What to Consider Before Adopting a Child

In the UK, thousands of children every year go into adoption. In 2022, the figure was 2,950, down from a high of 5,360 in 2015. If you’re considering giving a home to a child, and adopting a child in the UK, then there are a number of factors you’ll want to first consider.


As you might imagine, adoption involves a fairly rigorous legal process, designed to safeguard the welfare of the child. Children who go through this process will need to be under eighteen at the time that the application is filed. What’s more, the birth parents will need to consent, unless they’re incapable of providing consent.

The law here provides a number of exceptions and room for flexibility. To avoid unnecessary stress and disappointment, you’ll want to seek the services of a family solicitor with specific experience in this area of law.


There is no specific time frame attached to finding when it comes to adopting a child in the UK. In most cases, we should expect the process to unfold over at least six months. Sometimes, it can take much longer than that. It’s therefore a good idea to prepare yourself for a long wait.

In England and Wales, there are four stages to worry about. The first evaluates your fitness to be a parent, via a series of background checks. The second provides training to the would-be adoptive parts. The third matches you with a child, with the help of your agency and local authorities. Finally, the child will move into your home, and, with the help of a social worker, you’ll get to know them.

If you need financial support, then there are organisations in place to provide it, like the Adoption Support Fund.


Adoption agencies tend to fall into two categories. There are Local Authorities (or Regional Authorities, which cover a larger area) and Independent Adoption Agencies (IAAs). The salient difference here is that the former will tend to match you with children who are being looked after by that particular agency, while the latter will look all over the country for a suitable match.

For best results, you’ll want to explore your options. Get a feel for several agencies before you decide which best matches your needs.

Are you ready?

Adopting a child in the UK can be tremendously rewarding. But it can also pose significant emotional and psychological challenges. Before you go through with this process, you’ll want to be certain that you’ll be able to cope. Children who find themselves up for adoption are disproportionately likely to come from troubled backgrounds, and you’ll need to be able to provide the nurturing environment they need. If you can’t do this, then it’s better to step aside so that someone else can.


See some more of my parenting-related posts here


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