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Who can adopt?

Frequently asked questions

We're not married. Can we still adopt?

Yes. In the case of joint applications, ACE will need to be satisfied about the stability of your relationship. ACE considers that your relationship needs to have been established for a minimum of 2 years prior to a registration of interest being accepted.

Can I adopt if I am single?

Of course. There is no bar to single people applying to adopt. In fact, for some children it may be better for them to be placed with a single adopter. As part of your home assessment ACE would consider with you your support network.

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

Applicants may be in work or not. Whatever your income, you will need to consider the financial implications of increasing your family and demonstrate that you are financially able to support a child being placed with you. Financial support may occasionally be available where adopters are able to meet current adoption priorities, and possibly for those thinking of adopting a group of brothers or sisters, or a child/children with additional needs.

We already have birth children. Could we adopt too?

Certainly. Applications will be accepted from people who already have a child or children, birth or adopted. It is usual that the adopted child would be the youngest in the family by at least 2 years, at the point of placement. However, there may be exceptions for example, where it is proposed to place a full or half-sibling of a child already adopted by the family.

Do I need to own my own home?

Applicants may own their own home or live in rented accommodation. You will need to demonstrate that you have considered how to provide a secure home environment in which to bring up a child and that it will be suitable for the number and ages of children you wish to adopt. Where you do not own the property, ACE would need confirmation that you have a secure lease for the next 12-month period after a child is placed with you. A Health and Safety Questionnaire will be undertaken as part of the assessment process to consider any concerns in respect of the accommodation.

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 to settle a child into their family and home. A child will need time to build a relationship with their new family and it will take time for them to feel safe and secure. It is difficult to say how long this will take but 12 months is not unusual. If an older child is being placed and attends school, further discussions could be had around the possibility of returning to work around the child’s school hours. On occasions a child may need a parent to be off work longer and financial support may be available from the placing local authority in such circumstances that may be subject to a means tested assessment of your financial circumstances.

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 black and minority ethnic groups wait the longest for adoptive families, alongside children with additional needs and/or disabilities.

Can I adopt if I have a disability or health issue?

You can apply to adopt if you have a disability or health issue, so don’t rule yourself out before having a conversation with ACE. Everyone who applies to adopt is asked to undergo a full medical assessment and this helps ACE to understand how your disabilities or health issues might impact on parenting. ACE will need to be sure that adopter/s are likely to remain healthy enough to parent a child into adulthood and that the child will have a healthy lifestyle too. Many people have short periods of stress, depression, or anxiety in their lives and whilst there would need to be discussion about how this has been managed, this is unlikely to prevent people from adopting a child. Some people have longer term mental health conditions which are well controlled with medication. There would be a discussion about this with you and the medical advisor would provide advice in relation to the impact of your disability or health issues on parenting.

If I smoke, can I adopt?

There are clear guidelines in relation to adoption about smoking and ACE will not place a child under the age of 5 years old with a parent who smokes. If you decide to apply to adopt you will be required to have given up smoking for a period of 12 months before a Registration of Interest is accepted if you are seeking to adopt a child under 5 years. It is acknowledged that vaping can be helpful if you are trying to give up smoking and ACE will consider adopters who vape. However, ACE would again strongly advise that giving up vaping is the best long-term plan. Vaping should not take place in front of children. There would be clear expectations around the safe storage of vaping paraphernalia

Can I adopt if I've had fertility treatment?

If you have undergone fertility treatment, we ask that you have completed your treatment and have given yourself time to reflect so that you are sure that you are ready to consider adoption. It is important for couples to have accepted their infertility and grieved before moving on to start the adoption process and it is unlikely that ACE will accept a Registration of Interest if less than 6 months have passed since infertility treatment was completed. The amount of time required however will vary between individuals and this will always be discussed and agreed with ACE during the initial stages of the process. Please speak to ACE about your circumstances.

Can I adopt if I have pets?

ACE recognises the important role pets, especially dogs, can have in families' lives and we will gather information on any pets within the household as part of the assessment process. However, ACE will not be in a position to accept a Registration of Interest from an applicant who has a dog living within the household where the breed of the dog falls under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Braziliero and XL Bully).

Enquiry form for adoption

Complete an enquiry form for adoption