Child adoption | Adopting a child

Child adoption is the way of providing permanent new families for children who cannot be brought up by their biological parents or extended family.

To be adopted a child must be under the age of 18 while making the application. Child must not be married or in a child partnership.

Both children’s birth parents should have consent normally to the adoption. However, it is not required to take consent from the parents if they are not found. Moreover, when they are not capable of giving consent due to a mental disability, it is not needed to take the consent. Besides when the child would be put at risk if they were not adopted we do not require taking consent from the parents for the adoption.

Prerequisites to adopt a child

You may be able to adopt child if

  • You are aged 21 or over
  • You must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK
  • You must have lived in the UK for at least 1 year before you begin the application process

Early stages of adoption

To adopt a child you can go through either an adoption agency that is part of your local council or a voluntary adoption agency.

To adopt a child you should contact the adoption agency at first. They will send the information about the adoption process. The agency will arrange to meet you. You will be invited to a meeting with other individuals who want to adopt the child.

When you and the agency agree to carry on the agency will provide you an application form. The adoption approval process normally takes around six months.


Once the agency gets your application they will invite you to a series of preparation classes. The classes normally are held locally and give advice on the effect adoption may have on you. Besides, they arrange a social worker to visit you on several occasions to carry out assessments. It does check either you are suitable to be an adoptive parent. They arrange a police check. You are not allowed to adopt if you are an adult member of your family who have been convicted a serious offence. They ask you to give the names of 3 referees who will provide you the personal details. Adoption agency arrange for you to have a full medical examination.

The social worker will send the assessment report to an independent adoption panel. This is a group of people who are experienced in adoption. Depending on your assessment the panel will make a recommendation to the adoption agency. The adoption panel will send their recommendation to the agency which will then decide whether you are suitable to adopt a child.

When the agency decides you are eligible to adopt the child they will begin the process of finding a child. They will explain how the process works and how you can be involved.

However, if an adoption agency says you cannot adopt a child but you disagree with an adoption agency you can either challenge their decision. You can apply to the independent review mechanism. They will investigate your case.

Adoption court order

You require applying for an adoption court order to make an adoption legal. It provides you parental rights and responsibilities for the child. The child must have lived with you for at least 10 weeks before you apply.

While the order is granted the adoption becomes permanent. The child has the same rights as if they were your own birth child such as the right of inheritance.

Getting an adoption certificate

If your application is successful the general register office will create an adoption certificate. This replaces the original birth certificate and shows the child’s new name.

Adopting a stepchild

You require telling your local council if you aspire to adopt your partner’s child. You must do this at least 3 months before applying to a court for an adoption order.

The process to adopt is similar to an assessment through an adoption agency.

The assessment is used to assist a court decide if you can adopt the child. Local council will be informed by the court to provide a report on your partner, the child, the other birth parent. However, social worker will prepare the report and will be used to help the court make a decision. If granted the adoption court order gives you parental responsibility for the child along with your spouse or partner.

Adopting a child from overseas

You can adopt a child from overseas if they are not cared for in a safe environment in their own country. The adopter will be eligible to adopt a child if the adopter has been assessed as eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by an adoption agency in the UK.

The department for education charges a fee of £1975 for processing your application. The fee is exempt from vat.  Once your application has been accepted you will be connected how to pay the fee.

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