Adoption explained

Adoption basics: 

It is wonderful that you are considering adopting a child. Making a space for a child in your life is an amazing thing to do. It is also a big decision and there is a lot to think about and learn.


Why adopt?

You will be giving a loving home to a child who can no longer be brought up by their birth parents. When you adopt, you take on all legal rights and responsibilities for the child. It is a lifelong commitment and, like all parenting, means sticking with it through both good and hard times. It’s not always easy but, as many adoptive parents will tell you, it is extraordinarily rewarding.


Can anyone adopt?

We help match every child to the right family, taking into account the child’s emotional, health and development needs. We find children do best in a family that reflects their ethnic identity as closely as possible. So we welcome a wide range of people with different backgrounds and experiences.


You must be:

  • Over 21 years old
  • Have patience, and be flexible and energetic
  • Have the determination to positively transform a child’s life.

If you have a record for an offence or a caution, you must be honest with your adoption agency, even if this happened many years ago. People with certain types of criminal records cannot adopt, including those who have a criminal conviction or have been cautioned for specified criminal offences against children or certain sexual offences against adults.


Myths about who can adopt

  • Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to own your home, have a job or be under 40 to adopt a child.
  • You don’t have to be married either, or in a relationship, or heterosexual.
  • You don’t have to be a parent already or qualified in any specific way.
  • A disability is not necessarily an obstacle to adopting.


Is there any support?

Adoptive families often need extra support at the start of their new life together or later on. The services available include advice and information, counselling, financial support and help with getting benefits. Just like any parent, you will be expected to meet the general costs of raising a child. Sometimes though, means-tested financial assistance is given to families caring for a child with particular needs, or to help make it possible for siblings to stay together.


What to do next

You can see the different stages involved in the adoption process in our Ten steps to adoption

Whether you are ready to adopt or need further information, here are some things that you can do next