Children who become available for adoption are normally aged 0-11 years. Those aged four and above are often considered ‘harder to place’. There are lots of single toddlers and children and groups of brothers and sisters who need parents who will adopt them and provide a safe, supportive family. There are very few healthy babies available for adoption.
Children are referred to us by Local Authorities from all over the UK, giving our adopters a wide range of children from which to find a potential match. We have great relationships with Local Authorities who know how well-prepared and supported our adopters are.
We try to match the child’s ethnicity, cultural and religious heritage with their adoptive family. For this reason, we need white, black, Asian and mixed heritage adopters who practise all faiths or have no faith.
If you have any questions about how we match our approved adopters with children, please contact us.
- Why do children become available for adoption?
- As a sibling group
- Older children
- Children with disabilities
- Fostering for adoption
- Types of adoption we can’t help with
Why do children become available for adoption?
Children become available for adoption either because their birth parents request adoption or, more often, because the child is removed from the birth parents by a court order on the grounds of neglect or abuse. In these cases, attempts will have been made to rehabilitate the child to the birth family but these will sadly have failed. The birth family may have experienced a variety of problems including alcohol or drug dependency, domestic violence, poverty, learning difficulties or mental/physical ill health.
Some parents have been abused or neglected in their own childhood or the child may have been born with a severe disability and the parents feel unable to cope. These factors can culminate in the child’s needs being ignored or unmet and may form the background for abuse and neglect. Adoption for children in these circumstances will allow them to move to a stable, supportive and loving home.
At Adoption Focus we understand the children’s needs and what they have experienced in their young lives. We provide lifelong support, which starts with helping you to develop the skills you already have and gain confidence to become the parents you want to be and that the children need.
As a sibling group
There are two ways in which sibling groups can be adopted.
Lots of children who need adoption also need a home with their brother and sister. Whenever possible, siblings will be kept together in an adoption placement. We specialise in preparing prospective parents to adopt sibling groups of two or three children.
Sometimes a baby cannot stay with birth parents because social workers or health professionals know that they have had difficulties caring for the baby's older sibling, who may have been adopted. When this happens the adoptive parents of the older child may wish to adopt the baby. In some cases, the baby will enter independent foster care and in others, the adoptive parents of the baby's sibling may wish to consider the fostering to adopt process - when the baby is placed with the parents of the adopted sibling as a fostering arrangement prior to the adoption plan being settled. This provides early permanence for the baby, which means that they will be fostered by their sibling's adoptive parents.
The majority of adoptions are of children between birth and seven years old but a child can be adopted up to the age of 18. Sadly, many children who are more than four years old do not get a new family because many adopters either want a child to be as young as possible, or don’t know that older children also need adopters. Older children can be very successfully adopted. We provide specialist training to prepare prospective adopters for older children when adoption is considered the best option for them.
Children with disabilities
Some children may have additional needs and a supportive and stable home can help them flourish.
The child may have mild or severe physical disabilities, which may affect their mobility, intellectual development and ability to achieve full independence as an adult. Or they may be reaching all their developmental milestones, but are delayed in all or certain aspects such as their speech and language. Some children may need extra help in the classroom or they might need the specialist facilities provided by a special school.
There may be incomplete medical background information on the child’s birth family. In some cases, we don't know who the birth father is and this could have implications for the child’s health and identity. Some children have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse or neglect, or their older siblings have been abused or neglected.
All children available for adoption have experienced loss and separation from their birth family. They may have limited capacity to trust adults based on their previous experiences and express their anger and sadness about their past through a variety of behaviours.
With Adoption Focus, you'll get the best preparation possible if you choose to adopt a child with special needs. Children thrive with our adopters and we provide access to our outstanding lifelong adoption support, which begins the moment you register with us and lasts a lifetime.
Fostering for adoption
We provide an alternative approach to adoption through the Triangle Project.
Through this initiative, we are able offer the child-focused fostering for adoption pathway in which carers are approved as both adopters and foster carers, allowing placements to start at the earliest possible opportunity.
Types of adoption we can’t help with
We are often asked about adopting children outside the UK and adoption of stepchildren. We are only registered for domestic adoptions (i.e. children born in the UK), and those wishing to adopt their step-child must contact their Local Authority.
Adopting children from outside the UK
Some people decide that they want to adopt from another country. There are strict protocols surrounding this, both in this country and in any country that permits their children to be adopted by people from abroad. Prospective parents who wish to take this route of adoption will need to be properly assessed and undergo a number of checks and medicals. There is a fee to be approved for an inter-country adoption, and there will be other costs involved relating to the country the child comes from, including travel costs.
Adoption Focus does not offer inter-country adoptions. If you want to find out more about this, we advise you to contact IAC, the largest inter-country adoption agency in the UK.
Adopting my stepchildren
Step parent adoption is sometimes considered when an adult enters into a relationship with another adult, and becomes step parent to their partner’s child. If they want to become the child’s legal parent and share parental responsibility for the child with their partner, they may decide to adopt. In this instance, the local authority will need to be notified. Arrangements are made to assess the situation and a report is then prepared for the Court to review. The views of the absent parent and other family members such as grandparents must be considered and reported.
If you are considering adopting your stepchildren, please contact the adoption team at your local authority.