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.