Adoption across the UK
Adoption in all four countries of the UK is divided into stages. Once an interested potential adopter has completed an initial registration-of-interest form with an agency then the process kicks off from there. This is usually done with their nearest local agency. You can find your nearest local LGBT+ friendly agency that’s joined New Family Social here.
Stage 1 - Checks, Forms & Preparation
This is adopter-led and is usually completed within two months of signing off an registration of interest form. Stage 1 is about completing basic background checks and references. You’ll be asked to undergo a medical examination with your GP and a criminal records check.
All potential adopters complete a self-assessment form at this stage that provides an overview of their life to date, outlining where they’ve lived, key moments in their life, etc. As part of stage one all potential adopters are expected to attend preparation training.
At the end of Stage 1 your agency will contact you to let you know whether you’re accepted on to Stage 2.
Stage 2 - Assessment & Panel
This stage is agency-led and will be completed within four months, starting immediately after Stage 1 has concluded. In this stage a social worker will work with you and your family, assessing your strengths before presenting it in a report to the Adoption Panel.
This stage is a more in-depth assessment of the information gathered in Stage 1 and includes face-to-face and telephone interviews with referees.
Potential adopters are expected to attend further preparation training and attend the Adoption Panel to answer questions based on the information gathered in your social worker’s report.
Stage 3 - Family Finding & Placement
Unlike in previous stages there is no requirement for Stage 3 to be completed in a set time. In this stage your adoption agency works with local authorities to find the right child for you.
If your agency is delivering services on behalf of your local authority they may ask that you wait for a few months before looking beyond the region’s boundaries for potential matches. They will discuss the suitability of children with you and a matching panel makes the final decision.
Once a successful match has been made a social worker will support you and your children as you get to know each other, start living together and become a family.
Differences between the Countries
There are slight differences between the countries and the specifics of each country can be found in the links below this table.
Adoption in England - For more information on adopting in England visit the First4Adoption website.
Adoption in Scotland - For more detail visit Scotland’s Adoption Register.
Adoption in Wales - You can find out the detail at the Welsh National Adoption Service.
Adoption in Northern Ireland - In Northern Ireland the law only recently changed to allow same-sex couples to adopt, although LGBT+ single people were able to do so. The process is similar to that in England, with some slight differences. For more information visit the NI Direct website.