Financial contributions and donations by prospective adoptive parents

This section outlines Australia’s position on financial contributions and donations in the context of intercountry adoption.

What is a financial contribution?

A contribution is an amount of money required by the country of origin when an application for adoption is made. Contributions are intended to support the development of child protection or adoption services in the country of origin. Prospective adoptive parents will be advised by their state or territory central authority if a contribution to the country of origin is required.

A contribution includes:

  • Fees for services provided in the country of origin: such as application fees, visa and passport processing fees, legal costs, care of the specific child prior to the adoption, medical assessments and general administrative fees.
  • Fees for child protection services: these payments are considered contributions so long as they are transparent and accountable (for example, the same amount is paid by all prospective adoptive parents, and an acknowledgement of, or receipt for, the payment is provided).

What is a financial donation?

A donation is an amount of money that may be offered by prospective adoptive parents to authorities in the country of origin, or sought by the country of origin before or after the adoption takes place. Donations are not required as part of the adoption process.

Prospective adoptive parents are welcome to make donations to countries of origin, provided the donation is transparent. This means that the amount of money must be known to others, recorded, accounted for and does not influence the adoption outcome. These donations may be made before or after the adoption is finalised.

Prospective adoptive parents must not make non-transparent donations to a country of origin. A donation is non-transparent if the amount of money is unknown to others, not recorded, not accounted for and/or is intended to influence an adoption.

Making non-transparent donations risks the integrity of the intercountry adoption process, could result in the cancellation of an allocation due to improper behaviour and puts Australia’s reputation as a receiving country, and the ongoing operation of the country program, at risk.

Requirements of the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption expressly prohibits improper financial or other gain from an activity related to intercountry adoption. To ensure that illicit and illegal practices in intercountry adoption are not supported, families, institutions and authorities must not be induced by compensation when placing children for adoption. More information about this can be found in the Guide to Good Practice pages 36 and 50.

For prospective adoptive parents

Australian Central Authorities strongly recommend that you exercise judgement and caution when making financial contributions or donations. If in doubt, always seek advice from your local central authority.

You should decline to make a donation where the purpose for which it is requested seems to be improper. Please ensure you report the request to your local central authority as soon as possible. Circumstances where a donation may be improper can include, but are not limited to, requests for money to:

  • expedite an application or any part of the adoption process
  • ensure a child with particular characteristics is allocated
  • ensure an allocation is made
  • support or assist the orphanage where the child was living prior to the adoption
  • support or assist the family of the child.

Some country programs have specific restrictions on donations. Your local central authority can provide advice on any donation guidelines or restrictions that exist in relation to specific country programs.

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