Re Ponte [2020] NZFC 7481

Published 26 February 2021

Adoption — international surrogacy — COVID-19 — Adoption Act 1955, ss 5(b) & 10 — Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997 — Status of Children Act 1969 — Covid-19 International Surrogacy Protocol. This was an application for a final adoption order of a child, heard urgently via VMR under the COVID-19 International Surrogacy Protocol. The child had been born overseas via surrogacy and was the biological child of one of the applicants who were a same sex couple. The applicants had traveled to the United States to be there for the child's birth and to bring the child home. Children born overseas via surrogacy needed a New Zealand passport to travel back to New Zealand, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the processing time on passports had been delayed. The Family Court of New Zealand had implemented an International Surrogacy Protocol, which allowed for a streamlined process for the adoption of babies born via surrogacy. The Judge was satisfied that the Adoption (Intercountry) Act did not apply as the child was always intended to be habitually resident in New Zealand, and the birth parents had provided valid consents. Consent of the donor was not required under the Status of Children Act. The Judge was also satisfied that the applicants were fit and proper persons to take care of the child. The Judge determined that a final adoption order was appropriate, and made a final adoption order in favour of the applicants. Judgment Date: 28 August 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *