How to become an adoptive parent

Initial enquiry
If you wish to pursue your interest in adoption you should contact the adoption team in your local Trust area, contact the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 or enquire online to request a meeting with a social worker. You also have the option of pursuing your interest in adoption with the two voluntary adoption agencies listed below:

Meeting with adoption social worker
The meeting is a two way process; an opportunity for you to find out more about adoption and for the social worker to find out more about you.

Preliminary checks
If any of the checks are not satisfactory you will be informed and given the opportunity to discuss the situation with the approprate manager for adoption.

Preparation course
All applicants will be expected to attend a preparation course. The course will be an educative experience and it will also give you an opportunity to reflect on your plan to adopt.

Social work interviews
The social worker will meet with you on a number of occasions. The areas discussed with you will include:

  • your own upbringing and experience of being parented
  • your support network
  • your lifestyle
  • your parenting capacity
  • your current relationship and experience of previous relationships
  • if you do not have birth children, how this has impacted on you.

Your children from any previous relationship including those who have reached adulthood will be interviewed by the social worker in respect of their views on your application to adopt. You will have an opportunity to read your assessment and make any written comments prior to circulation to the Adoption Panel.

Adoption Panel
The Adoption Panel is made up of a group of people who have experience in adoption. The social worker and the senior social worker / senior practitioner will present your assessment to the Adoption Panel. You will be invited to attend part of this meeting if you wish to do so. When the Panel have considered your assessment you will be advised of the outcome. The Adoption Panel make their recommendation to the Trust Agency Decision Maker who ultimately makes the decision whether you become an approved adoptive parent or not.

How do children become available for adoption?
Children who are available for adoption will be in foster care because they are unable to return to their birth family and their Care Plan will change to adoption. The Trust will make an application to a court, a legal process which may include a number of options to make this possible:

  • Adoption with consent, ie. birth parent agreeing to their child/ren being adopted
  • Freeing Order – when a birth parent does not agree to their child/ren being adopted, the Trust applies to the court for a Freeing Order.