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The adoption process

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Initial enquiry

If you're thinking about applying to adopt, the first thing that you will need to do is to complete an enquiry form (opens new window).

If you're not able to complete the form for any reason, please call us on 01603 638343. Once you have submitted your enquiry, we'll send you an information pack within five working days.

Information event

We'll send you an invite to an information event where you'll learn more about adoption and the process of becoming an adopter.

If you decide that you want to continue with your application, we'll ask for your permission to carry out the checks that are required, further on in the adoption process.

Registration of Interest Form (ROIF)

During your application process, we'll set up a secure email link with you. Through this, you can send forms and personal information securely.

You'll be able to complete the application forms electronically at your own pace. After you have submitted your forms, we may call you if we need additional information.

Decision to proceed

We'll make a decision to proceed to Stage 1 of the adoption process with you. If we decide not to proceed, we'll give you clear reasons why.

Stage 1 (usually lasts a two month period)

This stage usually lasts about two months and we'll allocate a social worker to support you through the process. During this process:

  • We'll ask you to complete a reflective workbook
  • We'll start background checks and references
  • You'll need to arrange a medical check from your GP
  • We'll arrange a home visit

Home visit

The home visit will help us to reach a decision about your application and whether we can take your offer forward. It usually lasts about two to three hours.

We tell you the outcome of the visit as soon as possible and we'll discuss any issues that may have arisen.

Adoption training

We'll ask you to attend adoption training days, if we recommend that you proceed after the home visit. Information will be sent to you and provisional dates for the training will be arranged.

The training covers everything and is invaluable in preparing you. There are a range of sessions on different issues, including:

  • Learning about the backgrounds of children 
  • Understanding the impact of trauma on children's development
  • 'Early permanence', also known as 'fostering for adoption'
  • How the assessment and matching process works
  • Contact with the birth family
  • Short and longer term support needs of adoption children

You must attend all four days of training. If you are in a couple, both of you must attend.

During the adoption process you may be sent forms via secure email. If you need help with accessing forms electronically, we can post paper forms.

Stage 2

This stage usually lasts about four months.

Home visits

We'll allocate a social worker to:

  • Discuss the process, agree an assessment plan and sign a Stage 2 agreement.
  • Visit you at home a number of times to complete your home study and assessment, and visit your personal referees. On average there are six to eight sessions, which are planned within normal office hours.
  • Write up a prospective adopter's report (PAR) and share it with you. You'll have five days to comment on it.

If you have children, whether at home or living elsewhere, they will be involved in the assessment process. Adult children will also be contacted. 

Adoption panel

The adoption panel will:

  • Read your report
  • Meet with you and your social worker
  • Let you know their recommendation on the same day. This will be followed up in writing within two weeks
  • Share their recommendation with the agency decision maker, who will make a final decision regarding your approval

Panel recommendations

If the panel thinks you are suitable, over the next six months we'll:

  • Add your names to the Linkmaker register
  • Develop a matching agreement with you
  • Match you with children we feel suit you and the skills you have
  • Link you with children, following matching
  • Support you before, during and after children are placed.
  • Support you to make your application to legally adopt your child at court
  • Give you information about post adoption services and support after your child is legally adopted

If the panel don't feel able to make a recommendation for approval, you will:

  • Be given clear written reasons to explain the panel's decision
  • Have 40 days to request a review

You can get further advice and information from First4Adoption website.

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