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Adopting your stepchildren

Moving forward with adoption

To be assessed to adopt a stepchild, the birth parent must be 18 years old or over and the stepparent at least 21 years of age.

There is a legal requirement that the child must have lived with you both full time for a minimum of 6 months prior to an application. However, we will need to evidence whether your relationship with the child’s birth parent is stable and enduring, therefore suggest your relationship should be established for a minimum of 2 years before considering adoption.

Adoption Central England must be notified at least 3 months before you make an application to the court for an Adoption Order. Once your letter of intention to adopt has been received by Adoption Central England, you will be sent a formal acknowledgement and further information which will explain the adoption process in more detail. Notice of intention to adopt expires after two years, so you will need to lodge your adoption application with the court within this time.

Adoption Central England will undertake an assessment which will involve spending time getting to know your family, to enable us to prepare a report for court. The report must contain information about the child, each parent of the child and other family members, including other children. What alternatives to adoption have been considered and the evidence of attempts that have been made to trace, contact, and seek the views of an absent parent. We will consider the lifelong impact of the proposed adoption on the child and both birth parents and taking into account all the circumstances, whether adoption is likely to be in the child’s best interests.

As part of our assessment, we will also speak with references that you have identified, the child’s nursery or school and we will undertake police checks, known as a DBS, on all members of the household over the age of 18 years, including the birth parent.

This report will help the court decide if an Adoption Order should be made.

Enquiry form for adoption

Complete an enquiry form for adoption