Adoption provides a family for a child who is unable to live with their birth parents. It is a permanent legal arrangement where your child becomes the child of the adopting couple or person. Full parental rights are transferred to the adoptive family and all legal responsibilities are removed.
If you are considering adoption, contact Fostering and Adoption Services at the Department for Child Protection and Family Support to discuss your options. A staff member will help you to understand the process and you will be offered counselling and support.
You may find it helpful to place your child in temporary pre-adoptive foster care while you consider your options and feelings.
If you decide on adoption, both parents must sign an adoption consent form (or in some cases the birth father’s consent may not be needed), after which you have a further 28 days to change your mind and remove your consent.
Proceeding with the adoption
During the adoption process you can be involved in selecting the adoptive parents you feel will be most suitable for your child.
Under the Adoption Act (1994), adoptions in Western Australia are open. This means the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parents are aware of each other’s identity.
Once the adoption is finalised, Fostering and Adoption Services can assist you with the implementation of the adoption plan, such as exchange of information, setting up contact and mediation services if required.
After adoption, you may experience a range of feelings and these may change over a lifetime. These feelings can include relief, happiness, sadness or guilt. Counselling services are available.
A termination is a way of ending a pregnancy. Terminations are legal in Western Australia under 20 weeks of pregnancy as long as the woman has given her informed consent.
If you are considering a termination you must see a doctor who will provide you with information about any medical risks, as well as offer you the opportunity for counselling. The doctor can then give you a referral for the termination. If the doctor doesn’t offer you this service, find another doctor who will support you.
The cost of a termination varies and depends on your location, your stage of pregnancy, whether you have a Health Care Card and your Medicare or private insurance status.
It is normal to feel a range of emotions such as fear, relief, sadness and guilt. Pre and post termination counselling is available.
There are two types of termination available in WA, depending on how many weeks pregnant you are. Medical termination is ending the pregnancy by using medication. Surgical termination is a procedure using gentle suction to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. The doctor will discuss this further.
Under 16 years of age
The law says that if you are under 16 years of age and still living at home, a parent or legal guardian must be informed about your possible termination. Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) need to be given the opportunity to participate in the counselling and consultation process between the doctor and you, but the final choice is yours.
In special circumstances you can apply to the Children’s Court for an order to proceed with a termination without parental or legal guardian consent.
Information and support
SHQ offers non-judgemental support, including free counselling, covering all unplanned pregnancy options. Phone counselling is also available. If you decide to have a termination, our doctors can discuss a referral.