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Considering other options?

Adoption and whāngai (foster, bring up, adopt) may be right for you if you are wanting to continue your pregnancy, but don't yet feel ready to be a parent. 

These options mean you would continue your pregnancy, give birth, and then either adopt your baby legally to your chosen adoptive parents or informally whāngai them to someone in your whānau/extended family. 

Image by Guillaume de Germain
Image by Kieran Somerville

How Does whĀngai work?

Whāngai is a Māori tradition of having a child raised by whānau who are not the birth parents. Often it is informal and can be for varying lengths of time; it can be temporary or permanent. The child often continues to have a relationship with their birth parents. 

What is adoption?

Adoption is a legal process of transferring the rights/responsibilities from the birth parents to the adoptive parents; it is permanent.


Adoptive parents are "parents" and have full parental rights/responsibilities and legal care of the child. The relationship is as though the child is their birth child.  In New Zealand most adoptions are now "open", which means that birth and adoptive parents can agree to maintain contact (this is encouraged).  


Adoption in New Zealand is becoming less common, with approximately only 100 children being put up for adoption by their birth parents each year. 


It can be amazing. You can help people become parents who otherwise wouldn't. Plus, you get to choose what family and environment your child will grow up in. Oranga Tamariki works with you to find the ideal family for your child. 

Image by Dakota Corbin
Image by Liv Bruce

how does adoption work?

There is a long process for adoption in New Zealand outlined by Oranga Tamariki. This includes:

  • Learning about adoption/the process and other options to become parents

  • Submitting an application for adopting a child

  • Attending education sessions on adoption and parenting

  • Having multiple interviews with social workers as part of the approval process

  • Preparing a family profile for selection by a birth family 

  • Meeting the birth family

  • Making the adoption legal

With adoption, you need to cover the legal costs of the application (these vary):

  • Adoption application to the Family Court

  • Legal fees for the birth parents’ signing consent 

where to go

Check out the Te Ara website to learn more about whāngai and how it works in with the law and modern times

Click here to look at the Oranga Tamariki website for more information on adoption.

It is important to know that you do not have to be 100% in your decision - you can go along, talk to someone, and change your mind at any point

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