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Frequently asked questions

Here we answer some of the most common questions asked by people who want to become adoptive parents. However, if the following answers don’t cover the issues that are causing you concern or you need further clarification, please get in touch.

  • Is there an age limit?

    There is no upper age limit, but you will need to be fit and healthy enough to support a child in your care safely into adulthood. The important factors are that you are able to provide a child with stability, security, a safe nurturing environment and have enough time to meet the needs of the child.

  • Are there any restrictions on health and disability?

    You should tell us about any health issues early in the assessment process so that we can consult a medical professional and advise you appropriately. All adopters undergo a medical assessment.

    Passive smoking is now recognised as being harmful to adults and children so if you want to adopt you should be a non-smoker or to have stopped smoking for a period of one year if you want to adopt children 0-5 years old. All prospective adopters will be expected to maintain a smoke free home.

    Being a bit overweight will not stop you adopting a child, it only becomes a problem if it affects your health or ability to care for a child.

    If you are disabled, this in itself is not a barrier to becoming an adoptive parent. It is your ability to parent a child that is important. However if your condition has implications for your life expectancy, or involves symptoms which may take looking after children problematic, then this would need careful consideration.

  • What if I have had or am having infertility treatment?

    Adoption is emotionally tough and requires total commitment so we need you to have come to terms with any infertility issues you may have experienced before embarking on the adoption process.

    If you are having or have had infertility treatment, we expect the treatments to have completed and for you to have a period of time to adjust. This is because it is important to give yourself time to come to terms with the fact that you cannot conceive and come to adoption in the right frame of mind.

  • What if I have a criminal conviction?

    As part of our process we have to obtain information from the Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS).  This will tell us if you have had any, including spent, convictions.  Anyone who has committed certain serious criminal offences, including crimes against children or violent crimes will not be able to adopt.  If you do have any criminal convictions we would urge you to be open with us as early as possible. We understand that people may have minor offences on record, and particularly there may have been youthful misdemeanours in the past – we will always look sympathetically at any record in terms of what it was, when it occurred, how regularly and how long ago. Further to the DBS checks we also undertake checks with Local Authorities in which you live, or have previously lived.

  • What if I already have children?

    If you already have children (either adopted or born to you) it is essential that you consider how another child will affect their lives. If they are of an age that they understand adoption and its implications, the social worker who assesses you will also spend time with them to get their views. The ages and needs of your children will help us to determine the ages and needs of the children who will best fit into your family.

  • Do my finances and employment status matter?

    The important thing is that you've enough money to care for a child. Your financial circumstances and employment status will be considered as part of an adoption assessment. You can adopt if you have a low income, are unemployed or receiving benefits.

  • Residency 

    By law, applicants must be resident in the UK and expect to remain in the UK for the foreseeable future. The expectation is that the prospective adopter or one of the prospective adopters should be domiciled in the British Islands or have been habitually resident in a part of the British Islands for a period of not less than a year before they apply to the court for an Adoption Order. 

  • Citizenship

    If an applicant is not a British Citizens or Dual Citizen they must have been granted, and can provide documentation to confirm that they have or will soon be entitled to 'indefinite leave to remain' in the UK. Where applicants do not meet these requirements they may be advised to seek legal advice and share this with us.