If you are considering building your family through adoption, you would firstly need to approach a local authority or an approved adoption agency to be assessed and approved as an adopter. You can then be matched with a suitable child. Usually the children available for adoption are children in the care of the local authority because the court has decided their birth parents are unable to care for them or because they have been relinquished by their parents.
Once a child has been placed with you we can assist you when applying to court for an adoption order.
Historically, adoption was limited to young, married couples, but these days it is potentially a route open to anyone, married or single, gay or straight, young or old. The process is not straightforward but can be navigated successfully with the right support.
• The first step for prospective parents is to approach a local authority or adoption agency for assessment and approval as adopters
• Prospective parents are then matched with a child, who may be in local authority care because a court decided the birth parents were unable to care for the child or perhaps because the birth parents relinquished the child
• The child comes to live with the prospective parents and, after a certain period of time, they can apply to court for an adoption order
• The local authority will prepare a very detailed report on the prospective adopters, the child and the birth parents to help the court decide whether an adoption order should be made
• Once an adoption order is made, the adoptive parents become the child’s full, legal parents, and the birth parents lose all legal status in relation to the child
We regularly act for prospective adopters looking to adopt a child, both those seeking general advice before embarking on the process, and those where the child is already with them and they now want to apply for an adoption order through the courts. This is often where the child has been placed by an adoption agency, but we also act for step-parents wishing to adopt their partner’s child.
The right legal advice and representation can be critical to the process. It is not only needed at court, for example if the birth parents oppose the adoption, but can also be vital to the long-term success of the adoption, such as by ensuring the local authority provides an appropriate post-adoption support package. Adopting a child will probably be the most important step prospective parents ever take, so it’s vital they know their rights and responsibilities, to ensure the best outcome for everyone.