Am I too old to adopt?
There is no upper age limit, but you must be fit and healthy enough to support a child safely into adulthood. Most importantly, you should be able to provide stability, security, a safe nurturing environment and enough time to meet the child’s needs. You must be over 21 years old to adopt.
What happens if I’ve had treatment for infertility?
An adoption agency will ask you wait for a number of months after your treatment before starting the adoption process, but please contact an adoption agency to have a chat about your circumstances. This gives you and your partner time to recover and come to terms with things. You can use this time to gather information and discuss your plans to adopt with close family and friends.
Can I adopt if I live in rented accommodation?
It doesn’t matter whether you own or rent your home. However, you must have enough space for an adopted child’s physical needs as they grow. For example, you should have enough bedrooms so that an adopted child won’t have to share with a child of a different gender when they are older.
Do my finances and employment status matter?
The important thing is that you've enough money to care for a child. Your financial circumstances and employment status will be considered as part of an adoption assessment. You can adopt if you have a low income, are unemployed or receiving benefits.
Can I get financial help to adopt?
You can apply for an Adoption Allowance in some cases, such as when an adoptive child needs special care or facilities to help them get the most out of life as they grow older. You might be able to access financial support if you plan to adopt siblings.
Will my health affect my chance of adopting?
If you have any health concerns, talk to your adoption agency when you first approach them. Before you can adopt, you will need to have a full medical by your GP. There may be a charge for this. Your adoption agency’s medical advisor will receive and look at the results of your medical. They will then decide whether there are any medical issues that need further discussion with yourself.
Can I adopt if I have a disability?
Yes, absolutely. Having a disability does not automatically exclude anyone from adopting. Your capacity to be a parent is what’s important and your disability is only one of many issues that your adoption agency will consider.
Can I adopt if I am overweight?
Yes, you can. Your weight is only a problem if it affects your health or ability to care for a child. Your GP will record your weight as part of your medical, as well as any other lifestyle issues.
Can I adopt if I smoke?
There are clear and medically recognised associated health risks to children whose parents smoke. If you hope to adopt a child aged 0–5 years, you will need to have given up smoking.
Can I work and adopt?
Yes, but you will need time off to help the child settle into your home. For younger children, it is important that you are at home for as long as possible. Even when they are at school, it may take longer for them to settle into a routine, so you may need to be available when they need you. The most important thing is that you are flexible and fit your work commitments around the needs of your adopted child, not the other way round.
Can I adopt if I already have children?
If you already have birth or adopted children, it is essential that you consider how another child will affect their lives. If they are old enough to understand adoption and the changes it may bring, your social worker will speak to them as part of their assessment. By understanding the age and needs of your children, your adoption agency will be able to help you decide the age and needs of your adopted child to make sure they fit well into your family.
Can I adopt if I have a criminal record?
Some offences will stop you adopting, including serious abuse against children and some offences against adults. However, if you have committed a criminal offence, talk to your social worker and they will advise you further. Not all offences will exclude you from adoption.
How long will the assessment process take?
Your assessment should take no longer than six months to complete. However, everyone is different and your individual circumstances can affect the length of time the assessment takes.
As a foster carer, can I adopt a child in my care?
Depending on your circumstances, it may be appropriate for you to adopt a child in your care. You will still need to go through an assessment to make sure you are suitable to adopt. Talk to the child’s social worker, who will give you advice on the process.
Is the adoption process the same for stepparents?
No, the adoption process for stepparents is very different. Speak to your regional adoption service for advice and information.
What help will I get after I’ve adopted a child?
You or your child may need advice and support at different times throughout your lives. There are a range of services that may be available for you and your family, including advice, support groups, therapeutic support, financial support and training.
Can I change my child’s name?
Your child will take your surname when the final adoption order is made. In some circumstances it might be appropriate to change their first name but you will need to think carefully about this. You need to consider the affect it might have on your child, both at the time and in the future. Speak to your social worker for advice and information.
How do I decide which adoption agency to approach?
You can contact more than one adoption agency for information and advice, but you can only make a formal application with one adoption agency. You need to feel comfortable with the adoption agency you choose to apply to.
What’s the difference between applying to a Voluntary Adoption Agency (VAA) or a Local Authority Adoption Agency?
Both are registered adoption agencies and both recruit, prepare and assess potential adopters. However, Local Authority agencies have responsibility for children in care and their families. VAAs do not.
What are Regional Adoption collaboratives?
Do Voluntary Adoption Agencies cover all of Wales?
Yes. There are two Voluntary Adoption Agencies that assess potential adopters in Wales. You can visit the St David’s Children’s Society at www.adoptionwales.org or get in touch by phoning 029 20667007. You can visit Barnardo's at www.barnardos.org.uk or get in touch by phoning 0800 054 6788.
Where else can I get advice or information?