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ADULT ADOPTION INFORMATION FOR NEW-ZEALAND

Editorial Team 

ADULT ADOPTION INFORMATION ACT

New Zealand Child, Youth and Family Service 

If you are an adopted adult, or the birth parent of an adopted child, the Adult Information Act 1985 gives you the right to information about the adoption. The Act recognises that people in the adoption process may feel more complete when they have knowledge of their origins and each other.

The Act also gives you the right to maintain your privacy. You can choose how much information other people will be able to obtain about you.

IF YOU ARE ADOPTED

Your birth certificate

Once you turn 20 you can write to the Registrar-General (see contact details below) to get a copy of your original birth certificate (Section 4 of the Act). Your birth certificate may show the details of one or both of your birth parents.

You must give the Registrar-General:

  • Your full name
  • Your place of birth
  • Your date of birth
  • The full name(s) of your adoptive parents
  • Your address
  • The fee needed to obtain the birth certificate

Ask the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages what the current fee is before you write. The phone number is given at the end of this article.

Counselling

If details of one or both of your birth parents appear on the original birth certificate, you will be sent a list of counsellors and agencies. You must choose a name or an agency from the list and tell the Registrar-General who you want.

The Registrar-General will then send your birth certificate to the counsellor or agency you have chosen. They will contact you and arrange for you to receive the birth certificate (Section 5 of the Act).

A counsellor is involved to give you information, assistance and support to make decisions that are right for you. The counsellor is not there to try and make you change your mind about a decision you have made. The counsellor does not have the right to withhold information you are legally entitled to.

Once you have your original birth certificate, you may wish to search for and contact the person(s) named on it.

You can discuss with your counsellor how to search and how to make a sensitive approach. You may want to contact your birth parent(s) yourself, or you may wish to use someone as a mediator. A social worker can be asked to mediate. (Section 10 of the Act).

Updating your original birth registration

If the name of one or both of your birth parents is not recorded on your original birth registration, but you can find out who they are, their details can be added to the registration entry. This is usually done with the consent of the particular parent. You should contact the Central Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for further information about this process.

Information from CYFS records

If you want to know whether the Child, Youth and Family Service (CYFS) holds any information about your adoption, you should call or write to your local CYFS branch of Social Welfare and supply a copy of your original birth certificate (Section 9 of the Act).

If a veto has been placed

If there are no details of your birth parent(s) on the birth certificate, either the name has not been registered or the birth parent(s) have placed a veto.

The birth certificate will show your place of birth, your date of birth, your sex, and your original first names if they were put on the register. It will be sent to you directly with a list of counsellors. You may want to discuss the situation with one of them.

You can write to:See contact details on CYFS (Child Youth and Family) website at end of this article .

Ask if the person placing the veto has left a letter of explanation for you, and if non-identifying information is available. A veto is in place for ten years, but can be lifted at any time. A veto expires if the person who places it dies, but your original birth registration entry may not be automatically updated to remove the veto. You can ask the Registrar-General at any stage to verify if either or both of your birth parents' deaths are recorded in New Zealand. A fee applies for this service. Otherwise, if you know that your birth parents are dead, please advise the Registrar-General of this fact when you apply for your original birth certificate.

Placing a veto on the birth registration

If you are adopted and you do not wish to have contact with your birth parents, you can, once you turn 19, write to the Registrar General to say that you don't want information that would identify you to be given to your birth parents (Section 7 of the Act).

The veto is in force for ten years, but you can change your mind and reverse the veto at any time.

Counselling

When you write to the Registrar-General to place a veto you must give your full adopted name and your date of birth. The Registrar-General will send you a list of counsellors and agencies. Talking to a counsellor may help. However, you don't need to see a counsellor if you don't want to.

If you decide to put a veto on identifying information about yourself, please consider leaving with CYFS some other information or a letter explaining the reasons for your veto.

This will make it much easier for the other person to accept and understand the situation.

A veto does not mean you will never be found, it just means that anyone trying to trace you won't be able to get identifying information from the Registrar-General or from CYFS.

