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10 steps to adoptionWhen you first decide to adopt, you begin a journey to discover if it’s the right choice for you and what kind of parent you might be.

On average, the adoption process takes less than eight months with Together for Adoption. However, every application to adopt is treated individually.

Our adoption process

There are a number of stages that you will go through during your journey.

Pre-stage 1

Information gathering (no time limit)

  • Initial response from Adoption Service
  • Information sharing – by telephone call, visit to your home/Information evening
  • Registration of interest completed and returned to Adoption Service.
Stage 1

Initial checks (two months)

  • Statutory checks, medicals, suitability
  • Working agreement (expectations of yourselves and the adoption service)
  • Self-evaluation (your own learning)
  • Attending ‘Preparation’ groups.

At the end of Stage 1 we’ll let you know if you’re approved to move on to Stage 2 of the process. If you do wish to continue your application to adopt, you’ll need to let us know formally - don’t worry, we’ll help you to get the right paperwork back to us.

You can spend up to 6 months (but no longer) making your decision on whether to take the next step. We know there’s a lot to think about, so we understand if you need to take a break from the process right now.

Stage 2

Training and assessment (four months)

  • Assessment working agreement - Commonly known as the ‘stage one plan’ or ‘stage two plan’ which outlines the expectations of the prospective adopter and the agency
  • Home study – Visits by a social worker to your home
  • PAR (Prospective Adopter Report) approval completion - A report completed by the social worker following the stage two assessment
  • Panel IRM (Independent Review Mechanism) - This can be used by the prospective adopter if the agency does not agree to their approval as suitable adopters
  • Further training and learning.

The Adoption Panel decision

At the end of Stage 2 we’ll present you with the prospective adopter report (PAR) - you’ll have 5 working days to get back to us with any comments you would like to add before it’s submitted to an Adoption Panel. You’ll also be invited to attend the Adoption Panel meeting if you wish to.

The panel will decide whether you are suitable to become an adoptive parent, their recommendation will then be passed on to the Agency Decision Maker for Children’s Services. If the panel recommends your approval, you’ll find out on the same day but it will be perhaps a week before you receive the final decision. If you’re not recommended as ‘suitable to adopt’ you’ll be given a written response explaining why.

Stage 3

Which child?

Once you have been approved we just need to bring you together with the right child.

  • Matching the right child with the right family
  • Adoption panel recommendation.
Stage 4

Settling in

  • Initial meetings between you, the child and their foster parent
  • Home visits
  • Moving in
  • Adoption placement plan
  • Application for legal adoption.