When you have found an agency that you are comfortable with it’s time to formally register your interest to become an adoptive parent and undergo the first round of checks, now known as Stage One. This stage should take no longer than two months.
Most agencies will offer you an informal meeting with a social worker before you formally register. This is a great opportunity to get a feel for each other and will hopefully flag up any potential issues before you get too far into the process. What if I’m turned away?
Registration of Interest
Following this initial meeting you will decide if you want to formally begin the process by submitting your Registration of Interest with your chosen agency. You will start by agreeing a Prospective Adopter Plan with the agency. This will set out both your own and the agency’s responsibilities and expectations for this stage of the process.
Checks and References
The agency will then collect basic factual information from you and your household such as:
- names and dates of birth, occupation, income.
- three referees the agency can contact, two of which must not be related to you
- basic information on the kinds of child you are open to adopting
You will be required to undergo a medical with your GP which will then be considered by the agency’s Medical Adviser. This is simply to ensure that you are fit enough to cope with the rigours of parenting. Any medical issues that arise from this report will be discussed with you, and sometimes further information will be sought.
Criminal Background Check
Adoption agencies will also need you to complete criminal background check (DBS) is simply to confirm that you have no convictions or cautions that would prevent you from being an adoptive parent. It’s important that you share anything that might come up with your adoption agency as they can then work through any potential issues with you.
End of Stage One decision
Once all this information has been collected your agency we will make a decision, after discussion with you, as to whether to take your application on to Stage Two of the approval process. If the agency decides that you are unsuitable to adopt at the end of Stage One they must provide in writing a clear explanation of the reasons why. Should you wish to complain about this decision you can make a complaint using their local complaints procedure.
Take a break
You can choose, if you wish, to take a break of no longer than six months between Stage One and Stage Two of the process. Sometimes an adoption agency may recommend a break, to give time to resolve any housing, employment or other issues that may arise.