Adoption frequently asked questions

three girls lying back on a carpet with linked hands


Can I adopt if I am not married or in a relationship?

You can adopt if you’re single, married or living with a long-term partner.

However, if you’re married or in a civil partnership, you will need to adopt as a couple. 

Is it easy for gay and lesbian people to adopt?

You’re sexuality is absolutely no barrier to your eligibility to adopt.

If you can provide a safe, secure, happy ‘forever home’ for a child, that’s all we need to know.  

Am I too old to adopt if I have retired?

So long as you’re aged at least 21, that’s the only legality to consider.

We know that many older people have just as much energy to give a child or children, so your age shouldn’t count against you.

Potential adoptive parents of any age have to pass a medical check-up to ensure they’re fit and healthy to become parents. 

Can I adopt if I am unemployed or in part-time employment?

So long as you can cope with the financial time demands of caring for a child, your employment status does not matter.

We understand that if you’re unemployed adoption may place a financial strain on you, so we’ll need to ensure you can cope money-wise.

And if you’re not in work and feel you’re still able to offer the time and commitment adoption demands, we’ll work with you to achieve your aims.

We may ask you to take some leave from work initially to help settle a child into their new home and life.

Are people with disabilities allowed to adopt?

We need to ensure that your disability or health issues wouldn’t be made worse by the demands of adopting a child.

But in the main, we find that many, many people with varying disabilities make excellent adoptive parents and we will certainly never rule you out initially.

Everyone who applies to adopt must pass a medical assessment and it’s up to the medical adviser to make any final decisions in this matter.  

Can birth parents take a child back once he or she has been adopted? 

Adoption is a legal process that transfers all parental responsibilities to the new adoptive parents.

The birth parents then have no legal rights over the child and cannot claim the child back. 

Can I adopt if I already have children?

Lots of people who have birth children apply to adopt for lots of different reasons.

If your children are still at home, we’d need to involve them in the process and it would be unlikely that we’d place a child with you who’s older than your birth children.

Usually we’d also want a two year age gap between your birth children and your adopted child.

Can someone who has been convicted for a violent crime adopt a child? 

If you’ve been convicted of a violent crime or any offence against children then we’d be unable to consider you.  

Is financial support available to adoptive parents?

The Adoption Support Fund was set up in May 2015 to ensure that your family's adoption needs were being met and the necessary support mechanisms are in place post-adoption.

For more information please visit our Adoption Support Fund page.

What if I smoke?

We understand that being a smoker does not affect your parenting skills. However the knowledge and awareness that we now have about second hand smoke means that we are looking to place children in smoke free homes whenever possible.

If you are a smoker and want to become an adoptive parent, we will provide all the advice and support we can to help you quit or cut down your smoking.

For further information please read our our Guidance for foster carers and adoptive parents about smoking

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