The adoption process

The adoption process

Learn about the two-stage process to becoming a prospective adopter and how you are matched with a child.


image of book You’re already gathering information and trying to find out whether life as an adoptive parent is right for you. There are many books available and it’s also a good idea at this stage to contact a few adoption agencies, even if you’re not ready to apply. Most run information events explaining their approach to adoption and often giving you the opportunity to meet adopters and asking questions you may have. Most people find this a very useful way of helping them choose which adoption agency to proceed with.

Finding the right adoption agency

Two-stage Adopter Approval Process

When you have found an agency you are comfortable with, you will begin the formal two stage process of becoming an approved adopter with your chosen agency.

The Government introduced a two-stage process to speed up the process and ensure that the right adopters are found for the children waiting as quickly as possible. Those who have completed the two-month first stage have been adjudged to be likely to be approved as adopters before entering the four-month training and assessment phase of Stage Two.

Stage 1: Basic checks

Adoption process stage 1
Stage 1 is centred on your initial eligibility to adopt and includes things like references, a DBS check and a medical. This stage should take no longer than 2 months.

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Stage 2: Training and assessment

This is a four-month stage known as the “Home Study”, where a social worker will work with you and your family in more depth, assessing your strengths before presenting it in a Prospective Adopter’s Report to the Adoption Panel (PAR).

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Matching you with a child

Once you have been approved as an adopter, your adoption agency will work with neighbouring local authorities and if necessary, search nationally to find the right child for you. Your social worker will discuss with you the suitability of children and a matching panel makes a recommendation to the agency’s decision maker to make the final decision.

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Becoming a family

From 10 weeks of your child moving in you can apply to become their legal parent. As time passes by you will get to know your child more and more and become more attuned to their needs. Your adoption agency will be on hand to help you with this adjustment and provide any additional support you may need.