Steps to adoption

The first steps


When you use our online form to make an initial enquiry we’ll send you an information pack and invite you to an online information session.


You will hear from our professional team explain the process in more detail and there will be a chance to ask questions at the end. We advise that everyone attends the online information session.


Once you have attended a webinar and read the information pack and you want to proceed we will need to complete an initial enquiry over the phone and then a home visit.

Stage one of the adoption process


Once you have completed the first steps and we feel it’s the right time for you to progress, you will complete a registration of interest form. You will be invited to join a preparation group where you’ll learn more about the children currently looking for families and the type of parenting they need.


The preparation training is a great way to learn more about adopted children, their needs and how best to parent a child who has experienced loss and trauma. It’s also an opportunity to gain support from other people going through the same process.


We will ask you to develop your learning about adoption and adopted children and we may ask you to experience childcare through a voluntary work placement.


We will also complete all the required checks and references.


Checks and references


We ask for the following references:

  • Six personal references, one of which must be from a family member (three references each if you are in a couple).
  • References from ex-partners (if you have lived with someone, co-parented or been married before).
  • If you are or have worked or volunteered with vulnerable children or adults, we’ll request a reference from that time.


We ask for the following checks:

  • A medical check by your GP.
  • A check from the Disclosure and Barring Service.
  • If you have lived abroad, overseas checks will need to be completed.


You will also be asked to complete a ‘All about me’ workbook which helps us to learn more about you with the support the support of your social worker. This workbook will explore your life and experiences that have led you to adoption. It’s a chance to explore your childhood, and perhaps some life experiences that have formed who you are.



Once all checks, references and workbook has been completed we will let you know if you are ready to move to stage two.


Stage one should take approximately two/three months to complete.


Stage two of the adoption process


A social worker will visit you at home and begin to complete a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). A PAR gives a detailed assessment of you, your background, your lifestyle, your existing family and the type of adoptive family you hope to become part of.


During this time, a social worker will attend your home regularly and discuss the information that was provided in the stage one process. The next stage is to become an approved adopter, this is at the end of the stage two process. The stage two process can take around 4 months.


The adoption panel


You will then meet the Adoption Panel with the social worker who completed your assessment.


The adoption panel is made up of professionals and people with experience of adoption including adoptive parents, people who have been adopted, social workers, health professionals, along with a legal and medical adviser.


The panel will consider the PAR as well as hear from you and your social worker and will give a recommendation. This recommendation will be agreed by the Agency Decision Maker.


Linking and matching with children


When you are approved, we’ll match you to a child using the information in your PAR. We work closely with our family finding team and our local authority teams to identify the strongest match for our children.


There is no timeline for this, but adopters don’t wait long due to the number of children that need families.


Adoption order


When a child is placed with you, we’ll visit you and provide any support you need. Once your child has lived with you for more than 10 weeks, we will help you to make an application for an adoption order providing it is the right time.


Your supporting social worker and the child’s social worker will complete a report to the court to support your application.


It can take up to eight weeks for the court to hold a final hearing when they make their decision. Once the adoption order is in place you and your child or children legally become a family.