A court can only make an Adoption Order when a child has lived with the adopters for a minimum period of time.
The court will also require to know whether the birth parent/s have given their consent to the adoption. If consent to the adoption has not already been sought, or if the birth parent/s do not agree to the adoption, the court appoints a Reporting Officer.
The Reporting Officer will find out if the birth parent/s understand what adoption is and witness their consent to the adoption order being made.
If consent is not given, the court can grant an adoption order under certain circumstances. An independent person, called a curator ad litem, will be appointed by the court to investigate and advise the court on whether an adoption order should be made.
If consent is given by the birth parent/s, the court hearing will be fairly brief. The court will read a report, prepared by the social workers from the adoption agency, and briefly speak with the adopters.
Following this, the decision will be made immediately. If the adoption is being contested by the birth parents, the court hearing is likely to take longer and is more complicated. Either way, it is recommended that legal advice is sought by the adopters prior to undertaking this legal process.