Adoption is a life-changing decision for both yourself and any child being placed for adoption. You might be looking into adoption for the first time or may have been considering it for a number of years.
Whatever your situation our team is always available to talk through any questions, expectations or reservations you may have. Every adoption story is unique and you can read some of our adopter stories here.
We regularly hold Information Evenings for people interested in adoption. During these sessions we explain what we do in greater detail and explain some of the early life experiences of children we are family finding for. To attend an Information Evening you need to call us to register your interest on 0800 023 4064 or fill out our enquiry form.
What is Adoption?
Adoption is a way of providing a new family for a child, when living within their own family is no longer possible. It’s also a legal process. The granting of an Adoption Order by a court, ends a child's legal relationship with their birth parents and transfers parental responsibility to the adoptive parents. The child becomes a full member of their adoptive family, as if they were born to them. An Adoption Order cannot be reversed.
Our children are at the heart of every decision we make. Our children come from a range of early life experiences but for all of them it has been decided that they are no longer able to live with their birth families and therefore need adoption. They are various ages and come with their own specific set of needs and requirements.
We would be particularly interested to hear from you if you would consider adopting child / children who usually wait longest:
- Sibling groups of two or three
- Children over the age of four years
- Children who may have medical and developmental issues
- Children who may have learning difficulties
People choose to adopt for many different reasons. For some people adoption is a route they take following experiences of infertility whist for others adoption is their first choice for starting or extending their family.
The main thing to remember is you are not alone. Our information evenings and training are great places to meet other people starting the adoption process at the same time as you. Later on in the process you may be buddied up with people who have already adopted who can share their experience with you and once you have adopted we host fun days twice a year and a toddler group.
People who can adopt a child are:
- Single, married, or in a relationship; irrespective of sexuality and gender. We are looking for a person / people who can offer a child a stable home life.
- 21 years or older. Applications are welcome from people of all ages however you must be over 21 years old.
- Home owners or renting. You simply need to demonstrate you have the space and security to care for children as they grow up.
- Doing all kinds of jobs. You don’t need to earn a specific amount of money or have a certain profession. However, you will need to show us that becoming an adopter would not place you in financial difficulties.
We are looking for adopters who demonstrate they are:
- Committed: The assessment process is rigorous. You will need to be sure that adoption is the right thing for you. Our social workers will help you consider any issues and support you throughout the process.
- Energetic: You must show you can invest time and energy in developing your relationship with your adopted child. Some experience of childcare is beneficial.
- Aware and realistic in their expectations: You must be aware that, while adopting a child is very rewarding, it can also be challenging. You will need to accept that an adopted child comes with a history. It is very important that you are open and honest and support them to understand their history and birth family.
- Empathetic: Most children who are adopted today will retain some links with their birth family, either through an annual letter or occasionally, face to face contact (e.g. with siblings in other adoptive placements). Some contact may also continue with their foster family if this is important for the child.
It is also important that prospective adopters have:
- Good support from family and friends
- A good sense of humour
- A willingness and desire to learn about the needs of adopted children
- A stable lifestyle and can offer a accepting and loving family
Steps to Adoption
The following steps are a brief guide to the process of becoming approved as an adopter by the Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption Collaborative.
Step 1: Initial enquiry
If you require information in relation to adopting a child or wish to pursue your interest, you can request an Information Pack by contacting the Adoption Collaborative on 0800 023 4064 or by clicking on the enquire/contact us button. If after receiving the information pack you have some further questions you are always welcome to call for a chat with a social worker.
Should you wish to continue following receipt of your pack, you will be invited to attend an Adoption Information Evening.
Step 2: Adoption Information Evening
This is a meeting where prospective adopters are provided with more information about the adoption process and the needs of the children who require permanent families. The evening is facilitated by experienced adoption social workers, who after giving a short presentation are on hand to answer any questions you may have. At the end of the evening we provide you with a pack of information that gives greater detail on the most common areas of need that our children experience. We ask that you take this pack home, read it through and consider some of the other reading material we suggest before contacting us for an initial visit.
Step 3: Initial Visit
If you decide to proceed to an initial visit, a social worker from the Adoption team will visit you at home to discuss your individual circumstances and reasons for wishing to adopt. During the visit you will be asked about any criminal convictions and your health. If you advise us that you have a previous criminal conviction we will request a DBS check to be undertaken at this point in the process. In some cases we may also suggest a health assessment is carried out if you tell us about any health issues which may affect your ability to care for a child. This health assessment is then reviewed by the medical advisor for their advice. A short report is prepared following the visit to enable the Collaborative to decide whether you should progress to the next stage of the process. Sometimes we may feel that you are not ready to progress to the next stage and will provide you with feedback and advice.
Step 4: Training Course - Preparing to Adopt
Before we can accept an application you will be expected to attend our preparation training course. This course is run over 3 days and is facilitated by an experienced trainer in the field of adoption. The course provides a further opportunity to meet with other prospective adopters, to learn about some of the experiences of children requiring adoption and the challenges you may face as an adoptive parent. These courses are run regularly throughout the year so if you are unable to attend the next available course we will automatically invite you to another one.
Step 5: Application & Pre-approval checks
Following the Preparing to Adopt course we provide you with an application form and a number of forms for a variety of checks. As part of the application process you will be required to consent to a DBS check (if you haven’t already completed one with us). We also undertake checks of local authority areas in which you have lived since adulthood and ask you to provide names of persons who can provide you with a reference. You will also need to have a medical with your GP which will be forwarded to the agency’s Medical Adviser for advice on any medical issues.
Step 6: Assessment
Your allocated social worker will visit you on a few occasions to get to know you and to provide a detailed report of all aspects of your life. The first visit they complete will involve looking through an assessment plan, which will provide you with information on the areas that will be covered during the rest of the visits. Health and Safety Checklists are completed including assessments of any pets you may have.
We encourage applicants to contribute to the completion of the assessment report and you will frequently be provided with homework to undertake, which will reflect your understanding of adoption and the challenges ahead. We also ask you to provide comments on the final report for presentation to the Adoption Panel.
Step 7: Approval
The completed assessment report, including details of checks and references will be presented to the Adoption Panel by your social worker. The Panel is made up of a range of people who have experience of adoption both professionally and personally.
We acknowledge that the information gathered is of a sensitive and confidential nature. Panel members and social workers are required to maintain confidentiality at all times. You will be given the opportunity to attend the Panel meeting.
The Adoption Panel recommends the approval of adopters and the Agency Decision Maker in the local authority in which you reside (usually the Head of Children’s Services) makes the final decision. Should the Panel not be in a position to recommend your approval there are procedures in place to enable you to appeal the decision.
Step 8: Matching & Placement
Following your approval we would seek to match you with the most suitable child or children from within our regional collaborative. If we are unable to match you within our regional collaborative we are able to refer you to the Wales Adoption Register, and we will also provide you with information and opportunities to make searches of available children yourself.