To make an adoption legal, you need to apply for an adoption court order. This gives you parental rights and responsibilities for the child.
The child must have lived with you for at least 10 weeks before you apply.
Once the order has been granted:
- the adoption becomes permanent
- you get an adoption certificate - this will show the child’s new name and replaces the original birth certificate
- the child has the same rights as if they were your own birth child, eg the right of inheritance
The order also takes away parental responsibility from:
- the child’s birth parent(s)
- anyone else who has parental responsibility for the child
How to apply
Most applications for adoption orders are done at a Family Court.
You need to send the court a completed application for an adoption order - Form A58.
Adopting a child you’ve been fostering
You need to be reassessed and approved as adoptive parents if you want to adopt the child you’ve been fostering.