Usually other prospective adopters will share your concerns and we’ve answered some of the main questions below. If you’ve got a question not answered below or would like to talk about your personal situation then get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.
You need to be 21 years old to adopt but there is no upper age limit. You just need to be healthy and able enough to look after children to adulthood.
There are a few circumstances that will rule you out from adopting. Most people can adopt with us unless they have a criminal conviction for a crime against a child or a serious offence.
We offer full training to make sure you’re ready. This is usually held over a period of three days. Most people really enjoy the training and talking to other adopters who have gone through the assessment process and adopted a child
You can’t adopt if you or someone in your household has a criminal conviction or caution for a serious sexual offence or an offence against a child or vulnerable person. Other criminal offences will not automatically exclude you. They will be looked at individually and taken into consideration during the assessment process, so please talk to us before you rule yourself out.
To adopt in England, you must be legally resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. And you must have been so for at least 12 months. UK citizens living abroad cannot adopt from the UK.
The assessment process usually takes around six months. You can find out more about the process on our website here. The process is very open and we’ll share all the details with you at every stage, so you know what happens next. You can also take a break after stage one – if you want to.
Matching you with a child may take longer, but it really depends which children you would consider making part of your family. For example, you may have to wait longer to adopt a baby rather than an older child. Find out more about the children we have waiting in the North West.
The short answer is that we’d prefer you not to. If you’re a smoker, we’ll ask if you could commit to trying to stop. Research informs us that passive smoking seriously damages a child’s health, so we won’t place a child aged under five in a home where people smoke
As part of your application, you’ll have a medical with your general practitioner, so you’ll be able to talk to them about the support on offer to help you try and give up smoking.
In our experience single adopters can be very successful so being single won’t prevent you from adopting. In fact, we’d encourage you to apply.
We welcome adopters who are lesbian, gay or straight. What matters most is your ability to love and care for a child.
This will be considered during the assessment, but we only need to make sure you’re able to provide security for a child. You may also be able to claim child benefit and be eligible for tax credits and other benefits to supplement your income.
You can adopt if you rent or own your home.
Most children needing adoptive families are over six months old and they will need their own bedroom. If you don’t have a spare bedroom just yet, but are planning to move or build an extension, please feel free to talk to our team and they’ll be able to advise you.
Having children of your own will not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up.
During the assessment we’ll consider the age gap between your own children and the age of the child or children you wish to adopt. We’ll work with you to make sure that adoption works for you and your own children.
We know that lots of siblings share a bedroom, but we also need to think about whether moving an adopted child in with a birth child straightaway would be a positive experience for them both.
You can adopt and be in full-time employment. But we do expect that you (or your partner) takes ‘adopters leave’ when the child comes to live with you.
If you adopt, you may be eligible for Statutory Adoption Leave and Statutory Adoption Pay from your employer.
Statutory Adoption Leave – this can total 52 weeks with 26 weeks of Ordinary Adoption Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave. Only one person in a couple can take adoption leave. However if you have a partner they may be eligible for paternity leave instead whether they are a man or a woman. You can find out more at: https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave/adoption
Statutory Adoption Pay – this is a weekly amount of £136.78 or 90% of your average weekly earnings before tax, whichever is lower. It’s payable for 39 weeks in the same way as your wages with Tax and National Insurance deducted.
You may get more pay if your employer has a company adoption pay scheme. You can find out more at: https://www.gov.uk/adoption-pay-leave/overview
Being disabled won’t automatically exclude you from becoming an adopter.
If you do have a disability, it will be one of the many things we’ll consider. So, don’t rule yourself out before you’ve had a conversation with us. Even if you think you’ll need some additional assistance to adopt a young person, we may be able to provide this support.
No. You can adopt children from a different ethnic background to your own. We’ll help you to understand and promote a child’s culture and ethnic identity.
Some people find that personal circumstances mean they need a break from the process. If you need to you can take a break after Stage 1 or you can discuss your needs at any point with our team.
When you make an enquiry one of our team will call you back. There’s no obligation to continue the process and you can ask initial questions to help you make a decision. If you choose to proceed we will help you start the application process outlined here.
Some adoptive parents do worry about this but your social worker is experienced and will have taken the time to get to know you and think about which child would be a good match.
We won’t suddenly leave you together. We’ll make sure you and the child or children get to know each other gradually through visiting the child’s foster carers for an hour or two and building up the time you spend together over a week or so.
You’ll be able to play with the child, visit the part and learn more about them and their routine before they come to live with you.
The majority of adopters send a letter to a child’s birth parents once a year updating them on the child’s progress. The birth family might also send letters to the child.
This contact will be managed through a ‘letterbox’ scheme and your address and personal information will be kept confidential.
We do this as children are likely to have questions about their birth family and information you’re given when a child is placed can be updated through this indirect contact. It’s important for children to grow up understanding the reasons why they were adopted.
There are children who have been approved for adoption and are waiting to be matched. This doesn’t mean you’ll be matched straight away. There are more older children , sibling groups and children with additional needs waiting to be adopted. Find out more about the children on our website here. [LINK TO CHILDREN CASE STUDIES] As part of the assessment process you will decide what child or children might be right for your family.
Get in touch with us if you’ve more questions. There’s no commitment in making an enquiry and we’d be happy to answer questions on your individual circumstances.
Different adoption agencies have different requirements for this and we can discuss this with you when you get in touch.
You can apply to adopt with either your local authority or an independent adoption agency. Find out more about independent agencies here.
If you’re interested in applying to adopt or would just like to find out a bit more please complete the form and one of our specialist team will get in touch. Getting in touch with us does not commit you in any way so feel free to ask any questions you might have.
Alternatively you can call us on 0333 400 1230.