allow to adopt. Therefore CYF are guided by these rules. For more information visit the CYF site for rules.

You can place your baby for adoption even if you are not a permanent resident in New Zealand. Your baby would bear your nationality until it is placed for adoption. At that time of the adoption your baby takes the nationality of the adoptive parents. For an example see ‘Julie’s story‘ in the birth mum’s stories section.

There are people who want to adopt babies born with disabilities. For example, see what Greer has to say about her experience of adopting children with Down Syndrome (below). You can also read more about Down Syndrome.