Frequently Asked Questions

Our Social Worker, Alyssa, breaks down some of the common misconceptions surrounding adoption in the film below. We have also pulled together an FAQ's section at the bottom of this page. We hope these are helpful but please feel free to get in touch with us if there’s a question we haven’t answered. 

Click any question to reveal the answer

Children who, for whatever reason, cannot live with their birth parents/family need the security, permanency and love of a new family. Adoption is the best way of doing this. Full legal Parental Responsibility transfers over to adoptive parents and away from the birth parents at the point of a court given Adoption Order, and cannot be revoked. 

Anyone over the age of 21 can be considered as an adopter, regardless of marital status, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income or whether you have parenting experience or not.

There is no such thing as an ‘ideal’ adoptive family and when we are looking for families we are interested in what you can offer a child and how you can best fulfil their individual needs.

We are looking for families from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds who can offer a permanent loving home and a secure environment to a child.

When a child needs to be placed outside of their birth family, most of the time they will initially go into foster care. Foster Carers provide a family home for a child whilst decisions are made about the child’s long term future, and the expectation is that, where possible, work will be done with the birth family to enable the child to return home. However if it is not deemed appropriate that the child goes back to their birth family, decisions will be made about the future placement of that child, and what official court order that would come under. 

These orders include 

1. Care Orders (which means the Parental Responsibility stays with the Local Authority) and the child will stay living with Foster Carers who work either for the Local Authority or a private fostering agency, and the child will have a Social Worker, and independent reviews until they leave care at 18; 

2. Special Guardianship Orders (where Parental Responsibility is shared between the Special Guardian(s) and birth parents) where either a birth family member, friend of the family or Foster Carer can apply to have permanent responsibility for the child, thus removing them from the Care system; or

3.  Adoption Order – where the child is placed with a totally new family of trained adopters and parental responsibility is removed from the birth parents and passed to the adopters permanently. The child is no longer then within the care system and his/her adoptive family have full legal rights and responsibilities for them.

Therefore Foster Carers have responsibility for a child whilst they remain in the legal care of the Local Authority

No, unfortunately you cannot apply unless you or your partner are a UK resident. Your permanent home must be in the UK at the time of assessment.

It is a great asset to have had experience of looking after children when applying to adopt so having children of your own will certainly not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up.

Consideration will, however, be given to the age gap between your own children and the age of the child(ren) you wish to adopt.

Any birth children in the family will need to be at least two years old. This is because an adopted child needs to be the youngest in the family, often by a couple of years.

There is no upper age limit when determining who can adopt. However the assessment will take into account your physical ability to look after a child and the child’s needs. In turn this may have a bearing on the age of the child you will have to consider.

Being disabled will not automatically exclude anyone from becoming an adopter and it is recognised that people with disabilities are able to provide a very loving home for a child.

Your general health or any disability you may have must still enable you to meet the challenges our children may bring. Your health will be assessed on this basis.

If you have a medical condition, please let us know as early as possible.

If you have been convicted of serious offences such as offences against children, murder, serious sexual offences or serious fraud then you will not be able to adopt.

With the exception of these specified offences, a criminal record will not necessarily rule you out. The key is to be totally honest in your application.

Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks will be undertaken during the application process.

You can adopt whether you rent or own your own home.

Your home must be secure and in a suitable condition for children to live in and have the space to accommodate a child.

Married or unmarried couples (including same-sex), couples in civil partnerships and single people can apply to adopt.

The stability and permanency of any relationship you are in is our only concern.

Adopting children from abroad is a very complex issue. In international law, there are certain requirements that need to be in place for adopting a child in one country and bringing them to another. This is referred to as The Hague Convention. The Convention provides a framework for the process of intercountry adoptions, which is aimed at protecting the best interests of the child to prevent the abduction, sale, or the trafficking of children.

Turkey is a convention country, however due to the current situation there children who are separated from their parents cannot be assumed to be orphans and / or in need of adoption. Until the fate of a child's parents or other close relatives can be verified, each separated child should be considered as still having living relatives or legal guardians and, therefore, not in need of adoption. The same would apply to Syria – however notwithstanding the current situation there, it is not a convention country. Therefore you would not be able to adopt a child from there and bring them to the UK, as adoptions from Syria are not recognised in UK law.

If you are interested in adoption more generally, then you might want to consider domestic adoption. On our website you will find further information and be able to book onto one of our open events if you wish.

Click here to find out more about steps to adopting domestically through Adoption Tees Valley 

Click here to look at our calendar of information events 

Click here to download our information pack 

If you would prefer to consider adopting a child from abroad, then further information on intercountry adoption is available here - https://www.gov.uk/child-adoption/adopting-a-child-from-overseas   

Yes, you can. Your financial status and employment circumstances will be taken into consideration, but having a lower income or being unemployed won’t automatically rule you out, as long as you can provide a loving and secure home for a child. You don’t need to own your home, but you do need to be settled in secure accommodation which is suitable for a child.

Absolutely. Living with extended family is not a barrier to adopting, in fact it can be a positive as it often means there is a stronger support network available to you and your child.

We would include your extended family in the assessment process and they would need to attend family training.

Yes! We have been supporting LGBTQ+ couples and individuals to adopt for many years.  Adoption is open to people who can meet the needs of children waiting for adoptive families, and we welcome enquiries from all different types of adopters, from across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity.

It is advisable for adoptive parents to be reasonably fluent in English so that they can advocate for a child once that child is placed and so that the concepts of adopting a child can be fully understood. We would recommend that you attend one of the readily available English courses prior to enquiring about adoption.

Yes. Adopters can be of all faiths or none at all. Research has shown that faith and its inherent altruism and care for the vulnerable, is a great motivator for people to adopt.

Children who need to be placed for adoption come from many different cultures, backgrounds and religions and it is good if the family they are placed with reflects that. That means that adopters are welcomed if they have a faith or are from a variety of cultural and/or religious backgrounds.

Conditions such as depression or anxiety are not necessarily a barrier to adoption depending on your own personal history. However, it will be taken into consideration when you make your application, to ensure that you are able to meet the needs of a child and this will need to be reviewed by the agency medical advisor.

To be assessed to become an adopter, we require that you have been smoke-free for 6 months if you smoke cigarettes.

If you vape, we will explore this with you during the assessment process.