There are seven steps to becoming an adoptive parent

Discover if adoption is for you

When you contact us we will tell you about the children who need new families. We will explain the process which gets children adopted by people like you. We'll give you lots of information and meet you at one of our information events or visit you in your home. We will answer your questions about adoption

Registration and checks

After you have the information you can register your interest in adoption with us. This is the start of Stage One. We will give you a social worker who will take you through the process. We will take up a number of references and checks. You will arrange an adoption medical with your GP. Stage One takes eight weeks to complete.

Preparation

We will provide training for you to attend with other people who have already adopted. They will talk to you about being an adoptive family. You will find ways of spending time with children so that you can get ready for being a parent.

Assessment and more learning

When your checks and references are returned to us you have up to six months decide whether you want to be assessed and we can start Stage Two. Stage two takes four months to complete. You and your social worker agree a plan of meetings to complete the assessment. We provide further training to prepare you for adoptive parenting and suggest books and programmes you should look at. Your social worker will complete a report. We will look at the types of children you would be suited for.

Approval to Adopt

Your assessment report and information about your reference checks is presented to the Adoption Focus Adoption Panel. This panel is a group of people who know about adoption and about the children who need new families. It also includes our medical advisor who looks at your medical report. You attend the Adoption Panel with your social worker. The panel makes a recommendation about approving you as suitable to adopt. The decision about your approval is then made by the Adoption Focus Decision Maker. Once you are approved you can become the adoptive parents of children who need new families.

Finding your Child

There are currently around 3000 children waiting for adopters. Adoption Focus works with social workers from Local Authorities who are finding new families for the children who are waiting. As soon as you are approved as an adopter your social worker will help us and you to know which children are the right ones for you. We will tell the children's social workers about you. We plan the linking process and the placement with the children's social workers and you.

Supporting your family

All new families need help and support as they adjust to their life together. Your social worker will visit you regularly to offer support and advice for as long as you need it. We have coffee mornings and social events where you can meet other adopters and their children. We have training and workshops which can help you as your children grow up. We are happy to hear from adoptive families in the years ahead.