The adoption process

The adoption process is there to ensure that this is the right decision for you and the children waiting to be adopted.

It is simpler and quicker than it has been previously and there is a lot more support available.

Key stages

Normally there are four key stages in the adoption process which are illustrated below, and to be approved as an adopter typically takes around 6 months.

Most prospective adopters find the journey helps them to understand themselves and to become better parents.

Key steps in the process


Exploration & planning

Average time: 1–2 months

Making a start

Your adoption journey starts with reading background information, along with speaking to experts and other adopters who have made the journey before. You will be able to explore the different adoption agencies in your region who provide adoption services.

Stage one

Registration, Initial checks and training

Average time: 2 months

Formal processes

After finding an agency you are comfortable with, you can start the formal processes, such as references, background checks and preparation training. This stage should take around 2 months to complete.

Stage two

Assessment and approval

Average time: 4 months

Adoption report

This is a four-month stage, where a social worker will work with you and your family, assessing your strengths before presenting it in a report to the Adoption Panel and the agency making a decision about approving you as a suitable adopter.

Stage three

Finding the right match

Average time: 3–4 months

Matching panel

Your adoption agency works with local authorities to find the right child for you. They will discuss the suitability of children with you and a report is presented to a matching adoption panel and the agency makes a final decision regarding the match proceeding.

Ready to make a start?