Your adoption journey
From the moment you first consider adopting you have begun the adoption process and are on a journey to discover if it is right for you and what kind of parent you might be. That journey is made together with the social workers and staff at an adoption agency, whose job it is to make sure that prospective adopters are the best possible parents for the children in need of a home.
The adoption process
In the very first instance we suggest that you attend one of our adoption information sessions. These can be found in our events page. The adoption information sessions are held regularly and offer the opportunity to hear from adoption team managers, adoption social workers, post adoption support workers and experienced approved adoptive parents who will talk you through the process and provide lots of information.
These sessions give you an opportunity to find out about the adoption assessment process, to start considering the rewards and challenges of adoption and ask questions relevant to you own situation.
Reading, research and attending information meetings provide opportunities for you to find out about the adoption assessment process, to start considering the types of children that need parents, the rewards and challenges of adoption and ask questions relevant to you own situation.
Initial checks & registration
When you have found an adoption agency you are comfortable with, it’s time to start the formal evaluation process, which includes things like references and background checks. This stage will take no longer than 2 months.
Training & assessment
This is a four-month stage, where a social worker will work with you and your family, assessing your strengths before presenting it in a report to the Adoption Panel.
Matching with the right child
Your adoption agency works with local authorities to find the right child for you. They will discuss the suitability of children with you and a matching panel makes the final decision.
Once a match has been made, you spend time getting to know the child with the support of your social workers. A series of visits and short stays lead up to the child moving in. After a while, you can apply to the court to become their legal parent.
FAQs and misconceptions
Many people are put off the idea of adoption because they think they are not able to adopt. Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked about adoption.
Yes, you can adopt if you are single, in a civil partnership, married or in a stable long-term relationship. Many single people can create a strong family alone. You will need to consider and assess whether you can cope with the extra demands of being a single parent. Having a one-to-one relationship can benefit some children and we are happy to discuss this with you.
Yes, already having birth children or children in your care will not prevent you from adopting. However, as part of the assessment we would take the needs of the other children into consideration and the age gap between your own child/children and the age of the child/children you wish to adopt. Usually we would ask for an age gap of at least two years between an adopted child and other children, and often an adopted child will need to be the youngest. However, please discuss this with us.
Yes, we aim to find loving families for all the children in our care, even if ethnicity is not a perfect match. Ethnicity is relevant though and you will need to have an understanding of the challenges that raising a child of a different ethnicity may present. We can help prepare you where this is relevant.
You need to be at least 21 years of age to adopt but there is no upper age limit. However, you should bear in mind that you will need the energy and well-being to raise a child into adulthood and this may be taken into consideration during your assessment.
You can adopt if you have a criminal record. However, if you have criminal convictions for a violent offence, or any offences against children or vulnerable adults, we will not be able to take your application forward. A full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check takes place during the first stage of the assessment, so it is important to be open and honest with us from the start.
Smoking does not automatically rule you out from adopting. However, if you wish to adopt a child under five or a child with particular medical conditions, you are likely to need to be smoke-free for six months before making an application (this includes e-cigarettes and vaping). If you are considering adopting a child over five and smoke, please discuss this with us. When agencies have a choice of adopters smokers are at a disadvantage compared with non- smokers because the health risks are so clear.
You can adopt if you have undergone fertility treatment. However, we recognise that the process of fertility treatment can be an emotionally challenging time. We would ask that you have completed any fertility treatment and given yourself enough time (at least six months) to come to terms with your feelings and are fully ready to consider adoption. Please speak to us if you wish to consider this further.
If you’ve recently experienced the trauma of a lost pregnancy or the bereavement of a child we would recommend that you give yourself enough time to come to terms with your feelings (at least six months) and are fully ready to consider adoption. Please speak to us if you wish to explore this further.
You can adopt if you work full-time, part-time, are unemployed or on a low income. We consider people who can offer a child a loving home regardless of their working or financial status. Your circumstances will be considered as part of the assessment process. If you work, it is worth bearing in mind that one person (you/your partner) will usually be expected to take extended time off work (six to 12 months) when your child first arrives. This is vital as an adopted child will need time to bond with you before bonding with other members of your support network.
Yes, you can apply to adopt if you have a disability or health issue, so don’t rule yourself out before having a conversation with our friendly team. Everyone who applies to adopt is asked to undergo a full medical and support is available for people wishing to adopt who may need some additional assistance.
Yes, if you live within travelling distance of one of our local authority offices, we welcome your interest.
It does not matter if you own or rent the home you live in, you can still adopt, providing you are in a secure rented property. You need to show us that you have enough room to care for a child, in a safe and secure environment.
We would need to ensure that any pets you own do not pose a threat to children’s health or safety. Some children suffer from allergies which prevent placement with certain pets. We may need advice or a report from a vet.
It is beneficial for adopters to have some experience (at least six months) of caring for children. We also offer training and support for adopters to help build a trusting relationship with a child and meet their needs throughout life.
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