FAQs
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FAQs

These are the questions most often asked by people who are thinking about adopting a child.

 

Please feel free to contact us and ask any questions which they don’t answer.

Do I need to be earning a certain amount of money or own my own house before I can adopt?

No. You don’t need to be wealthy or own your own home to adopt as long as you have enough space to comfortably accommodate a child and are able to support them financially. Your financial circumstance will be considered as part of the process.

Am I too old to adopt?

No. There is no upper age limit for applicants who wish to adopt, however all applicants need to be fit and healthy enough to be able to appropriately meet the care and parenting needs of a child. Older applicants may need to consider the possibility of adopting the older age range in order to maximise the likelihood of achieving a placement.

Can I adopt if I already have children?

Yes. Applications are welcomed from applicants who already have one or more biological or adopted children. However, where prospective adopters are already parents it is generally considered advisable for any future adopted child to be at least two years younger than your existing children. However, we will consider each family individually and where there are specific reasons to suggest that the placement of an older child may be appropriate we will be open to discussing this.

My partner and I are currently undergoing fertility treatment- does this mean we cannot apply to adopt?

It is widely recognised in adoption that it is preferable for applicants not to begin the process of being assessed as prospective adopters until any fertility tests or treatment that they have decided to pursue are completed, and, if unsuccessful, until they have had time to come to terms with this. This is because undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatment can be very emotional and you will need time to process these experiences before you can decide whether adoption is for you and your family and commit yourself to the adoption process. We will talk to you about an appropriate timescale based on your individual circumstances.

Do couples need to have been together for a particular length of time before they can adopt?

Most adoption agencies consider that the quality and strength of a relationship is more relevant to a couple’s capacity to jointly provide appropriate parenting to a child than is the duration of their relationship. However where couples apply to an adoption agency to be approved to jointly adopt, the duration of their relationship and how long they have lived together is taken into account when assessing whether the relationship is likely to provide the long term stability and commitment that an adopted child needs.

If I have a health problem will this stop me being able to adopt?

Not necessarily. The key issue for the agency is that it places children with adopters who will be able to meet their needs through to adulthood and provide a stable family life. As part of the adoption process all applicants are required to have a full medical with their own GP. We ask you to disclose all relevant information relating to your medical history. This would include any prognosis of life threatening illnesses occurring or reoccurring, any known genetic condition(s) or psychological and/or psychiatric referral or treatment. This relates to you, a member of your household, or an immediate family member. With regard to undergoing, or anticipating, a significant medical procedure (including major surgery) we would not usually accept an application until the procedure is concluded and sufficient time has elapsed to make a good physical recovery. And depending on the nature of the surgery to psychologically adjust.

I don’t have any previous direct experience of caring for children, does this matter?

No. Previous experience can be helpful but not essential. What’s more important is that you are able to communicate, have an ability to build a nurturing and reassuring relationship with a child and can adopt a flexible attitude to responding to a child’s needs.

Can I adopt if I work full time?

Where the applicant/s are in full or part-time employment, one applicant or single applicant will be expected to take adoption leave at the beginning of the placement. Many placing authorities require one or other prospective adopter to be available as a full-time parent for at least 12 months following a placement if the child is of preschool age, however this may depend on the child and the family’s individual circumstances. Your employment status does not affect your adoption application. However we would expect that your work commitments would be flexible enough to be able to accommodate the needs of a child. This is particularly important during the settling in period. Once you are formally matched to a child, prospective adopters are entitled to statutory adoption leave and pay. This mirrors the same rights available under statutory maternity leave and pay enabling adopters to take up to 12 months adoption leave. For more information please visit gov.uk/adoption-leave.

Will it be a problem if we will need to use childcare arrangements after the first six or 12 months of a child being placed with us?

Not necessarily. Placing authorities recognise that many families need both parents to be in employment for financial security. However, given the history and life experiences of the children generally placed for adoption both locally and nationally, consistency of care is essential if each child is going to have the best chance to develop secure attachments and to overcome any difficulties. Given this, all prospective adopters who will need to use substitute child care arrangements, will need to be able to identify a stable and consistent childcare arrangement that is appropriate to the age of the child and to be able to evidence the appropriateness of this arrangement to the placing authority.

Will a change in job or house move prevent me being approved to adopt?

Not necessarily. All applicants will need to be able to show that your lifestyle and family situation is sufficiently stable and harmonious to provide an appropriate family environment. This will be considered on an individual basis but careful consideration will be given to the appropriateness of the Agency accepting an application where applicants are anticipating a significant change to their circumstances or where the composition of the family household is unsettled.

Is it true that you cannot be approved to adopt if you smoke?

Not necessarily, but if you smoke it will affect the age of child who you will be considered for. BAAF guidance states that, ‘Babies and young children up to the age of five years, and all children with respiratory problems, are at risk from smoking. It is therefore not in their best interests to be placed in households with smokers when equally suitable non-smokers are available, unless there are exceptional reasons for doing so, for example, when the prospective carer is a member of a child’s extended family'. Given this guidance, prospective adopters who smoke are unlikely to be matched to a young child. It is important to note that the BAAF guidance also relates to applicants who use, or who have in the recent past 12 months, used any nicotine-related devices, including e-cigarettes and vaporisers. If you have been a smoker in the past, or if you are currently a smoker, please discuss this with us at an early stage of your enquiry or application. Obviously we would prefer it if you didn’t smoke, and we can provide you with support to help you give up. We will consider each individual case but would prefer all children to be placed in non-smoking households.