The Adoption Process

Discover the adoption process steps to becoming an adoptive parent to make your family whole 

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How to start the adoption process

We know deciding to adopt a child is a huge deal, that is why we will be here to support you at each stage in your journey. You can complete the government’s two-stage UK adoption assessment process within 6 months. However, it can sometimes take longer but we will go at a pace that is led by you. We want to make sure you are prepared for everything involved, and that you have the time and availability to commit to the preparation training, assessment visits and adoption panel, as well as considering any major life events coming up for you in the near future. It is a big life change, but it will be worth it when you welcome a child into your family, forever. 

The first step – send an enquiry

Getting in touch to express your interest in adoption might feel daunting, but it is an opportunity to discover more about adopting a child and if it is right for you. There is no pressure to commit to anything. Simply send us an enquiry and our friendly adoption team will get in touch and answer any questions you have. You can do this by completing our online contact form, or alternatively, you can call us on 0808 281 1401 or email us at You will also be sent an information pack and invited to attend one of our online information events at this stage. 

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Register your interest 

If after the initial chat you wish to proceed with the adoption process, you can request a Registration of Interest form (ROI) to complete. Your ROI will be reviewed by a Team Manager at Adopters for Adoption who will contact you to let you know if your application has been accepted. It’s important to note that you can only be registered with one adoption agency at a time, so it’s always best to take some time to research so you’re confident you’re moving forward with the agency that’s right for you. 

The adoption assessment process

Stage one

If your ROI is accepted, you can begin stage one of the adoption assessment process, which takes approximately two months to complete. The focus of stage one is on gathering factual information about you, your life and your reasons for wanting to adopt. This includes statutory checks and references as well as a medical assessment with your own personal GP and a DBS check. Any significant ex-partners will also be contacted for a reference. As an agency that finds families for children, we have a legal duty to obtain checks and references to ascertain that there are no safeguarding concerns. All checks and references are outlined in the information pack.

In this stage, you will also need to attend the three-day ‘Preparation to Adopt’ training course, which is held virtually, and will give you the opportunity to meet other families who are in the process of adopting. To help you further understand the rewards and challenges of adopting, there is also an online training course to complete called ‘First Steps’, which you can access here.

At the end of stage one, your social worker will submit a report to the agency. A decision will be made on whether to invite you to proceed to stage two of the process. It is at this point in the adoption assessment process where you can choose to take up to a six-month break without having to start the process again.

Stage two

If you accept our invitation to proceed, this stage of the assessment process will require a significant amount of your time and attention, and will take approximately four months to complete. You will meet with your dedicated social worker around 5-7 times and they will work closely with you to explore your life experiences, family background, relationships, current circumstances, lifestyle and motivations to adopt.

There will be a further two-day ‘Preparation to Adopt’ training course, as well as training for your friends and family to learn how best to support you. At this stage, your social worker will also meet with your family and friends to obtain references and may also contact any significant ex-partners for a reference. 

All of the information your social worker gathers will form a report called the Prospective Adopters Report (PAR), which is a lot like a life story book, and will be presented to the adoption panel.  

Adoption Panel

Once complete, your PAR will be presented to the adoption panel for consideration. Their role is to give a recommendation on your suitability to adopt and present this to our Agency Decision Maker (ADM). The ADM makes the final decision on whether to approve you as an adopter.

You will be invited to attend panel, along with your social worker, where the panel members will discuss the contents of your PAR with you and will ask you any relevant questions. The adoption panel is made up of individuals with experience of adoption or working with children.

Once you are approved, the adoption process is complete, and it is time to move on to family finding.  




Family finding

Once you are an approved adopter, we will start looking for a child or children who would fit well with you and your family. You will meet with our dedicated adoption placements manager, also known as our family finder, who will help you to find and learn more about the children who need adopting. Our adoption placements manager will work with you and your social worker, throughout the family finding and matching process.

There are a few ways we can help you find the right child for you and your family: 

  • Link Maker – an online placement service where you can view the profiles of children waiting to be adopted. 
  • Activity days – an opportunity to meet children waiting to be adopted in a relaxed environment. 
  • Exchange days – a day to meet with children’s social workers to discuss the profiles of children waiting to be adopted. 

All children waiting for adoption have a social worker and they will also want to make sure that you and your family are right for this child. If all parties think there is a good match, there will be a matching panel followed by introductions and then finally, the child will move into your home. After 10 weeks, you can apply for an adoption order to legally become the child’s parent. An adoption order is permanent so custody cannot be regained by the child’s birth parents.  

Find out more about searching and matching

Adoption support

Once you have adopted a child and gained legal parental rights, the support from Adopters for Adoption doesn’t stop. The level of post-adoption support needed will be agreed upon during family finding. Family support is provided from the day your child moves into your home and remains available for as long as you want or need it. It is designed to help you and your family get to know each other and form close bonds. Your social worker and the child’s social worker will visit regularly so you won’t be left to go it alone until you feel ready to. 

Our door is always open and support will be available to you whenever you need it. 

Learn more about adoption support


At Adopters for Adoption, we will provide you with free comprehensive training, during stages one and two of the assessment process, specifically designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a successful adoptive parent. Within the training, we cover a range of important topics, including understanding the background of adopted children, loss, separation, grief, trauma, attachment, safeguarding and contact.

In addition to the above training, we also offer supplementary courses on identity, life story work, contact and existing children. We recognize that having a strong support network is crucial to the success of adoptive families, which is why we also provide a complimentary training course for your friends and family, so they can better support you and your adopted child.

How long does the adoption process take?

The adoption process can be completed within six months from your application being accepted to being approved as an adopter. However, if this feels too fast, we can move at a pace that is right for you. You are also able to take a break of up to six months between stage one and stage two. If you take a break for any longer than six months between the two stages then you would need to start the adoption process again.

Following your approval as an adopter you will begin the family finding process. It is not possible to put a time-frame on this part of the process as there are a number of factors that can affect how quickly you find and match with a child such as the age range you are considering and how many approved adopters are currently family finding.  There are, however, a number of children that typically wait longer to be adopted and therefore may not take as long to match with.

Adoption process timeline

Adoption process timeline


Get in Touch

If you would like to find out more information or if you have any questions, please get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to help. Click here to complete our online enquiry form, email us at or call us on 0800 587 7791.

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Whether you are ready to start your journey or just want to chat to a member of our team, we are here to talk.

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