We welcome applications from people who are:
- Heterosexual, lesbian, gay, living with a partner, single, married, divorced, of any nationality, race, religion and cultural background. Applicants can be atheist or agnostic.
- Childless or already have children
- Employed or unemployed
- Home owners or people who rent their home as long as they have security and space to care for children as they grow.
- Aged over 21
- Normally living in the UK
- People who do not have any criminal convictions against children
It is important that adopters can offer a safe, stable and loving home to a child throughout childhood and beyond. To enable us to assess this we would need to discuss with applicants the following issues at an early stage:
Adopters need to have energy and to have the expectation of being able to care for their adopted child throughout childhood and to continue providing support into young adulthood. There is a statutory requirement for adoptive applicants to have a medical examination by their GP, which is considered by our Medical Advisor. If there is a significant risk that an applicant may not be able to care for a child throughout their dependent years, the Medical Advisor will seek further information about the medical issues and the implications for a child's future care and security.
We do not exclude applicants on the basis of smoking, but given the known medical risks of passive smoking for young children, we would discuss this with applicants.Children under five years of age and those with respiratory conditions will not be placed in smoking households.
We advise applicants to complete investigations and treatment and feel emotionally ready to move on before applying to adopt a child. This is because of the emotional stress involved in fertility treatment and the need for applicants to be ready to devote their energies to adoption.
If applicants are disabled we may need to discuss with them what support they may need to care for an adopted child. But being disabled would not, of itself, preclude you from adopting.
Applicants do not need to be well off and may be on benefits, but we do need to discuss finances with them to be sure they could manage the responsibility of a child. Financial assistance might be paid to help adopters cope with the costs involved for caring for a group of siblings or a child with special needs.
We are required by law to discuss with applicants if they have a criminal record and whether this raises concerns about their suitability to be a parent through adoption. All applicants have to have Criminal Records Bureau and other statutory checks undertaken.
No convictions are regarded as "spent" for the purpose of adoption. Criminal Records Bureau checks will record all past convictions and cautions.
Applicants will not be automatically excluded if they have had problems with the law but we need to understand the circumstance at the time and any likely implications for the future. Violent offences will generally disqualify applicants unless there are very special circumstances.
All these criteria are designed to protect the welfare of children. We want to be open with potential adopters about these criteria and we are always willing to discuss them with applicants and consider how they apply to individual circumstances.
What makes a good adoptive parent?
Research suggests that the following are positive indicators for successful adoptive parents:
- Your marriage / partnership and/or support networks of family and friends needs to be solid and secure
- You are tolerant and flexible
- You genuinely like and enjoy children
- You can allow your child to have memories of and affection for others in his or her past
- You can reach out to others for support
- You have a good sense of humour
- You can deal with and accept expressions of anger from your child
- You have patience and understanding, no matter how difficult things may be
- You do not expect children to be appreciative or grateful
- You can accept that love and affection from a child may take a long time and may never come
- You are prepared to stand up for your child when the going gets tough
- You are willing and able to share your life experiences with others
- You do not get uptight if things in your home are messed up or broken
- You can accept failure in yourself and others, and are not afraid to ask for help
- You are not a perfectionist and can be happy with small steps of progress
- You understand and accept that parenting children who need alternativefamilies is different from caring for children of your own.