The children

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.

Register for an online information event to find out more about more about children in need of 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?

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.

Older children

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.

Read Sarah & Martin's blog about adopting an older child.

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.

Find out more about fostering for adoption

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.