National Adoption Week « McAlister Family Law

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National Adoption Week

15.10.2018

National Adoption Week runs from 15-21 October. Across the North West, there are now more children who need to be placed within a loving home than there are available adopters.

This week’s initiative is run by the charity First 4 Adoption and hopes to raise awareness across the country in order to find permanent families for children who, in the main, are accommodated by local authorities.

The adoption process involves a number of stages and can take many months. Before a person embarks on this journey, it is vital that they undertake their own research as to what adoption entails and whether they feel that they have the attributes that are required to offer a long-term family to a child.

So, who can adopt a child?

You may be able to adopt if you’re 21 or over (there’s no upper age limit) and either:

  • Single
  • Married
  • In a civil partnership
  • An unmarried couple (same sex and opposite sex)
  • The partner of the child’s parents
  • You do not have to be a British citizen to adopt a child, but you or your partner must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK and you and your partner must have lived in the UK for at least 1 year before you begin the application process

What is the adoption process?

Once registered with an agency, the formal evaluation process begins by initial checks which would include obtaining references. This normally takes about 2 months.

There then follows a longer stage where the potential adopter and their  partner [ if a couple] will undergo a rigorous assessment to decide their suitability. This can take around 4 months.

If successful, the adoption agency will then work in conjunction with local authorities to find the right child to be matched with. The final decision rests with a matching panel.

Once the match has been made, the potential adopter and partner (if a couple) will spend time getting to know the child and will have the support of the adoption agency and a social worker from the local authority. After a number of visits and short stays will lead up to the child moving in.

What is the legal process?

To make the adoption legal, it is necessary to apply for an adoption court order. Such an order gives the adopters parental rights and responsibilities for the child. The child must have lived with the adopters for at least 10 weeks.

Once the adoption order has been granted, the child has the same rights as if they had been born to the adopters. This can be significant in terms of rights of inheritance. The order also takes away parental responsibility from the child’s birth parents.

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