Young girl thinking about chocolate cake while talking to mother.

Summer, what do you prefer - chocolate or cake?

Chocolate cake!

Frequently asked questions and eligibility

We already have birth children. Could we adopt too?

Certainly. We particularly welcome people who have raised their own children. This experience can often make you ideal adopters for older children or those with additional needs. 

I want to adopt, but I work full time and do not want to give up work permanently. Can I still adopt? 

Yes, you can. Adopters are expected to take some employment leave in order to settle a child into their family and home. The period of time is based on Maternity Leave but may need to be longer for pre-school children. Since 2015 Statutory Adoption Leave is equivalent to Maternity Leave entitlements.

We want to adopt a very young child but have heard there aren't any babies placed for adoption?

This is not the case. There are many  pre-school children needing adoption. We also need adopters for older children, as well as brothers and sisters (of various ages) who need to stay together. Children aged over four and children from particular black and minority ethnic groups wait the longest for adoptive families, alongside children with additional needs and/or disabilities.

I don’t own my house and have heard that I can't adopt?

That's a myth. Prospective adopters should have secure accommodation i.e. a house or flat, which can be rented or mortgaged. There must be sufficient room for a child to sleep and play and older children of different genders will need a separate bedroom.

Do we need a spare room?

Ideally if adopting an older child (over two) they should have their own room. If you are adopting a child under two being in the parent’s room to start with is fine but you will need to have a plan regarding accommodation intentions so the child has a bedroom in the future.

Am I too old to adopt?

Applicants must be over 21 years of age but ACE have no upper age limit on adoption applicants, however all adopters need to be able to demonstrate they are fit and healthy and are able to parent a child into their adulthood. This will be further explored in the assessment process including the adoption medical. 

We’re not married. Can we still adopt?

Yes. Two people who are living as partners for a least two years in an enduring family relationship are welcome to adopt and we would consider a relationship of 2 years minimum to be appropriate.

How long do we need to have been in a relationship for?

ACE will require a couple to have had an established relationship and have lived together for a continuous period of at least 12 months immediately prior to commencing the adoption enquiry process. However, a registration of interest in adoption will not be accepted until the relationship has been established for a minimum of 2 years.

Can we adopt if we smoke?

ACE will not assess applicants to take a child under the age of 5 if they are smokers, applicants need to be 12 months smoke free (evidenced by GP) to be considered to adopt a child under the age of 5. If applicants vape, this will be explored during the assessment process, but applicants will be advised to stop vaping where possible and vaping in front of the children would not be considered to be appropriate.

We are still undergoing fertility treatment can we still apply to adopt?

Applicants should have finished all fertility treatment and have made the decision that adoption is their route to parenthood, prior to applying to adopt.

Do we need to have savings and a high income to adopt?

No, applicants do not have to have a high income or significant saving, but what you do need to evidence is financial security and have the finances to be able to care and raise a child. This will be explored in the assessment process via a finance assessment. All adopters must be financially able to provide for the child’s needs. If both parents work, this includes one parent taking time from work in the first year to settle the child into the family.

We are living on income support so we can't afford to adopt a child. Can you help? 

Financial support may occasionally be available where adopters are able to meet our current adoption priorities, and possibly for those thinking of adopting a group of brothers or sisters, or a child/children with additional needs such as disability.


  • All adopters must be willing to put the child and his/her needs first and foremost in all decisions affecting the child’s welfare.
  • All adopters must be able to provide a loving, calm, emotionally stable environment for the child.
  • All adopters must be healthy and fit enough to keep the child safe, care and play with the child as they grow and support them into adulthood.
  • All adopters must be able to provide a stable, safe home with room for the child to play and sleep.
  • All adopters must be willing to respect the child’s birth culture and family origins as an important part of the child’s identity, providing information to the child as he/she grows up to explain their early life.
  • All adopters must be financially able to provide for the child’s needs. If both parents work, this includes one parent taking time from work in the first year to settle the child into the family.
  • Adopters must be legally resident in the UK for 1 year before becoming an adoptive parent.
  • Adopters must be over 21 years old - there is no specific upper age limit.
  • Adopters and those sharing their home must have no convictions for specified offences or crimes against children.
  • Applications will be considered from married couples, civil partners, unmarried couples or single people.
  • Applications will be considered from people or any or no religious persuasion.
  • Applications will be considered from people of any race or culture
  • Applications will be considered from people of any gender or people of any sexual orientation including those who identify as LBGTQ+.
  • Applications will be considered from people who are in work or not. Whatever the applicant’s income they will need to consider the financial implications of increasing their family. Applicants will need to demonstrate that they are financial able to support a child being place with them.
  • Applications will be considered from disabled people. Many disabled people adopt a child successfully. Early part of the adoption process will involve all adopters having a medical and ACE would rely on that medical advise alongside consideration of personal circumstances.