Adoption and Who Can Apply

Author note: Laws are different depending on where you live. This guide is not meant to be a legal reference, but instead, educational. Adoption is a legal process where a child becomes a member of a new family, gaining one or two new parents.

Adoption Orders 

An adoption order indicates that the birth parents no longer have parental responsibilities and rights to the child and is issued by the court.  Once the court has made the adoption order, these rights and responsibilities are transferred to the adoptive parents and the child essentially becomes a member of the adoptive family. The adopted child can then take the adoptive family’s last name and is entitled to the same rights and privileges as the biological children, including the right of inheritance. 

But to get the adoption orders, the following conditions have to be satisfied; 

  • The child has to be below 18 when the application for adoption is made
  • The child must not be- or has never been married or in a civil partnership
  • Both birth parents must give their consent for the adoption

If the birth parents or guardian cannot be found or is incapable of giving consent or if the child’s welfare would be at risk of the adoption was delayed, then the court may give the adoption order without the consent of the birth parents. For more information, it’s best to take advice from adoption solicitors and lawyers.

Who Can Apply to Adopt a Child?

You can apply to adopt a child if you meet one of the following requirements; 

  • You are single irrespective of sexual orientation
  • You are a partner of the parent of the child to be adopted
  • You are a married couple
  • You are civil partners
  • You are an unmarried couple (same-sex or different sex) living in a stable home environment.

The court will consider your application based on whether you are able to meet the child’s needs and it matters little whether you own a home or are out of work. It is worth noting that all adult members in the household will be required to undergo a police check as part of the application process. 

How Long Does it Take?

The time it takes to complete the adoption process will vary from one case to another. It can take just over 8 months for the adoption agency to complete its assessment of your suitability to adopt. After that, it can take another few weeks before you are matched with a child. Here you will find further resources.

The child will then go and lives with you and you can then decide if you want to apply for an adoption order. The child must, however, have lived with you for more than 10 weeks before you can apply for the order. Once the adoption order is granted, you will have officially adopted the child and assumed all the parental rights and responsibilities for the child. 

No matter how you approach your specific situation, consult with child custody attorneys if you have any questions.