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  • The Adoption Process
  • Types of Adoption
  • Preparing for Adoption
  • FAQs
  • Adopter Stories
  • The Children
  • Ask the Adopter
  • Being an Adoptive Parent
  • LGBTQ+ Adoption
  • Early Permanence
  • Support and eLearning
  • Pre-Adoption
  • Post-Adoption
  • Adoption Support Fund
  • Education Support
  • Life Story Book
  • Training
  • Talking About Adoption
  • Support for Adopted Children
  • Support for Adopted Adults
  • Support for Birth Families
  • Adoption Support Training Hub
    • Leicester
    • Leicestershire
    • Lincolnshire and Rutland
    • North Lincolnshire
    • Northamptonshire

Can I adopt? FAQs

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Do I need to live in one of the Family Adoption Link’s local authorities?

Whilst we normally deal with applications from those living within the region, we may consider applications from adopters within an hours’ travelling distance of our geographical border.

Please get in touch if you would like to check if we would consider your application.

How do I start the adoption process?

This website is a great way to start the process, you can watch our You Can Adopt Information video, download our You Can Adopt Information Guide, take the ‘Are you ready to adopt?’ quiz and find out more about the children we are family finding for. And of course we are always here if you have any questions.

Once you have decided to go ahead with your application, the first step is to contact us so that we can help you decide if now is the right time for you to give any of our children a loving, forever home.

Will I get maternity/paternity pay?

If you’re working when your adopted child joins your family, you’ll usually be entitled to paid time off work (adoption leave). This is similar to the pay and leave rights available to birth parents. If you’re adopting as a couple, only one person will be able to get adoption leave, although the other parent might be able to get shared parental leave or paternity leave.

We would urge you to talk to your employer when considering your adoption application.

What kind of children are available for adoption?

We have a mix of children of all ages, genders and ethnicity. There is currently a shortage of adopters for the following groups of children.

  • Sibling groups
  • Children aged 3 and over
  • Children from BAME and mixed heritage backgrounds
  • Children with additional needs

Please note that your application will be prioritised if you are interested in adopting from these groups.

What is Early Permanence?

Early Permanence covers 2 different types of care. Essentially it is used to reduce the number of moves in a child’s life by placing them early (sometimes straight from the hospital) with a foster carer who will then (if the courts decide), go on to adopt them.

Do I have to stay in touch with the child's birth family after we have adopted?

Research shows that it is often in the best interests of the child to have some kind of contact with their birth parents. For the vast majority of children there will only be an annual exchange of letters using our ‘letterbox’ service between you as parents and the birth family member. This will be discussed with you during the adoption process.

Can I adopt a baby?

Children under 12 months make up a very small proportion of the children who are available for adoption.  You may wait much longer if you are only interested in being matched with a young child.

Can I adopt siblings?

Yes you can and our adopters who have taken this route have spoken of the many benefits of adopting a sibling group. Where it is in the children’s best interests, we will always try and place them together.

Please note due to current demand, if you interested in adopting siblings, your application will be prioritised.

How long will the process take?

The process to become approved as adopters will normally take around 6 months. Once approved and depending on the profile of the children you would like to adopt, it can take between 0 and 18 months to match with your child/children. Why not take a look at our Adoption process page for more information?

Can I adopt if I’m single?

Absolutely. We have created many happy families for single adopters. As a single adopter, it is important to consider your support network (friends and family) and this is something that we would look at with you during your assessment.

Can I adopt if we’re not married?

You don’t need to be married if you want to adopt as a couple but you do need to have lived together for a minimum of 2 years. During your assessment, we will look at the strength, quality and permanence of your relationship to ensure that you are both in a good position to raise a child.

Can I adopt if I am LGBTQ+?

We welcome applications from all single and joint adopters regardless of their sexuality and/or gender identity. Family Adoption Links are proud members of New Family Social and have a great deal of experience of helping same-sex couples to adopt successfully. Find out more

I'm disabled, can I adopt?

Having a disability will not automatically stop you from adopting. Part of the adoption process includes a full medical assessment which will consider any potential issues and ensure you are fit to meet the needs of the children placed. If you would like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Can I adopt if I have a mental health condition?

Whether you suffer from short periods of stress, depression or anxiety or from a longer-term mental health condition that is managed with medication we will consider your application; it will not automatically rule you out. There will be a full medical where you can discuss with your GP your ability to meet the needs of the child/ren and how the stress of adopting a child/ren may affect your mental health.

What is Therapeutic Parenting?

