Who can adopt?

People from all walks of life can adopt. Many different kinds of people adopt - essentially it is about the ability to provide a safe, stable, and loving home to a child for the duration of their childhood and beyond. You need to be able to be flexible and able to adjust your life and expectations to the needs of the child or children.

Who do we need?

We need flexible, open, honest people who are able to consider a range of children and who can understand the difficult start these children will have had.

Adopters will need to appreciate that children will potentially come from a wide range of experiences, culture, heritage, and religions.

They may be part of a larger sibling group that has been separated or their birth parents may go on to have more children who may also need to be adopted either by their siblings’ adopters or new adopters.

Either way there may some sort of post-adoption contact between the brothers and sisters.

Adoptive parents need to be able to work alongside a range of other people, especially in the early stages, so it is important you can get along with people, listen and take advice from people who know the child/children or have professional knowledge which can help you in advising the best ways to meet the child’s needs.

Considering adoption? Useful questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you provide love, time and commitment to a child?
  • Can you empathise with a child who may never have experienced the security of feeling safe and loved?
  • Can you be patient and flexible, to supportively adapt to whatever unique challenges may come from the child's circumstances?
  • Do you have the energy and health to provide a long-term family for a child?
  • Are you over 21?

If you believe the answer to all those questions is yes, then there is a good chance you could meet the needs of a child as an adoptive parent. We will always make the final decision after taking time to get to know you and your circumstances, but answering yes to the above is enough to start thinking about the process.

People who adopt can be...

  • Single, married or unmarried
  • From any ethnic or religious background
  • Heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
  • A homeowner or living in rented accommodation
  • Employed or on benefits

Who can't adopt?

While adoption is open to more people than you might think, there are some conditions that will automatically exclude you.

If you are aged under 21, you cannot legally adopt in the UK. If it is your dream to adopt please don't give up; please consider coming back in a few years.

To adopt in England you must be legally resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, and have been so for at least 12 months. UK citizens living abroad cannot adopt from the UK.

Criminal record
If you or a member or your household have a criminal conviction or caution for offences against children or for serious sexual offences you will not be able to adopt. Other criminal offences will not automatically exclude you but will be taken into consideration during the assessment process, so please be open with us from the start.

That's it. Those are the only automatic exclusions from adoption in England. There are many other factors that will come into consideration, but none of them automatically exclude you.

Other things to think about

Bedroom space
While most adopted children will need the safety of their own bedroom (unless being placed with their brother or sister), please talk to us about your home and plans for the future, if you don't have a spare room right now.  

Disability and health 
Being disabled doesn't exclude you from adopting and experience of disability can sometimes be helpful. There is no upper age limit for adopters, but adoptive parents need to have good health and energy to look after children into adulthood.

While there is no legal bar to adopters smoking, the health of children being placed is of paramount importance and consideration.  We currently follow medical advice provided by CoramBAAF; we do not place children aged under 5 in a household with someone who smokes.

We understand that pets are a part of the family and animals will be assessed as part of the adoption assessment process to ensure children are safe and their experiences of animals is understood.

If you have any questions about whether you will be able to adopt, don't hesitate to fill in our call back form to request a chat with one of our friendly team.

Adoption and IVF

Many people come to adoption following the ending of fertility treatment. We recognise the heartache that comes with that decision. You will have been hoping to begin family life with a child born to you and the loss of that hope can bring profound sadness.

People can experience a wide range of emotions at this time including denial, anger and despair. Time is often needed to work through these feelings and reach a point where you are ready to move on and meet the needs of a child who may have had their own difficult experiences. This is the reason that we usually advise a gap between ending fertility treatment and starting an application to become an adopter.

There are no hard and fast rules here, the period of time needed will be different for different people. If you are considering adoption we'd love to talk with you, understand your circumstances and help you work out what is likely to be the best approach for you.

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Complete our Adoption Enquiry Form and one of our team will contact you within 10 days to speak to you and begin the adoption application process

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