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Adoption for Gay & Lesbian Families


What is Adoption?

  • Adoption is a way of providing a new family for a child when living with their own family is not possible. For many children, adoption may be their only hope of experiencing secure family life. All parental rights and responsibilities for the child are transferred to the new Adoptive Family.
  • Adoption is an important matter which means a child can only be adopted by a Court Order. The court has to be convinced that it is in the best interests of the child.
  • Once an adoption order has been granted and the time limit for lodging an appeal has expired, it cannot be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances.
  • Once a child has been adopted, they lose all legal connections with their birth parents and becomes a member of the new family.

Who is Eligible to Adopt?

  • If you are over 21 years old and you can provide a permanent, stable and caring home, you can be considered for adoption. It doesn't matter whether you are married or single, in or out of work, or whatever your race, religion or sexuality. Same-sex couples have been able to adopt a child jointly since 2002.
  • The key question an adoption agency will ask is: can you provide a stable home for a child until adulthood and beyond? All sorts of people can make a success of adoption. Couples can apply to adopt through a local authority or an adoption agency, and applications can be made within any local authority not just the one you live in.
  • Although most regions are keen to find lesbian and gay adoptive parents for children, the adoption process can be lengthy and grueling. However it is worth bearing in mind that many children available for adoption have had traumatic backgrounds and often bring challenging behavior as a result.

Thinking about being an Adoptive Parent?

It is important to find out all the information required in relation to the adoptive process and what is involved, speak to your family and those members of the family who the adoptive process will impact on. If adoption is right for you, contact your local authority or private agencies to start the application process.

You will be allocated a social worker which will guide you through every step of the way, providing information advice and guidance and assistance on what evidence you will need to pass the selection criteria and assessment stages. You will be required to attend a series of meetings and support sessions as part of the selection process and show and active involvement in the training courses which will be run also.

What kind of Children Needs Adopting?

Most people who wish to adopt have a perception that they will adopt a baby. This is not always the case, with babies being very few available for adoption. However you are more likely to adopt a baby through your local authority rather than through a private agency.

Children looking to be adopted come from a wide variety of backgrounds and needs. Some may be older children, others may be sibling groups who need to stay together. Some children may have special needs or a disability, others may belong to an ethnic group and will need families of the same ethnic background.

What is involved with the Adoption Process?

  • A social worker will be allocated to the adopters to start to build a relationship and help with the assessment process
  • Complete required assessment and application paperwork
  • Carry out background checks including medical/criminal history
  • Collate information and create a comprehensive report
  • Present information to the adoption panel to make a decision
  • Adoption panel including local authority staff ensure appropriate decisions are made
  • Adoption panel present decision and findings based on information relayed on whether prospective parents are suitable to adopt and recommend appropriate matching
  • Once a child moves to your family you can apply to the court to adopt, but only after the child has been living with you for 10 weeks

What is the Difference between Adoption and Fostering?

  • Adoption is a legal process set out by the courts where a child becomes a full member of the new family.
  • Fostering is an arrangement that allows a child to live with a family until circumstances enable the child to return home, live independently or be placed for adoption.
  • Foster carers are provided with an allowance towards costs of keeping the child and receive support and training from the local authority with whom they share responsibility for the child.

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Gay & Lesbian Parents