Myth Busting

Here are some of the questions we get asked most often


  • Do I have to pay to adopt a child?

    There is no charge to be assessed as an adopter in the UK. However, adopters will need to pay for a medical assessment and may need to pay for any overseas checks, if you have lived outside of the UK. There may also be additional costs for travel and accommodation during the matching process.

  • How long does it take to adopt a child?

    The Adoption process can be completed within approximately six months from your application being accepted to being approved as an adopter. However, this can be longer. The adoption process is split into two stages and you are able to take a break in between the two stages of up to six months.

    After approval you will begin family finding which can vary in the time it takes as there are a number of factors that can affect how quickly you find and are matched with a child, including if you are considering children who wait longer.

  • Can I adopt as a single parent?

    Yes, you can adopt as a single parent whether you already have children or not. Visit our page can a single parent adopt a child for more information on adopting as a single parent.

  • Can I adopt if I have children?

    You can adopt if you have children. Whether they are biological, adopted, step-children or being a special guardian or foster carer for a child (of any age) it will certainly not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up. However, there will need to be an age gap of at least two years between your youngest child and an adopted child, with the adopted child being the youngest in the family.

    If you are currently pregnant, you would need to wait until your child is at least two years old before applying to adopt.

    Children over 18 will require a DBS check and local authority checks, as will any other adult member of your household.

  • Can I adopt if I have a convictions?

    Yes, however if you or a member or your household have a criminal conviction or caution for offences against children or for serious sexual offences you will not be able to adopt. Other criminal offences will not automatically exclude you but will be taken into consideration during the assessment process, so please be open with us from the start.

    We understand everyone has a past and this may not reflect who they are today, so please be open and honest with us about any convictions you have.

  • Can I adopt if I have pets?

    Yes, you can adopt if you have pets. We recognise the value for children in being raised in a family that has pets.

    We would need to carry out a pet assessment in order to make sure there are no health, safety or compatibility issues.

    You would also need to consider whether you could make arrangements to re-home your pet in the unlikely event that your pet and adopted child were not compatible.

  • Can I adopt if I smoke or use e-cigarettes?

    Yes, but if you are a smoker, you would not be able to adopt a child under five or a child with complex needs. We’d also need to explore the potential health risks for any child that you adopt.

    If you smoke e-cigarettes or have given up smoking for at least six months before applying to adopt, you can adopt a child under the age of five. However, it’s important to note that e-cigarettes should not be used in front of children.

  • Can I adopt if I am having fertility treatment/trying for a baby?

    No, you would need to have stopped fertility treatment/trying for a baby if you are applying to adopt. If a pregnancy happened during the adoption process you would be unable to continue as you would need to focus on the pregnancy and it would be difficult for an adopted child to join a family with a baby. For this reason, you would also be expected to prevent a pregnancy during the process by using contraception, for example.

    Whilst we have no hard and fast rules, as some agencies do about how long you need to wait between the end of IVF treatment and pursuing adoption, we would need to be sure that you have emotionally come to terms with the end of that process. Everyone is different and people will process their feelings in a variety of ways. Some people will be ready and able to speak about adoption; others will not yet have got to the point of accepting that they will not be having a birth child. Fertility treatment would need to have stopped before being taken forward to the adoption process.

  • Can I adopt if I have a disability or health problem?

    Yes, having a disability or health problem will not automatically rule you out, as long as you can meet the needs of a child through to adulthood. You will have a medical assessment during stage one to assess your health and suitability to adopt.

  • Can I adopt if I have mental health issues?

    Yes, if you have experienced mental health problems you will not automatically be ruled out. We would discuss this further with you and consider how the emotional impact of adopting a child might affect your mental health.

    If you have used medication, counselling or therapies this could show strength in your ability to manage mental health problems. During the assessment process we will obtain references for any emotional or mental health services you have accessed since the age of 18.

  • Can I adopt if I’m from the LGBTQ+ community?

    Yes, you can. We welcome applications from anyone who identifies as a part of the LGBTQ+ community whether you are single or in a relationship. In 2022, 1 in 4 adoptions through Adopters for Adoption were to same-sex couples.

  • Do I need training to adopt?

