Steps To Adoption
Anyone who wishes to adopt must be at least 21 years of age. There is no upper limit on age for adopting a child; you just have to be able to handle the responsibilities of being a parent until the child is an adult. If you and/or a partner are interested in finding out how to adopt, the first step you should take is to research and select an adoption agency.
There are several adoption resources you can explore, which you can do online, including the British Association for Adopting and Fostering, BAAF, or Adoption UK. The latter resource is run by adoptive parents, and they have resources available for every stage of the adoption process. These organisations can answer any questions or concerns you may have.
During the research process, you may wish to contact a law firm that can help you through the legalities of adoption. Check http://www.hanne.co.uk/ to get more information on retaining an attorney who is well-versed in child care law or family law issues. If you do come across a problem at any stage of the adoption process, they can help you get past them to create your family.
Searching For An Agency
Even before you may be ready to adopt, you should contact an agency or two in order to explore your options. They will usually hold informational meetings for prospective parents in which they explain more about the adoption process. It is also a good opportunity to meet with experienced adoptive parents and ask questions about their adoption journey. They may be able to help allay any fears that you may have about adoption.
You should consider contacting several agencies to find the best one suited to your needs. Some may discourage you at first, but that should not stop you from considering adoption to build your family. Speak with several agencies to find one that will encourage your desire to be a parent. Once you find an agency you want to work with, you will then fill out an adoption application.
Be careful choosing an agency to work with, because you can only put in one application for adoption. You will want to select an agency you feel that you can trust and has the best interests of both you and the child in mind. Some agencies may have you meet with one of their social workers before you fill out an application. This is a good time to feel out the agency to see if you can work with them and trust them throughout the adoption process.
The agency can choose to turn you away before you fill out an application, which will usually happen after you meet with their social worker. If you are turned away from the agency, make note of the reasons they gave you and search for another agency. Just because you are rejected by one agency doesn’t mean you cannot adopt, as most agencies have their own priorities when it comes to adoptive parents.
The First Stage
Once you find an agency you can work with, you will fill out the adoption application, which registers your interest in becoming an adoptive parent. There is no standard form for this in England, but it will be used to collect basic information such as the names of the prospective parents, occupations, ages, income, health statuses and a list of three references. In addition, they will gather information about the type of child that you wish to adopt.
After they accept your application, the agency will do reference checks, speak with your doctor, and do a police check. This information will help them determine your fitness for being a parent and they will make a decision on your application. You will be informed of their decision, and if you are turned down, you will receive a letter of explanation. However, if not, you will move on to the next stage.
The Second Stage
The second stage in the adoption process takes about four months and it begins the process of putting a child into your home. Your parenting skills will be assessed, a home study will be conducted, and you will receive training in becoming a parent. An important part of this stage is the preparation meetings that you will attend.
These meetings will be with other prospective adoptive parents and you will learn about the challenges of adopting. You and your partner will also be trained in ways to deal with children who may have been abused or neglected. It is also a time in which the agency’s social worker will get to know you and your family by doing home studies. He or she will spend time with you, get to know you and then recommend whether you should be moved to the next stage or not.
The Third Stage
If the agency approves you for adoption, you will be referred to the adoption register so they can start the process of finding a suitable child for you. This step should not take more than three months, and then the search for your child begins. If, for some reason, you are turned down for adoption, you can appeal the decision; then it would be a good time to consult with your attorney about your options.
However, if everything goes to plan, you will be matched with a child, meet him or her, and start visiting to see if he or she is the child for you and you are the correct parents for him or her. The adoption process can be stressful, but the help of an experienced attorney can make it easier for you.