People want to adopt children for numerous reasons – it may be because they can’t biologically have children but still wish to be parents, equally it may be that they want to give a child a better life or that they wish to look after children after their parents have died and they want to ensure they are properly taken care of. What can be frustrating, however, is the legal process around adoption and it is very important to be aware of this before you begin to apply.
While not strictly a legal issue this is one to be aware of – many agencies will have a policy regarding parents applying for adoption after trying to use fertility treatments. This will vary depending on the individual agency but they will usually ask for a period of several months after the treatment has ended before someone who attempted infertility treatments can apply for an adoption.
Another thing to be aware of is that agencies are required to assess the health of potential parents. Your health condition and lifestyle can have an influence on whether or not you can adopt – for example children under the age of five or with respiratory conditions such as asthma are not allowed to be in households where the parents smoke.
It should be emphasised that someone with a physical disability or with mental health issues will not necessarily be unable to adopt children – the assessment is purely to look at individual circumstances and whether or not someone can provide the right environment for the child or children being adopted and the ability of a potential parent to look after the child is paramount.
Agencies are essential
Simply put, you cannot adopt a child in the UK without an agency unless they are a close relative. It is also important to note that adoption isn’t an instant process – the child needs to have lived with you for at least six months before an adoption order can be applied for.
There is also an additional complication in that if the birth parents of the child do not agree to the adoption then it most likely will go to court. There are no charges to adopt children from the UK though there is a one-off fee once the adoption application makes it to court (though this may be partially or fully covered by the local authority involved). However, there are charges if you want to adopt a child from outside the UK.
It is important to remember that there is a lot of support out there to help you with the adoption process. This can include local authorities offering both financial help but also emotional support as well. It is also worth remembering that this is a big step both for you and the child involved so we recommend looking into what kind of support and networks are available to you before you apply.
If you would like to know more about the legal issues surrounding the adoption process or want more information before applying yourself, please do not hesitate to contact us today.