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The steps to adoption

Adoption is a lifelong commitment, so it's important that we help you prepare, and support you well for this life changing step.

The step by step process is:

  • Step 1: Exploration
  • Step 2: Contact us
  • Step 3: Information evening
  • Step 4: Home visit
  • Step 5: Stage 1 assessment
  • Step 6: Stage 2 assessment
  • Step 7: Going to the Adoption Panel with your Adoption Worker
  • Step 8: Working together to identify the right match
  • Step 9: Moving in and becoming a family

Information about each of these steps is detailed on the page below.

Step 1: Exploration

Your adoption journey starts with exploration of what the road ahead entails.

Use the Adoption section of this website to find the information you need, as well as reading our Adoption Information Booklet (PDF. 1.4 MB).

You can also contact us to ask for a copy to be sent to you.

Step 2: Contact us

Get in touch with us to book a telephone conversation with an Adoption Worker.

This pre-arranged telephone call will allow you to find out more, discuss what your family has to offer, and determine whether or not it's the right time for you to proceed. If it's not the right time, we'll advise you on how you can prepare to be ready in the future.

We generally offer these calls on Tuesday (10am, 11am and 12pm) and Thursdays (2pm, 3pm and 4pm) every week.

Contact us

Step 3: Information evening

After your telephone call, if it's the right time for you to proceed then you'll be invited to attend an information evening. Here you'll be able to meet team members and learning more about the adoption process and the children who need adopting. You'll also be able to learn about the experiences of successful adopters and have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

If you're part of a couple then you'll both need to attend the information evening. Please also bear in mind that it's not suitable for you to bring children to the session, so you'll need to ensure that you have childcare arrangements in place.

At the end of the evening you'll be given the opportunity to request a home visit if you'd like to proceed to the next step. The team manager will allocate a worker to contact you to arrange this visit within 1 week of you attending the information evening.

Step 4: Home visit

During the home visit you'll be asked questions about many different things such as your lifestyle, family, employment, health and reasons for wanting to adopt.

It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but please don't worry. It's important that we gain as much information as possible, and always ask that you're open and honest with us. The Adoption Worker visiting you will also look around your house and give you the opportunity to talk through any queries or concerns you may have.

After the visit, the Adoption Worker will write a report and make a recommendation, which is then reviewed by the team manager. If it's agreed that you can proceed to an assessment, you'll then be sent a Registration of Interest form so you can make a formal application to the agency.

Step 5: Stage 1 assessment

This stage usually takes around 2 months to complete.

The Register of Interest form gives us information about your family and permission to take up references and checks (including police checks). You'll also complete a medical with your GP.

You'll be allocated an Adoption Worker to support you throughout this stage. You'll be asked to complete a workbook, undertake childcare experience, and attend a very comprehensive preparation course. By this time, we'll be in a position to decide whether you're ready to continue to the next stage.

Step 6: Stage 2 assessment

Stage 2 is a 4 month assessment process where your Adoption Worker will make a series of visits to your home. 

They will get to know you and help you think about what you have to offer as an adoptive parent, and the kind of child you would enjoy parenting.

Together you'll prepare the report that goes to the Adoption Panel.

Step 7: Going to the Adoption Panel with your Adoption Worker

The independent Adoption Panel will make a judgment about your suitability to adopt based on the report presented to them, and their discussion with you and your Adoption Worker.

They'll make a recommendation to the Adoption Agency, and a senior member of the Children and Young People's Services will decide whether you should become an approved adopter.


Step 8: Working together to identify the right match

We'll work with you to identify the right match both for you and the child.

We also work with neighbouring adoption agencies to match children with families.

The Adoption Panel considers the match, its approval, and the support needed to ensure its success.

Step 9: Moving in and becoming a family

After a planned programme of introduction, the child will move in with you. Adoption Workers will continue to visit and support you until the Court makes the Adoption Order.

Following on from the Adoption Order, we'll still be here if you need us via our post adoption support services.

Get in touch

If you have any queries about adoption, or are interested in starting your journey as an adoptive parent, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Contact us



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