Should I adopt?

You’ll also have to think about whether you can accept them as they are with their backgrounds, personality and family history. If you are in a relationship or planning to be in one, you have to think about how stable it is and also look at the people that you’ll be able to depend on for support when you need it.

Having good support from a partner, a friend or a network of people is a vital ingredient in successful placements. You’ll also have to look back on your own upbringing and its impact on you and how you will parent in the future. You need to be aware of your strengths and shortcomings and be ready to work with them.

The most important factor is whether you have the commitment to care for children knowing that the future may be very challenging, exciting, uncertain and occasionally difficult. If you can do this, you may feel that it has all been worthwhile.

The Rewards

Your rewards will be evident. You will see your child grow in many ways as they become attached and feel secure in your family. Enabling your children to maintain positive links with people from
their past will also allow them to develop into adulthood as ‘whole’ people.

There are rewards also for your family, friends and wider community. They will have the chance to get to know your child and value their individual personality.

What are attitudes like to same-sex partnerships?

Agencies always look at the stability and quality of all relationships. Being in a same-sex relationship does not exclude you.

Is there an age limit?

Adopters must be 21 years of age or over. Although there is no upper age limit, many agencies would not usually expect there to be more than about a 45 year age gap between the child and their adoptive parents. However, any age gap will be considered in the context of the needs of the individual child.

I am single – is this a problem?

No, definitely not. Some children thrive in a one-to-one relationship.

My partner has children from a previous relationship who don’t live here. Does this matter?

No. Your children’s feelings will be considered during the preparation wherever they live.

I/we already have children – isn’t adoption just for childless couples?

Definitely not. If you have children you probably already possess many of the skills needed. An additional child in your family can be a very rewarding experience for all concerned.

I am on a low income. That means I can’t afford an extra child doesn’t it?

No, not necessarily. If you choose to adopt, you will almost certainly be entitled to financial assistance. If you foster a child, an allowance is always paid, to help with living costs.

I have some health problems (including HIV) – does this matter?

You will be asked to have a medical examination and the results will be assessed by a medical adviser. You need to be healthy and expect to stay healthy. Any questions about your health will be discussed with you. Confidentiality is always maintained.

I have a disability. Will this exclude me?

That depends on your circumstances. The agency will assess its likely impact on your ability to care for a child, now and through to adulthood and beyond.

My partner and I are from different ethnic backgrounds – does this matter?

Definitely not. Many of the children available for adoption are of mixed parentage and agencies would welcome your enquiry.

I have been in trouble with the police. How will this be viewed?

Police references are obtained for all applicants. Each case is considered separately and having a conviction does not automatically exclude you. However, you will not be considered if you have committed offences against children.

Does working full-time mean I won’t be considered?

Not necessarily, though agencies would always want to ensure that any children placed with you feel secure at all times. Some children need a full time carer especially in the early days of placement. Others can cope with carefully selected child-care facilities. Additionally, if you are an employee, you will be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay for up to 39 weeks and Statutory Adoption Leave for up to 52 weeks. If you are adopting jointly, your partner can take paid paternity leave as well.

So what sort of people can adopt?

Anybody can do it - as long as you care about children, have patience and understanding, stability in your life, a support network and no reason to suspect that your good health won’t continue well into the child’s future. Oh, and finally, a good sense of humour is a must!