What is adoption

Adoption is a process where a child who is not your biological child becomes your child.

Who can adopt

  • To adopt you must be over 21.
  • You do not necessarily need to be married or in a relationship.
  • You do not need to be a British Citizen but you must have a fixed home here and have lived here for at least a year.
  • Step parents can adopt.

What do I need to do

  • If the child has no connection with you or has not lived with you as a foster child you need to approach either your local social services adoption agency or a voluntary adoption agency.
  • They will send you information on the assessment process and may invite you to an information meeting to see if this is right for you.
  • If you are a step parent you will need to give notice of your intention to adopt at least 3 months  before making your application to your local social services department.
  • If you wish to adopt a foster child you will still need to be reassessed and approved as a adoptive parents .

What happens next?

  • An adoption assessment is undertaken and a recommendation made. This process can take around six months for those who are not step parents and three months for those who are.
  • For non step parent adoptions your assessment will go to an independent panel who will decide whether to approve you.
  • If approved a process known as matching will take place.
  • Only if that process is successful will a child be placed with you and an application can be made to the court.

Common Questions

Q: This seems a long process, so when do we get to court?

A: The process can take a long time as there is no guarantee that the first matching process will be successful – patience is needed.

Q: Can I stipulate the age of the child I am wanting to adopt?

A: Yes, you can but this may mean the process taking longer or not happening at all.

Q: Don’t the parents need to consent?

A: No, there are exceptions to this.

Q: Am I too old to adopt?

A: There is no upper age limit on adoptions.

Q: My step son is 17 surely he’s too old to be adopted?

A: As long as he is under 18 at the time the application is made and is not married or in a civil partnership he can be adopted.

Q: I want to adopt from abroad, what are the implications?

A: Adoptions with international elements can be a mine field as some foreign adoptions are not recognised in the UK –  legal advice is  always recommended.

Q: I have been turned down can I appeal the agencies decision?

A: Yes, you can.

So how can we help?

  • Give you clear guidance about the process and the possible pitfalls.
  • In step parent adoptions we can give the relevant notices to the Local Authority for you and ensure they act upon it.
  • Help you sort out any issues on whether you can adopt in the UK if you are not a British citizen.
  • If you want to adopt from abroad, assist you with the process.
  • Help you in all cases to make the application to the court to ensure it is issued to include the required statement of why adoption is needed and why the parents consent is not required.
  • Help prepare you for court or to attend court on your behalf.
  • If an agency refuses you help you to prepare an appeal.

Becoming a parent is special so we want to make it as easy as possible for you and we do not need to be involved in the whole process – just give us a call when you need help and we will help you, in some cases this will be covered by a fixed fee.

My case was dealt with in a manner that was both tailored to me and professional and everything was handled quickly and with the minimal hassle, it made me feel involved without being burdened. Could not recommend more.

Key contacts for Family Law: Adoption

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