What to expect from the adoption process

A step-by-step guide

Here’s a breakdown of the adoption process. This may vary depending on your agency but these are the likely steps involved.

Step 1 Preliminary enquiry

Make contact with a local adoption team through your council, a charity or other adoption organisations. They will ask you a few questions to establish whether you are eligible, then you’re invited to an information open day/evening.

Step 2 Initial interview

Within a couple of months. You’ll discuss why you want to adopt, the challenges it brings and factors that may affect your application. You’ll be able to ask any questions you have and identify things you may need to do to support your application.

Step 3 Formal application

A form you complete and send in. The agency then do police and medical checks and follow up on your work and personal references.

Step 4 Preparation groups

Workshops and training courses. Either over a series of weekends or a week-long intensive. You’ll meet other people applying to adopt and learn about adoption and the issues adopted children are likely to come with. You’ll also meet your assessment social worker.

Step 5 Home study and assessments

You and your family undertake a variety of activities, discussions and tasks designed to prepare and assess you. A report is then compiled outlining your skills and future training needs.

Step 6 Adoption panel and approval

You go to a panel of assessors. Your social worker presents your home study report and your written observations. Therecould be issues flagged up that need to be addressed that may have been missed. Generally speaking this tends to be a formality. A decision is made and you will be informed within 24 hours. There may be specifications on age groups or single children or sibling groups.

Step 7 After approval

Your social worker will meet with you to discuss the child/ren you are interested in adopting.

Step 8 Linking and matching

You will get a new social worker whose job it is to match you with a child. Once a match is found, panel decides whether to approve it. You will have a period of getting to know the child through regular visits and will learn all about his/her background. This may take weeks or months depending on the child’s needs.

Step 9 Adoption order

Application to court to make the adoption legal.

Step 10 Ongoing support

Your adoption team remain available to give advice/support.

Generally speaking the adoption process takes between six months to one year – eight months being typical, so long as there are no issues.

This article was originally published in issue 1 of We Are Family magazine. To get your copy click here: issue 1

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