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The adoption journey

Deciding to become an adoptive parent is the first step on an exciting and life-changing journey.

The next step is to get in touch for a chat with our staff. If you live in or around the East Midlands area, you can apply to adopt with any of the agencies in the Adoption East Midlands group.

We will invite you to come along to any of our information events to meet us and experienced adoptive parents, so we can tell you more about adoption and answer any questions you have.

Once you have decided which agency you would like to take the adoption journey with, they will arrange with you an initial meeting with a Social Worker.  If you are ready to begin, you will be asked to complete a Registration of Interest Form, which is an application to enter the assessment process to become an adoptive parent.

The assessment process is in two stages. The time it takes for each application to be completed can vary due to individual circumstances. We aim for around six months, but you can choose a slower pace if you wish.

During stage one we will do some essential paperwork and checks, including requesting references from family and friends, the local authority and from the Disclosure and Barring Service (criminal record check).

We will also do a health and safety assessment of your home and you will need to undertake a health assessment with your GP, which is also reviewed by the Agency Medical Advisor.

There will be training sessions and preparation groups for you to gain a realistic insight on what it takes to become an adoptive parent. You will also be encouraged to read and complete e-learning.

Based on the information gathered during this stage, a decision will be made as to whether you are suitable to progress to stage two.

During stage two, further checks are carried out and interviews with personal referees.

You will complete further preparation and training courses and continue with self-study. We will support you to develop the confidence and skills you need to be an adoptive parent.

Your social worker will complete a series of home visits to get to know you and your family. They will discuss with you your own childhood experiences, current circumstances, motivation, experience of children, understanding of needs of adopted children and types of children you feel able to consider adopting.

Information gathered during this stage is used to complete a Prospective Adopters Report which is presented to the adoption panel and shared with you for your comments and contribution. You are also encouraged to attend the panel with your social worker.

The panel make a recommendation to a senior manager in the agency who will make a decision based on the all the information gathered throughout the process, to decide if you can become an adoptive parent.

If your application is approved, we will begin the process of finding the right adopter for a child or children. The search can take time and you may need to consider a number of children. We will offer you information about every child you consider including their health, education and any specific support needs.

When a match is agreed, a report is prepared to present to the matching panel and you are invited to attend with your social worker. The matching panel then makes a recommendation to the agency decision maker, who has the final say on approving the match.

Once approved, you can begin the process of getting to know each other. This is usually through an increasing number of visits so you can learn all about each other and start to develop a bond before the child moves in to your home. After moving in, we will continue to support you with regular visits to help ensure everyone settles into your new family life. 

You can apply for an Adoption Order to become the child’s legal parent after you’ve lived together for a minimum of 10 weeks, and when you feel ready to take on full parental responsibility. Once the Adoption Order is granted, it cannot be reversed or challenged. You will receive an adoption certificate and a new birth certificate, which will replace the child’s original birth certificate.

The legal part of the adoption journey ends here but you will just be at the start of a new life together. Support for families continues to be available should you wish to access it.