Who can adopt?

Adoption is a lifelong commitment requiring empathy, energy, patience – and a sense of humour! But there can be no greater reward than transforming a child’s life forever and building a happy, fulfilled family.

You need to be at least 21 to become an adoptive parent but there is no upper age limit. It is important though that you're fit and healthy so you can care for your child into adulthood. As part of the assessment we will ask you to visit your own GP and have a full medical.

You are able to adopt if you're single, married or living together and in a long-term relationship. It doesn’t matter if you are heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, your sexuality doesn’t come into question. 

You are able to adopt if you work full-time or likewise are not working at the moment. We talk to everyone about their financial circumstances to ensure that they are able to support themselves and a child without financial strain.

If you work full-time you need to ensure that you can meet the demands adopting a child will have on your time and energy. When you adopt a child we will expect you, or if you’re in a relationship, one partner to take off up to twelve months to help your child settle into your home and family.

You are able to adopt even if you don’t own your own home however we need to ensure you have enough space to care for a child or children. Ideally each child would have their own bedroom which would be a safe and stimulating environment for them. If you do rent your home we will need to see that you have security of tenure for example a long-term lease. 

We will need to consider any physical or mental health problems or disabilities to ensure that becoming a parent won't have any negative impacts on your wellbeing. We will work closely with you to help you decide whether it's in your best interests to start the adoption process.

We expect adopters to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle for both yourself, your partner if you are in a relationship and any child that becomes part of your family.

If you or any member of your household smokes, you will not be eligible to adopt a child under the age of five years old or any child who suffers from respiratory health problems.

If you decide to proceed with the adoption process you will need to declare all criminal convictions and cautions including those that are spent. You will not be able to adopt if you have been convicted of a violent criminal offence or a sexual offence against children. For all other convictions and cautions we will discuss the circumstances with you and take into account how you have lived your life since, when assessing your suitability to adopt.

If you have birth children of any age or have previously adopted you already have fantastic experience of being a parent. It is important that your own children are included within the adoption approval process and their views and feelings are key to making a successful placement.

We advise parents who have birth children that any child placed within their family should usually be the youngest. We require that there is an age gap of at least two years between your birth child/ren and any child adopted into your family. This is so that parents can meet each child's individual needs, and help minimise their desire to compete for your attention. There is considerable research suggesting that a placement is more likely to be successful if the child or children joining the family are not too close in age to the child or children already there.

It is ideal that all prospective adopters have experience caring for children. This can be gained through your extended family or from your wider community. 

Can I adopt?

Take our quiz! Dash through the 13 quick questions in our adoption quiz to find out whether you can adopt.

Meet our adopters

Families who have already been through the adoption process tell you what it was like for them.