Who can adopt?

See if you fulfil the criteria and request an information pack

Guidelines for prospective adopters

  • You must be at least 21 years old and mature enough to manage the additional demands of adoptive parenting
  • There is no upper age limit but you must be fit and well enough to be able to parent a child actively through to adulthood
  • You must agree to certain checks
  • If you are adopting as a couple, we would usually expect you to have been living together for at least three years
  • You also need to be able to have at least 12 months off work after a child is placed
  • If anyone in your household smokes, we would not place a child under 5 or any child with breathing difficulties with you
  • If you have recently had a major loss or change in your life, we recommend a period of recovery before we take things further
  • If you do not have children already in your family, you should have some experience of children, or be willing to get some
  • If you are having infertility treatment, it will need to be completed, including a recovery period, before we take things further
  • We recommend a two year gap between an existing child and a new child coming into the family

What is the difference between fostering and adopting?

  • Foster care offers a home for children and young people usually on a temporary basis while their parents are unable to look after them
  • Children who cannot return home may need a longer placement or a permanent foster family, but we continue to have some legal responsibility
  • In contrast, adoption is for life, and anyone who adopts a child takes on all the rights and responsibilities that the birth parent had, and becomes the legal parent

More about fostering a child in Norfolk

These meetings, which are run several times a year on Wednesdays at 7pm, are an opportunity to find out more, ask any questions you may have and meet some experienced adopters.

Contact us to find out exact times and venues of these events.

Good adopters are ordinary people who are good at some things and not at others.  Many have faced difficulties in their lives and we find that people who have worked through problems are often stronger for the experience.

However, children are individuals so the right adopter for one child may be the wrong adopter for another.  This is why we are always looking for a wide range of new families.  Some children thrive in a busy family with brothers or sisters while others may need the special attention of being an only child.

People from all sorts of different backgrounds, occupations and walks of life can make good adopters.  We do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, sexuality or disability and we welcome applications from single parents, same sex couples and ethnic minority groups.

What you need to be able to offer

  • Provide a safe, stable and loving family life
  • Have plenty of time and energy to spare
  • Be firm sometimes, but also be willing to negotiate and compromise
  • Be comfortable about keeping in touch with birth parents, brothers and sisters or other important people from the past
  • Take the lead in talking to your child about their background so they can feel positive about who they are and where they have come from
  • Cope with the unexpected
  • Stay calm and positive when things are not going according to plan
  • Ask for help when you need it

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