MANY Australian couples are childless and cannot have their own kids. Many children from overseas countries are abandoned or orphans and desperately in need of loving parents. So what's the issue with adoption from overseas?
Well one problem is bureaucratic. There are a proliferation of responsible state and private agencies, all with different policies, as well as a federal government. This leads to mountains of red tape and a waiting time for approval as long as 10 years.
The other problem is that, by its very nature, adoption is a complicated issue. While some celebrities seem to experience no difficulties (Hugh Jackman and Madonna come to mind) - indeed it seems to confer some sort of status on them - other ordinary Australians experience endless delays and obstacles.
Then there is the issue of whether overseas adoptions are ethical. On the one hand, it seems churlish to deny a deprived child of the right to live in comfort and security in a loving Australian family.
On the other hand uprooting a child from its traditions, culture and family ties can undoubtedly lead to dysfunction, difficulty and disorientation. My wife, Rose, and I have personally faced such issues.
But my main point is to question why Australia has such a limited range of overseas countries from which is legitimate to adopt.
Currently Australians can adopt children from China, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
But adoptions from Bolivia, India and Fiji are all on hold.
Prime minister Abbott recently announced streamlined procedures to make the process easier, and included South Africa in the list of approved source countries.
You see what is missing from this list? Papua New Guinea. Along with other Pacific countries.
Why is this so?