What is adoption?

Adoption is the legal process by which a child or a family group of children who cannot be brought up within their birth family become full, permanent and legal members of their new family.

Adopters become the child’s legal parents with the same rights and responsibilities as if the child was born to them.

This involves preparation and assessment by social workers trained in adoption work, a recommendation by an Adoption Panel and the final decision made by the Agency Decision Maker. The Adoption Panel is also responsible for recommending the matching and placement of a particular child or children with prospective adopters.

Preparation to become an adoptive parent involves learning that adoption is about ‘parenting in a different way’. Applicants will have the opportunity to look at the effects of early trauma, loss and neglect on children and how this can manifest itself in adoptive family life.

Adoption is a lifelong commitment, which requires very serious thought and preparation. It is important for applicants to consider the impact adoption will have on them as individuals, as a couple, as well as on their immediate and extended family.