The state and federal governments are looking at ways to streamline the adoption system.
Couples seeking to adopt children from overseas could be given an easier pathway, under proposals to go to the prime minister and premiers next year.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has asked for a report by March 2014 on how to improve the system, which will inform talks at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in April.
"I do not underestimate the complexity of the work ... (and) I recognise the need to have a broad and inclusive discussion about proposed change to ensure that, as a community, we do not repeat the mistakes of the past," he said.
In March, then prime minister Julia Gillard delivered a formal apology to people affected by forced adoption and removal policies in the wake of a report which exposed the horrific experiences of many of the 250,000 children adopted since World War II.
Actor Deborra-Lee Furness, who has two adopted children with husband Hugh Jackman, has led a campaign to make international adoptions easier but ensure proper checks are in place.
She told a function on adoption with Mr Abbott that orphaned and vulnerable children deserved to have a family.
"We're going to continue to highlight all the issues around adoption awareness," she said.
"We have to look after these kids."
The waiting time for inter-country adoption averages five years and costs up to $30,000, experts say.
Adding to the complexity, each state and territory has different eligibility requirements for parents.
Joanna Howe, from the University of Adelaide and Women's Forum Australia, said Australia has the second-lowest adoption rate in the developed world and reform was needed.
Of the 339 children adopted nationally in 2012/13, 129 were from other countries.
Decisions such as the recent closure of a scheme involving Ethiopian children - which came after some people had waited up to 10 years to adopt - had led to disenchantment, Dr Howe said.
"The Australian system is incredibly bureaucratic and each country we seek to adopt from have their own rules and procedures," she told AAP.
Dr Howe said parents who wanted an overseas adoption had to say no to the local program, could not be on IVF programs and had to agree to certain criteria about their pregnancy intentions.
On the other side of the argument, Australia needed to put in place checks to ensure women from other countries are not being forced to give up their children.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, whose state has the highest adoption rate, said there should also be a national discussion about bringing all the states into line on local adoptions.
NSW families minister Pru Goward said adoption can improve the lives of vulnerable children.
"How can we hope to break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage if we do not begin by giving each of these children a safe and loving home for life?" she said.