If you live outside New Zealand

If you are an adopted adult and live outside New Zealand, you have the same rights, but counselling is not a necessary step. Your birth certificate will be sent straight to you on request.

IF YOU ARE A BIRTH PARENT

Access to the child's adopted name

If the adopted person is 20 or older, you can ask for information about him or her. You can write to: The Adoption Information and Services Unit, Child, Youth and Family Service; see link below.

You should give:

  • Your full name at the time the child was born
  • The birth date, place and birth names (if any) of the child.

Don't worry if you do not remember the exact details - write down what you can remember.

If a veto has been placed

CYFS will check with the Registrar-General to see if the adopted adult has put a veto on the registration to stop identifying information being given to you.

If there is a veto, CYFS will tell you and check to see if a letter of explanation for the veto has been left for you. A list of counsellors and agencies will be sent as well, as you may wish to discuss your situation with one of them.

If there is no veto

CYFS will tell you if there is no veto. They will then try to find the adopted person to see if he or she wishes his or her name and address to be given to you.

If you are the birth father

You have the same rights as the birth mother if you were registered as the child's father at the time of the child's birth. If you weren't, but you now wish to have your name entered on the birth certificate, you should apply to the Registrar-General.

If your name is in the CYFS records as the father, you may apply to the Service for identifying information.

Placing a veto on the birth registration

If you are a birth parent and you do not wish to have identifying information about yourself released, and if your child was adopted before 1 March 1986, you have the right to ask the Registrar-General not to give out information which would identify you (Section 3 of the Act). If your child was adopted after 1 March 1986, you have no right to place a veto.

See web contact details at end of article;

You should give:

  • The name under which you registered the child
  • The date and place of the child's birth
  • The full name you used at that time

Counselling

The Registrar-General will send you a list of counsellors and agencies. Talking to a counsellor may help. However, you don't need to see a counsellor if you don't want to.

If you decide to put a veto on identifying information about yourself, please consider leaving with CYFS some other information or a letter explaining the reasons for your veto. This will make it much easier for the other person to accept and understand the situation.

A veto is in force for ten years, but you may change your mind and reverse the veto at any time.

If you live outside New Zealand

If you are a birth parent living outside New Zealand, your rights are the same as those of a birth parent living in New Zealand.

If you adopted a child after 1 March 1986, that child will have a right to information about the birth parents when he or she turns 20.

If you adopted a child before 1 March 1986, both the child and the birth parents have the right to place a veto on the birth registration to stop identifying information being given out.

If you already know the name and address of the birth parent(s), you can ask CYFS to help you get in touch with them. Your Adoption Information and Services Unit social worker will help you with this. (Section 10 of the Act).

Medical information

The Act allows for important medical information to be exchanged between doctors (Section 11 of the Act). If such information is needed, your doctor should contact CYFS- see web link below.

Other assistance

If you are involved in adoption in any way, you may wish to make inquiries about what information or assistance could be available to you. To do so, contact your local Adoption Information and Services Unit at the Child, Youth and Family Service or the Department of Social Welfare.

Adoption support groups

Many communities have well-established adoption search and support groups that offer an opportunity to share experiences with others in similar situations. Adoption support groups may be attended by adopted people, birth parents, adoptive parents, and anyone else interested or involved in adoption. Many people find that it is healing and helpful to talk about their adoption experience with others. Contact your local Adoption Information and Services Unit for further information about adoption support groups.

Other counselling services

Counselling services are available from specially appointed counsellors and voluntary agencies (a list of these can be obtained from the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages). If you are involved in adoption in any way and you wish to make inquiries about what information and assistance may be available to you, please contact your nearest CYFS office. You can also find out if an adoption support group meets in your area.

Contact Details at

The link below contains further information and contact details relating to adoption in New-Zealand. (Look under adoption in find box)

http://www.cyf.govt.nz/text/index.htm

 

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Editorial Team


Auckland
New Zealand


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