A four-year national research project funded by the Australian Research Council

This national history of adoption in Australia seeks to discover the distinctive ways in which adoption has reflected and shaped family ideals within Australian settler society; to influence the making of future policy and practice on adoption; to bring into history the stories of people whose lives have been changed by adoption, in order to acknowledge that experience and to read it against policy change; and to assess and explain the historical outcomes of adoption in Australia, an enterprise significant both for academic knowledge, the making of policy and the understanding of the wider Australian community.

This study fills a significant gap in the nation’s self-understanding by explaining the historical factors driving the changing place, meaning and significance of adoption. Participants and practitioners are currently debating the social worth of adoption. The project attempts an open hearing of the contesting voices, and a balanced account of the historical impact of adoption.