Who can adopt?
Adopters in Northern Ireland include:
- Couples who have birth children and who have extended their family by adopting a child or sibling group
- Single people who do / do not have birth children
- Couples who do not have birth children
- Foster carers who have cared for a child / sibling group for a significant period of time
- Family e.g. grandparents, aunts / uncles
Other factors to take into consideration:
- An adoption assessment will not be undertaken while fertility treatment or investigations are ongoing
- Legally, applicants must be over 21 years old but there is no upper age limit for adopters. Generally applicants should not be more than 45 years older than the child they are adopting
- Experience of child rearing is not necessary but experience of caring for a child in some capacity is helpful
- Applicants are welcomed from all social, economic, religious and cultural backgrounds
- Applicants should be emotionally stable
- Applicants do not need to be home owners but tenure needs to be secure
- Applicants are required to show evidence they are financially secure
- Applicants can be in full or part time employment.As a minimum requirement all applicants will be required to avail of statutory adoption leave
- Applicants will be required to attend a preparation course. The process is designed to help participants decide whether adoption is right for them
- Applicants must consent to having a police record check, social services record check, a full medical completed by their GP, and provide the name of two referees.
What qualities and skills do adopters need?
Some adopters may have parented their own children or foster children, others may have little experience of parenting. There are many different kinds of families needed to meet the various needs of the children who require permanent homes.
Adopters are needed who can:
- Commit to providing a child with a secure, stable, loving family
- Take legal responsibility for the child once adopted, but be able to ask for help if needed
- Be open with their child about their background and birth family
- Help their child develop social skills and provide them with experiences they may have missed
- Have fun and maintain a sense of humour.