Therapeutic Parenting is where parents understand behaviour from the child’s perspective and react in a way that re-wires the emotional and neurological pathways into a position of trust and attachment. Family Adoption Links offers full training in Therapeutic Parenting as it is key to successful adoptions. Find out more…

I’m overweight, will this stop me being able to adopt?

There have been many adopters who are overweight that have successfully adopted children. We do need to be sure adopters can remain healthy enough to parent our children into adulthood so a full medical will be part of the assessment that will look into your lifestyle, BMI and any potential health implications. Any discussions with you around this will be done so sensitively and respectfully.

Will my faith or religion affect my application?

This will not be a determining factor in considering your application; we accept adopters from all backgrounds, faiths, and religions.

What if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent and we will consider all circumstances individually. You will only be automatically barred from adopting for a limited number of offences including any against children and significant sexual or violent offences.

We would encourage you to be open and honest about any prior offences, please talk to us if you are worried about this.

Will my age stop me from adopting?

There is no upper age limit for adopting children, the only restriction is that you need to be aged 21 and over. We just need to ensure that our adopters are fit and healthy enough to see our children through to adulthood.

Do I need to own my own home?

You do not need to be a homeowner to adopt, and we will welcome your application if you are privately renting, in a property provided by a housing association or local authority. Additionally, it won’t matter if you live in a house, bungalow or flat.

All we ask is that you are in stable and secure accommodation with sufficient space for a child/ren to grow up.

Is there an allowance for adoption?

We may pay an adoption allowance to secure an adoptive home for a child who may not otherwise be adopted. This scheme allows for the payment of a regular allowance under certain circumstances which could include where the child has additional needs, requires special care for a disability or has behavioural difficulties involving extra expense. The amount of money offered as an adoption allowance will vary and any allowance will usually take into account your financial resources as a family.

Can I adopt if I already have children?

Definitely, having birth children means you have experience in parenting which can be extremely valuable. We would highly recommend that any adopted children should be the youngest in the household and have at least a two-year age gap between your youngest birth child.

What support will I receive?

We know that support is important for our adoptive families and we have a structured support plan in place for every adoption as well as the ability to offer more specific support where necessary. See our Support page for more information.

We also offer a variety of free training for our adopters to ensure you are as well-equipped as possible for your adoption journey. Find out more…

Will my employment status affect my application?

If you are in full time employment, we would expect the single applicant or at least one adopter (if applying as a couple) to take adoption leave at the beginning of the placement; this is important to help your child/ren feel settled and safe with their new family and home.

People who are employed will be entitled to adoption leave, though this is not offered to those who are self-employed so we would encourage adopters to think about how they will manage financially during this period.

Likewise, being unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits will not automatically stop you becoming an adopter. Your financial stability and management will always be discussed during the assessment to ensure you are able to support a child/ren through to adulthood.

Please chat with us if you have any concerns over finances before applying.

Can I adopt a child from a different ethnic background?

Yes, there are many children from a wide range of backgrounds waiting to be adopted, if you can meet the needs of child/ren and provide them with a loving home then you can adopt a child from any ethnicity. We can help prepare you to understand the challenges that may occur with raising a child from a different ethnic background.

Can I adopt if I am going through any fertility treatments?

It is highly encouraged that finish your fertility treatment before applying for adoption. There aren’t any rules about how long you must wait to adopt after ending your treatment, but it can be a very emotional time and we would recommend at least 6 months. It is important that your adoption journey is viewed positively and we would welcome a discussion with you if you want more information.

Do I need previous direct experience of caring for children?

This is not a pre-requisite for being able to adopt; you just need to have a loving, nurturing and flexible nature towards children. However, the more hands-on experience you can gain prior to adopting will ensure you are more prepared for parenthood. If you don’t have the opportunity to gain experience caring for the children of family or friends then we can help with you volunteering in nurseries, schools, clubs, etc.

Can I adopt if I smoke?

We would highly encourage you to give up smoking/vaping due to the long-term risks to your health, but this will not automatically rule you out of adopting. However, you will likely need to be smoke free if you are wanting to adopt a child under 5 or a child with certain health problems.

Do I need to be a British Citizen to adopt?

You must be a legal resident in the UK for at least a year to be considered for adopting in England.

Do you offer any kind of training?

We certainly do. From our Prepare to Adopt Training before you are even approved to a suite of free courses covering everything from Therapeutic Parenting to The Child’s Sensory World once you are a parent, we are committed to offering you the skills to become the best parent you can be.

See our training…