Your Rights

Are you pregnant and making a decision about parenting your child?

It is important to know your rights as a natural mother before you make any decision on relinquishing your child or children.

It is your right:

  • To discuss your decision with anyone you choose
  • To take as long as you need to make that decision
  • To change your mind
  • To not be influenced or pressured by deadlines set by social workers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, prospective parents or other professionals and agencies – unless you are contemplating an abortion
  • To parent your child regardless of your age, financial position, whether or not you have a partner or are able-bodied
  • To apply for Supporting Parent Benefits and Family Support to enable you to financially support your child
  • To ask for supportive emotional and practical help
  • To have your own legal representative at the signing of any documents to protect you own rights

It is also important to know your rights as a natural mother where your relinquished child is still under 18 years of age.

It is your right:

  • To apply for information from the Department of Human Services and ask for your child’s first name as given by the adoptive parents
  • To leave a letter or information about you and your child’s natural family on the adoption file and to say that you desire contact with your daughter or son
  • To ask if the adoptive parents have left a letter on the file asking for information or contact with you
  • To receive personal support and information during this process
  • To approach the Department of Human Services to investigate contact with your child through the Adoptive Parents.

If your child is now over the age of 18 years, you can apply under the Adoption Act 1984 for information and contact. Pamphlets are available at all Department of Human Services regional offices.

If, at any time you have questions about your rights, or if relinquishing becomes your choice, there are always options that protect your rights.

For support, further information, or questions about the work of ARMS (Victoria), please do not hesitate to contact us.

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