National Adoption Week: The Adoption Process

Posted on October 8, 2020
Adoption Process

People decide to adopt for many different reasons. Adopting a child is a big step. It is also one that can enrich your life forever – and give a stable, loving family to a child who needs one. You may decide to adopt for many different reasons. You may have experienced infertility. You may be single, LGBTQ+ or older. You may be considering adoption for other reasons, or you may be an experienced parent looking to grow your family through adoption or a stepparent.

There are children all over the country who need a lifelong family. They may be young or already at school; an individual or have siblings; from a range of ethnic, cultural and faith backgrounds or they may live with a disability or health needs. Whatever the situation, adoption can provide a loving family.

You may be able to adopt a child if you’re aged 21 or over (there’s no upper age limit) and either:

  • single
  • married
  • in a civil partnership
  • an unmarried couple (same-sex and opposite-sex)
  • the partner of the child’s parent

Not all countries have adoption or formalised arrangements for gaining legal rights over a child not born to you, but we do in the UK. It is also possible in this country for some children to be removed from birth families and adopted outside of the family with the Court dispensing with the birth parent/s consent, but this is not as common as many people think despite what you may read in the popular press.

There are children all over the country looking for loving homes.

From younger children to older children, single children to sibling groups, no matter their background, all they need is an adoptive family to change their life.

Over 78,000 children were in the care of Local Authorities in 2019 and many of them will be subject of care plans for adoption.

You can potentially have placed with you a newborn through a process known as concurrent planning. The Child will be subject of proceedings after birth and placed with foster to adopt prospective parents whilst proceedings in relation to the parents are resolved.

To adopt you need to apply through an adoption agency. Most adoption agencies are part of Local Authority children’s services, some are voluntary organisations which you can find through the Consortium of Voluntary Agencies.

Adoption applications are usually straightforward but sometimes complex. When it becomes complex and advice and legal representation is needed it is best given by practitioners who are properly accredited and don’t dabble in areas of Law in which they have no specialist training or experience.

You should look for a Solicitor who is a Child Law panel member and a list of current membership is available on the Law Society website.

At Jefferies, we have 2 Child Law panel members, Anne-Marie Rainsford, Head of Department and Stella Young. Adoption can be relatively straightforward but sometimes can become highly complex. We have considerable experience in assisting when cases have become more complex than was originally thought they may be, and we are here to help.

Read more: Find out more about National Adoption Week.

Please do contact us if you would like further guidance and advice in relation to the adoption process. Contact our Family Solicitors on 01702 443 480 or email

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