Re Vaitai [2019] NZFC 8464

Published 08 December 2020

Adoption — final order — fit and proper person — welfare and best interests of child — criminal conviction — Adoption Act 1955, ss 3, 4 & 11 — SV and VV FAM-2010-4-1053 4/7/2011 — IF v LF Manukau DC FAM-2007-092-917 16 May 2008. The applicants were a married couple who sought to adopt a baby girl. They had multiple children of their own but had cared for the child since her birth, due to the mother's young age and her belief she could not appropriately care for the child. Both of the child's biological parents consented to the adoption. Under s 3 of the Adoption Act (the Act) the Court has the power to make an adoption order. Section 11 of the Act requires the Court to be satisfied of three matters before either an interim or a final adoption order can be made. The first is that every person who is applying for the order is a fit and proper person to have the role of providing day-to-day care for the child and of sufficient ability to bring them up, maintain them and educate them. Secondly, the welfare and interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption. The wishes of the child should be considered, with regard to their age and understanding. Finally, the Court must be satisfied that the applicants will comply with any relevant religious conditions imposed by any parent or guardian. All requirements were satisfied, with the exception that the male applicant may not be a fit and proper person due to his 2014 conviction for importing the Class B drug pseudoephedrine (a precursor to the manufacture of methamphetamine). However, given he had been open and honest about his offending, taken responsibility, never offended otherwise, the birth mother was aware of the conviction and steps had been taken to protect the family finances, the conviction was not a bar to the applicant being a fit and proper person to raise the child. He was otherwise honest, loving and hardworking. It was in the welfare and best interests of the child for an adoption order to be made. She was being well-cared for, meeting all of her milestones and was living in a family that supported her cultural identity and had a link to her birth parents. The adoption order was final. Judgment Date: 18 October 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *