What is the adoption process?
That journey is made together with our social workers and our Adoption team staff, whose job it is to make sure that prospective adopters are the best possible parents for the children in need of a home.
Like all journeys, the adoption process has its hills to climb and bumps in the road, but most prospective adopters find the journey helps them know themselves and become better parents.
You can read about The Adopter’s Journey, which has been put together by one of our successful adoptive parents. Another, very useful resource is First4Adoption’s Adoption Process Map, which visually describes what happens. Or, you can read about our adoption process here.
Are there any legal requirements to adopt?
You must be over 21 years old Prospective adopters/carers can be single, married, in a civil partnership or an unmarried couple. You need to have lived in Britain for one year before making an application to the court for an Adoption Order.
You can adopt as a single person or as a couple, whether married or not. Same sex couples can also adopt jointly.
What are the costs?
We do not charge for an adoption assessment, if you are adopting a child from the UK. All adopters have to pay a standard fee for their medical examination. You will be advised of the recommended rate for this at the time.
What if I have any health concerns?
If you are aware of any health problem you should discuss this with us at an early stage. Your health is important, as is a healthy lifestyle. You would not wish a child to experience further loss, and neither would we.
Any health issues will be discussed with your GP and/or specialist by our agency medical advisor, to clarify any implications for adopting.
What if I smoke?
We follow advice from BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) and the Department of Health regarding smoking and passive smoking. We would not place a child under five years old or a child with a medical condition such as asthma in a household where adults smoke. We would therefore encourage anyone who smokes to take active steps to give up for at least six months before applying to adopt, as this is likely to benefit you and your child.
Will there be any ongoing contact with the birth family post adoption?
Nearly all children will need to keep in contact after adoption with their birthparents, brothers and sisters and for the vast majority this will mean an annual exchange of letters with news from each family, but some children will benefit from an occasional direct meeting. The child’s best interests will determine how contact should be arranged.
I'm LGBT. Does that make it harder for me to adopt?
No! Staff from our dedicated family placement team have worked with the LGBT community in Slough for over a decade and have extensive experience with gay and lesbian adoptive and foster families. They understand the importance of treating all applicants with respect and sensitivity and have a strong track record in matching children with adoptive parents and foster carers.
We have answered some frequently asked questions to help dispel some common myths about fostering and/or adopting as an LGBT person. Names have been changed to protect the identity of adopters, foster carers and their children.
One of the benefits we offer to LGBT foster carers/adopters is free membership of New Family Social. If you want to learn more about the opportunities available please contact us, call us on freephone 0800 073 0291, on local rate 01753 875133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I have a criminal conviction?
Applications will not be considered if a prospective adopter/carers or an adult member of their household has been convicted or cautioned in respect of a violent offence or offence against a child. Other convictions will be considered on an individual basis and will depend upon many factors such as how long ago the offence happened, what the circumstances were, any mitigating factors etc. Additional evidence and information will be required in order to undertake a risk assessment before an application can be progressed.
What if I don't own my own home?
That doesn’t matter. however, you will need to have a secure tenancy, spare room and provide evidence that you are domiciled in the UK.
Are there any support agencies I could contact?
There are a number of support agencies that can be contacted for information and advice. These are listed on the left hand side of the page.
Can you help me trace my birth family?
Adopted adults may want to have access to their birth/adoption records. If Berkshire holds these records, this can be done on their behalf and the relevant information shared with them. They may also want support in contacting and meeting birth relatives, this is also something that can be provided.
Relatives of adopted adults can approach the adoption service and ask for support in making contact with their adopted relatives. Any contact with adopted adults would be made by a social worker on the birth relatives behalf and information would only be shared with the birth relative with the permission of the adopted adult. Again if support is needed with a meeting between the adopted adult and both relative this can also be provided.