Once the agency gets your application it will do the following:
Invite you to a series of preparation classes - these are normally held locally and give advice on the effect adoption may have on you.
Arrange for a social worker to visit you on several occasions to carry out an assessment - this is to check you’re suitable to become an adoptive parent.
Arrange a police check - you will not be allowed to adopt if you, or an adult member of your family, have been convicted of a serious offence, eg against a child.
Ask you to provide the names of 3 referees who will give you a personal reference. One of your referees can be a relative.
Arrange for you to have a full medical examination.
The social worker will send the assessment report to an independent adoption panel. This is a group of people who are experienced in adoption.
The panel will make a recommendation to the adoption agency based on your assessment.
You can go along to ask questions and answer any questions the panel has.
The adoption panel will send their recommendation to the agency, which will then decide whether you’re suitable to adopt a child.
If you can adopt a child
Once your agency decides you can adopt, they’ll begin the process of finding a child for you to adopt.
Your agency will either refer you to the Adoption Register for England and Wales immediately, or 3 months after approval to adopt if they’re not actively considering a local match with a child.
The Register holds details of children across England and Wales who need adopting.
If an adoption agency says you can’t adopt
If you disagree with an adoption agency’s decision, you can either:
- challenge their decision by writing to them
- apply to the Independent Review Mechanism, which will look into your case
You can also contact other adoption agencies - but you’ll have to start the process again.