Who can adopt
We have children from all kinds of backgrounds and are continually looking for people who reflect that diversity. There are no hard and fast rules about who can adopt. You can be:
- Single, married, divorced or living together
- In a same sex relationship
- From any ethnic or religious background
- A homeowner or living in rented accommodation
- Employed or on benefits
- Already a parent
- Living with disabilities
- Over 21. There is no upper age limit as long as you are reasonably healthy.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Can you provide love, time and commitment to a child?
- Can you show empathy for a child who may never have experienced the security of feeling safe and loved?
- Can you be patient and flexible, to supportively adapt to whatever unique challenges may come from the child’s circumstances?
- Do you have the capacity to learn about adoption and parenting?
- Do you have security and stability in your own life?
If you believe the answer to all those questions is yes, then there is a good chance you could be an adoptive parent.
Who can't adopt
- If you are aged under 21, you cannot legally adopt in the UK.
- You must be legally resident in the UK for at least 12 months.
- If you or a member or your household have a criminal conviction or caution for offences against children or for serious sexual offences you will not be able to adopt. Other criminal offences will not automatically exclude you but will be taken into consideration during the assessment process.
Adopting a child you know
Sometimes step-parents want to adopt their new husband or wife’s children from the previous marriage or relationship. If you want to do this you must notify your local authority of your intention to do so.
There are many factors that have to be assessed which you should consider including; how adoption will affect other family members, including grandparents, contact issues and inheritance.
If the ex-partner, who has parental responsibility, says that he or she will never agree to the adoption, the Court will do what is in the best interests of the child, and has the power to dispense with the absent birth parent’s agreement subject to certain criteria.
We have leaflets available that can advise you on the possibilities for adopting step-children, children who are related to you, children who have been privately fostered by you, and other similar circumstances. Please contact the fostering team local to you, to request leaflets.
If the child you are interested in adopting is looked after by Nottinghamshire County Council, please contact the child's social worker.
Adopting a child from overseas
Often people hear about the distress of children in other countries and want to offer to adopt one of them. Removing a child from their country of birth, their culture and extended family is not always in their best interest, however a child from overseas can be adopted if:
- they can’t be cared for in a safe environment in their own country
- the adoption would be in their best interests
- the adopter has been assessed as eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by an adoption agency in the UK.
Anyone in Nottinghamshire wanting to adopt from abroad should contact the Doncaster Adoption and Family Welfare Society on tel: 01302 349 909. You may also find it helpful to visit the Intercountry Adoption Centre's website.