The adoption process starts with your first email or call to us, right through to a child’s first years with you and beyond.
Adopters can come from all walks and backgrounds. Adoption is open to anyone over 21, but there is no upper age limit. It is necessary that you are able to care for a child until the time they turn 18. You should also be available to help them after that. All applicants are welcome, regardless of their sexual orientation. Adoption is possible regardless of whether you live in a rental or a home you own. As long as you have the necessary living arrangements and space to house a child, you are eligible.
It is not necessary to be employed to adopt a child. However, if you work you will need to take some time as ‘adoption leaves’ after the child has been placed with your family. It is important that you are able to care for and love children. It doesn’t matter if you have children at home, or have adopted children from another country. You don’t have to reside in any of the five areas for Adoption Counts.
We will be there for you from the moment you contact us, all the way to the day when your child(s) is welcomed into your home. To help you understand the process, we have provided a summary of each step of the adoption process.
Talk to us by getting in touch
Get in touch with us to begin your adoption journey. Information events are held where adopters and staff can be heard. Then, we’ll have a deeper conversation to get to know you and learn more about your personal situation.
To discuss the adoption process more in detail, a social worker will visit you at home. We will ask you questions about your family, work, and background. If you are willing to move forward and we are able invite you forward, we will require you to complete a Register of Interest.
Preparing for your adoption journey
The first stage of the adoption process, known as Stage 1, can take up to two months. We’ll perform a series checks and consult your referees. You will also receive training and preparation materials during Stage 1. The Stage 1 decision will be made as to whether or not we can invite you to Stage 2.
Assessment of your home
This is Stage 2 and can take up to four months. To assess your suitability for adoption, your social worker will meet you several times. Your social worker will complete a Prospective Adopter’s report (PAR). This report will include a recommendation to the adoption panel regarding your suitability to adopt.
Adoption Panel approval
Adoption experts make up the Adoption Panel. They will review all information provided by your social worker, and then recommend that you adopt. The panel meeting will include a portion of your participation, but you are not required to attend. The panel will make recommendations to the agency, and our Agency Decision Maker will decide if you are suitable to be an adoptive parent.
Find your perfect match
You are almost there, congratulations! Your social worker will help you find the child that you are truly connected with. You will be able to learn a lot about the child, as well as meet the foster family. The Adoption Panel of the child’s local authority will then meet to make a recommendation about whether or not to approve your match. Finally, the Agency Decision Maker will make the final decision.
Welcome your child
An adoption date will be set and introduction meetings scheduled to allow you to get to know each other better. Your social worker and child’s social work will visit you and continue to support you until your child becomes a legal parent through an adoption order. After the child has been with you for at least ten weeks, you can legally adopt them.
The support services we offer for adoptive families is extensive and varied. Families are invited to our workshops and targeted support groups. If we feel it is the best option for you, we can support you one-to-one and provide additional therapy through our Adoption Support Fund.