Could I adopt a child?
Could you adopt Malachi?
We are looking for a new family for Malachi. Could you be his new family? Why not find out more?
For most people there is good reason to believe that you could be approved to adopt. One of the "issues" that all adoption agencies are aware of is that quite a number of people decide not to apply because they think that they might not be approved. In many instances they are quite simply wrong!
There are some things which might indicate that you should consider delaying your application for a while and other matters that might make it more difficult for you to adopt. There are only a few things that would make it most unlikely that you could ever adopt. We list some of the more often asked questions below:
What will not affect your application to adopt
Adoption by hetrosexual and gay people and couples should be treated similarly by all adoption agencies. Recent research indicates that gay adopters do a very good job of parenting children and that they have as much as anyone else to offer children who are placed for adoption. You should not expect to face any discrimination because of your sexuality.
Your religious beliefs
Agencies will often state that they approve prospective adopters "of all faiths or none". Your religion may exclude you from being considered for some children, usually where the birth parent has expressed a desire for them to be brought up in a particular faith, but it will not be a barrier to you adopting.
We are not married
Unmarried couples are encouraged to apply to adopt. Couples can be straight, lesbian or gay.
I'm not well off
Agencies will want to establish that you are financially secure (eg not threatened with eviction). You do not have to have a certain level of income to adopt.
I'm on benefits
You can be employed, self employed or unemployed. It will make no material difference to your application.
I live in rented accommodation
Agencies will consider this irrelevant unless you are renting a property where the lease is to end, and where you are expected to move out in the near future.
Why should you consider a delay in applying?
If you are currently, or have recently undergone fertility treatment
Most agencies will consider applicants who have undergone fertility treatment 6 months after this treatment has ended, some insist on a longer period. If you are in this position our advice is to use the time to gather information and to start to discuss all aspects of adoption with both your partner (if applicable) and your family.
You have a child who is not more than two years older than the age of a child you would like to adopt
All agencies insist that an adopted child should be at least two years younger than any existing children of the family. Some insist on an even greater age gap.
I have very small accommodation
Agency staff will not consider a family if they cannot provide the physical space the child needs. For example, if you live in a 2 bedroom property and you already have a daughter of 10 you would not be considered for the adoption of a 7 year old boy until your accommodation changes. For those living in council properties you will probably find that you will not be re-housed on the basis of your intention to adopt in the future.
You have a recent criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge
Agency staff will be able to advise you after being told of the offence/s, when they were committed and of the circumstances. It is quite unlikely that an Adoption Agency will consider you as a suitable applicant if you have committed an offence in the last few years. You might want to use this time to delay your application and gather evidence that would support the view that your offending is behind you.
You have not been with your partner very long
All agencies want children adopted into a very secure family environment. Whilst you may be convinced that your relationship with your partner is going to last, Adoption Agencies prefer t o see a relationship that has a significant history and many will want to select only applicants who have been together for two years or more. This makes perfect sense as it gives them an indication of how, as a couple, you have coped with problems and adversity, how you bring different strengths to your relationship, how you support one another, make decisions, and apportion tasks, etc.
You are just about to or have just moved
The Adoption Agency is likely to want you to have settled into an area before applying. They want to feel confident that you will not move out of the area during or just after the home study. They also need to include within your home study report, details of your support networks and the links you have established within your local community. This would be very difficult to determine within a few months of you moving to a new area to live.
You are the parent/s of a child that has died recently
It is quite natural for many who have lost a child to consider adoption. Adoption agencies will want to make sure that you have come to terms with your loss and given yourself sufficient time to grieve. Agency staff are likely to be concerned that you are able to cope with the anxiety and stress that most adopters go through during the assessment process.
Why Your Application might not be straight forward
I have suffered mental health problems in the past
One of the first steps you should take is to discuss your making an application to adopt with your GP. He or she will probably be prepared to advise you of the information they will give to the adoption agency and any supplemental information they would provide. The agency will have their own medical adviser who will also be asked for their opinion. This advice is likely to concentrate upon the impact of your last illness, your response to any treatment, any indication that the illness might occur again, and the long-term outlook.
I have suffered or have other health problems
One of the first steps you should take is to discuss your making an application to adopt with your GP. He or she will probably be prepared to advise you of the information they will give to the adoption agency and any supplemental information they will provide. The agency will have their own medical adviser who will also be asked for their opinion. This advice is likely to concentrate upon the impact of your illness, your response to any treatment, and just how it might affect your physical ability to care for a child in the future.
If you are suffering from a progressive illness the agency will pay considerable attention to how predictable is its progress and its impact upon your ability to physically care for a child over the long-term. If you have suffered from cancer the agency will want you to have been given the 'all clear' and many expect a reasonable amount of time to have elapsed since then.
You have a criminal conviction
Agency staff will be able to advise you how this might affect your application. If you have committed a criminal offence you will not, in most cases be excluded from applying. With the exception of some very serious offences the agency will consider the offence/s, the circumstances, and the likelihood of you offending in the future.
Why Your Application might be rejected
You have a criminal conviction for offences against children or another very serious offence.
If you feel that this might apply to you we would advise that you ask the Adoption Agency for confirmation that the offence excludes you from becoming an approved adopter. They will be able to tell you if the current legislation excludes you from adopting.
You are not a UK resident
You must OR at least one of a couple must be domiciled in the UK.
You or your partner are under 21
You need to be 21 to adopt, or if you are a couple you need to both be over that age. The only exception to this is for some step-parents adoptions. Most agencies will not consider applicants under the age of 25 as they feel that such a life changing decision requires considerable maturity.
You have had a child of your own that was 'taken into care'
Agency staff should be advised of all the facts and circumstances, but you should expect them to be quite negative about you making an application to adopt.
The list above is not exhaustive. Should your particular concern about your application not be addressed here please phone us for advice.