    As part of the adoption process you will take part in the ‘Preparation to Adopt’ training. This is free training provided by Adopters for Adoption providing you with key parenting skills as well as the unique skills required to parent an adopted child who has experienced loss, separation and trauma.

  • Do I need experience/qualifications to adopt?

    The more experience with children you can gain, the better prepared you will be to adopt a child. Experience can include having sole care of children of friends or family (e.g. overnight) or volunteering at a nursery or similar setting. If you are worried you do not have enough experience, get in touch with our team who will be happy to help you with this.

    You do not need any qualifications as we will provide you with all the training and support you need to adopt a child.

  • Do I need to own my home to adopt?

    No, you do not need to own your home to adopt. You can adopt if you rent privately or through your local council or housing association or if you own your home. This does not need to be a certain size either, you just need to have a spare room for your adopted child.

    You will need to evidence written permission from your landlord, local authority or housing association to adopt a child.

  • Can I choose the age of child I want to adopt?

    Yes, you can specify the age range of the children you wish to consider for adoption. However, if you already have children, the adopted child would need to be the youngest in the family by at least a two-year age gap.

    It is also important to bear in mind that many people considering adoption hope to adopt a baby so there is usually a lot of interest in babies and children under 3.

  • Do I get to choose the child I adopt?

    Yes, during the family finding process our agency family finder and your social worker will help you to find a suitable match for your family. You are also able to search for children yourself on LinkMaker and you will always have the final say in which child you adopt.

  • Do I need to have contact with the birth parents?

    Over the years, we have seen the detrimental effects that keeping adoption a secret and having no contact with birth parents can have on adopted children. This is why, in modern adoption, children are told of their adoption and their family history to help them form a strong sense of identity and build relationships with their adoptive family.

    All adopted children should have a life story book that helps them to understand who they are and make sense of the adoption. They may also have letters, photographs and keepsakes from their birth family. A contact plan is put together based around the child’s need. This will usually be letterbox contact with birth parents and may be face to face with siblings or other relatives. There may also be an opportunity for you to meet with the birth parents before the adoption, should you wish to.

  • How do I decide which agency to go with?

    There are many adoption agencies in the UK, so it can be difficult to decide which agency to go with. The first step would be to see which agencies cover the area in which you live. You can do this through Google or by using an adoption agency finder tool like the one on First 4 Adoption’s website.

    We would then recommend speaking to a few agencies and attending their information events to see if they could be a good fit for you before making a final decision.

    Adopters for Adoption is a national voluntary adoption agency (VAA) founded in 2014 and set up by people with first-hand experience of adoption to improve the way adopters are recruited, prepared, assessed and supported.

  • Can I register with more than one agency?

    No, you can only register with one adoption agency at any one time. We would recommend speaking to a few different agencies and attending their information events before deciding which one would be the best fit for you.

    If you have already registered with any agency and wish to move to a different agency, you can do this by withdrawing your application. You will need to specify your involvement with any other adoption agency on your registration of interest form.

  • Can I change agencies?

    Yes, once you have registered with an agency you can withdraw during the adoption process if you wish to. However, we would always recommend discussing any concerns you have with your current agency to see if they can be resolved first.

    If you do decide to withdraw and apply with a new agency, you will need to specify your involvement with any other adoption agencies on your registration of interest form.

  • Do I need a certain income to adopt?

    First and foremost, no one should be precluded from being considered as an adopter because of their income.

    However, we understand how stressful financial difficulties can be, therefore all prospective adopters have to be financially solvent, and possess sufficient money management (budgeting) skills to ensure that any child placed with them is going to have their needs met without causing undue pressure on your budget.

  • Am I too old to adopt?

    Whilst there is a minimum age of 21, there is no maximum age to adopt. However, consideration will be given to the likelihood that you will be able to see a child through to adulthood and the age difference between yourself and the child. For example, younger children are more likely to be placed with younger parents.

  • Do I need to own my home to adopt?

    No, you do not need to own your home to adopt. You can adopt if you rent privately or through your local council or housing association or if you own your home.

    This does not need to be a certain size either, you just need to have a spare room for your adopted child. Adopted children cannot share a bedroom with any existing children in the home, and adopted siblings may not always be able to share a bedroom.

    You will need to evidence written permission from your landlord, local authority or housing association to adopt a child.

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