How do I adopt?

​Choosing to adopt is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life so it's not surprising that you may feel overwhelmed at the start. Like all routes to parenthood there will be challenges along the way but lifelong support is available at every step.

The adoption processfamily3.jpg

Step 1: Tell us you are interested in adopting

Register your interest

Call us: 0300 126 1008

Email: a&

You may also like to:

Step 2: We will invite you to an information event

These are held monthly.

At the adoption event, you will:

  • find out more about adoption
  • hear first-hand from an adoptive parent
  • find out about the needs of children for whom adoption is the plan
  • meet members of the adoption team and ask questions

If adoption seems right for you, we will ask you to fill in an initial interest form to get you started on your journey.

Step 3: Pre-stage 1 exploration

An adoption social worker will carry out an home visit to you, giving you the opportunity to chat about your individual circumstances and what the adoption journey means in more detail.

Following this visit, if we all agree that the time is right, we will invite you to complete a registration form to progress you to stage 1 of your adoption assessment journey.

There is lots of useful information about adoption on the First4Adoption website.

Step 4: Stage 1 assessment - registration and checks

Stage 1 is centred on taking up statutory checks and references with the authorities as well as people you know and will take no longer than 2 months.

We will contact the police, your local authority, your employers (where appropriate) and your landlord or mortgage company. We will also ask you to supply us with the details of people who can comment on your suitability to adopt and ask you to take a medical and complete a self-assessment questionnaire.

Training is also provided which will support you in thinking about exactly what is involved in adopting the children in care who need adoptive families.

Once we have collected all this information and discussed your application with you, we will make a decision on whether to proceed to Stage 2.

The Government has designed this two-stage process to ensure that those who enter Stage 2 are in a position to move forward with their application and are likely to be approved as adopters.

Step 5: Stage 2 - assessment, training and approval

In this stage of the approval process our social worker will visit you at home and talk through with you why you want to adopt, the kinds of children you would best be able to care for and your overall strengths and suitability. You will also be invited to attend more detailed training to prepare you for adoption. This stage takes 4 months.

Once the assessment is completed, your social worker will present a report that will lay out your strengths as an adopter to the Adoption Panel. The panel is made up of experienced adopters as well as people who have knowledge of relevant areas of adoption and a medical adviser. They will consider all the information gathered during the approval process and make a recommendation on your suitability to be an adoptive parent to our agency decision maker. You will have the opportunity to comment on the report and to attend the panel if you wish.

Step 6: Matching and placement

Once you are approved to adopt, a social worker will work with you to find your child or children. It's hard to say how long this stage will take, as the right match is important.