NIGHTMARE: Liz and Darryn Peter are defying state laws by identifying themselves and adopted son Samuel, 7, from Thailand. Picture: BIANCA De MARCHI Source: AdelaideNow
AN Adelaide couple who went through a “nightmare” five years trying to adopt a child say they are defying the State Government and risking a hefty fine by identifying themselves and their adopted son and sharing their ordeal.
Liz and Darryn Peter, of Thorngate, decided to adopt in 2003 after three years of failed IVF treatment.
While the journey ended successfully with a trip to Thailand in 2008 to bring home new son Samuel, now 7, Mrs Peter said the couple was forced to endure one bureaucratic bungle after another from both state and international authorities.
Under current law, parents who identify themselves and their adopted children in the media face a maximum fine of $20,000.
SA Family First leader Dennis Hood said he was preparing a draft Bill to change this law and hoped to put it before parliament in coming months, describing it as “entirely unnecessary” and “almost useless” because very few Australian children were adopted.
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A Department of Families and Communities spokesman said it was in place for privacy reasons and exemptions could be granted.
But Mrs Peter said she had known mothers who had experienced difficulty in gaining an exemption in the past and did not seek one herself.
She said staff at the Adoption, Family Information and Post Care Services unit, which helps manage South Australians through the adoption process, were over-worked and stressed, views aired in her soon-to-be released book Searching For Our Angel.
“It (the book) is to try and bring attention to a silly law and to let people know what happened to us. We had our file lost, we had a social worker mix us up with another family and deem us not suitable to adopt and that’s just the beginning,” she said.
Mrs Peter estimates the couple spent about $15,000 to adopt Samuel and had since started the long process to adopt another child.
In the 2009/10 financial year, South Australians adopted 21 children from overseas, with a further five adopted from Australia.