After waiting several years for the adoption of his son Abel to be approved, Shepparton father Rick Connors has backed the move to streamline the process.JENNA BISHOP May 14, 2014 3:56am
Rick Connors, with adopted son Abel, 11, believes new adoption laws are a good starting point for system reform.
A Shepparton father has welcomed new measures to streamline overseas adoption processes, but believes more can be done to reform the system.
Rick Connors and former partner Krishna Connors adopted son Abel, 11, in 2004 from Ethiopia.
Mr Connors believes further steps could be taken to further streamline the process to ensure lengthy waiting periods do not discourage people.
‘‘You might go to an information night and then you might wait six months to go to a workshop and then you might wait another six months to 12 months for an assessment before it happens,’’ he said.
‘‘The process with the government is like running in treacle.’’
Mr Connors began adoption inquiries in 1999, but it was not until six years later the process was finalised.
However, he believed the process should still be long enough to ensure people were committed.
‘‘I believe it’s a self select-out process. It’s not too easy to make it a simple process and then people who are willing to jump through hoops will stick to the process and adopt a child,’’ he said.
Adoptions of children from overseas will be streamlined by new regulations that came into effect on May 4.
Australian parents who have adopted children from Taiwan, South Korea and Ethiopia will have their adoptions automatically recognised.
Current laws only automatically acknowledge adoptions from countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
Taiwan, South Korea and Ethiopia are not signatories, which means families must get another adoption order from Australian courts upon their return to Australia.
The Australian Government’s Institute of Health and Welfare said intercountry adoptions had declined 77 per cent in the past 25 years.
Mr Connors said while the changes to the process would make adoption paperwork simpler, parents would still have to wait for the adoption to be recognised after they first met their children.
‘‘When you’re at the orphanage and you pick your child up, it’s at that moment the adoption is complete as a parent,’’ he said.
Mr Connors said being an adoptive parent was a wonderful opportunity and something he had always thought about doing.
‘‘You should never regret what you haven’t done in life,’’ he said.
UPDATE: The CFA has downgraded its advice message.
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