Who Can Adopt A Child
Who Can Adopt A Child
David Holmes (Chief Executive) gives expert video advice on: Can anyone adopt children?; Do I have to be British to adopt in the UK?; Can I adopt my step child? and more...
Can anyone adopt children?
Yes. There are no blanket bans there at all, so you can adopt a child if you are married couple, if you're an unmarried couple, if you are a gay couple, if you are a single individual, if you're a gay man, if you're lesbian, or if you are in a civil partnership. Anybody is entitled to make an application for adoption but there is no right to adopt. You still have to go through the same assessment process as anyone else who wants to adopt a child.
What sort of potential adoptive parents are agencies looking for?
They're looking for people who really want to adopt and who have a great deal to offer a child. So they're looking for people who are healthy, energetic, and for people who really want to parent a child, who have a lot to offer a child, or who are open to adopting not just perhaps babies but older children, children in sibling groups, disabled children, and older children. So basically, people who've got a really open idea of what they could offer and who are very clear that adoption fundamentally is a service for children. There is no right to adopt.
Do you have to be under a certain age to adopt?
There are no rules, and no blanket bounds on who can adopt. There are no set age limits. There is a practice that has come out, both through long work and adoption, and it's better to have no more than a 45 year age gap between the age of the child being adopted and the age of the person adopting them. And that's really as much about ensuring that the people who are adopting the children have the health and the vitality to look after the child. But, of course, there are exceptions. There may be people who are more than 50 years older than the child, who'd be able to offer that child so much and who are very fit and healthy. But in practice, about 45 years is normal.
Are people with criminal convictions allowed to adopt?
Yes, you can adopt if you have a criminal conviction. But, what's really important is what the criminal conviction is for. For example, if you have a criminal conviction for harming a child, then it's extremely unlikely that you would ever be allowed to adopt a child. If the criminal conviction is something that has nothing to do with your capacity to parent a child, then as long as you're open and honest about that criminal conviction, and as long as it is explored through the assessment process, it is highly unlikely to stop your application to adopt.
Do I have to be British to adopt in the UK?
No you don't, what is important is that your permanent home is in the UK.
Am I able to adopt whilst still undertaking IVF treatment?
The practice is that it's very unlikely that you would be assessed as an adopter while you are still going through IVF treatment. What the practice normally is, would be to finish the IVF treatment, so that there aren't any complications during the process. For example, what would happen if you had been assessed; and as an adopter, you had been matched with a child and then, suddenly, you fell pregnant through IVF? It's really important, I think, to separate out those issues so that we're not causing problems further down the line.
Are families with other children able to adopt?
Yes. That's really quite an interesting issue to think through, because what we're really looking for in adoption is people who have a great deal to offer a child. Prior parenting experience may be something that's really useful.
Are people able to adopt children from different racial backgrounds?
What we've learned through adoption practice over many years is that it's a really good idea to try and match adopters with children who have the same ethnic background. That's because we really know that when children grow up, that if they have a different racial background from their parents, that's just another thing that the child may have to deal with. It's something that would mark them out as different and we know that these children have complicated and often very difficult backgrounds. So it is an issue, and that it's really good to try and avoid if possible. However, there will be some adopters who are a different background from the child who will have so much to offer a child that they may very well be the very best match for that child. But what we really need is for agencies to recruit a very wide selection of adopters, so that there is a real choice, so that we can match adopters and children with the same background.
Can I adopt my step child?
Yes you can. It's perfectly possible to adopt step children. Many people actually don't adopt their step children, but you can. You would go through the same process of adopting a step child as you would for adopting a child in other circumstances.