Young girl thinking about chocolate cake while talking to mother.

Summer, what do you prefer - chocolate or cake?

Chocolate cake!

The adoption process

This is one of the biggest and most important decisions of your life and ACE want you to make that decision with our support. We will support you every step of the way.

We will work together to give a child or children a new beginning, and make sure that you can provide a child or children with the permanency and security that they need.

Following your first enquiry you will be invited to an information session where we will talk to you about the adoption process and the children waiting for adoptive families. This is followed up by a home visit which allows you the opportunity to discuss on a one-to-one basis with the adoption social worker any issues arising from the information sessions, from the information you have read about adoption, or the processes involved either for you, the child or children you are hoping to adopt.

There are now two stages to this, which will take about six months.

Stage 1 - registration, checks, preparation

This first stage takes around two months. You are encouraged to find out as much as possible about adoption and what it will mean to you and your family. We start to get to know you, to discover your strengths and prepare you for the task ahead.

We will offer you a visit where you can talk to a social worker in the privacy of your own home. The social worker will start to gather information about you and your household.

We will start the required background checks. These include

  • DBS (Police) checks on all adults in the household
  • Personal references
  • Employment references
  • A full medical assessment
  • School references for any school age child in the household
  • References from ex-partners if deemed appropriate

You will be encouraged to do your own research into adoption and will also attend adoption preparation training which will involve a  number of sessions usually completed over three days. In these group sessions you will meet other prospective adopters. This is also an opportunity to meet experienced adopters and an adopted adult. You will learn about the children's experiences, their needs and the issues they will bring with them to adoption.

Stage 2 - assessment

If  you and ACE agree that it is appropriate for you to proceed to the next stage, you will be allocated an adoption social worker who will complete your home study assessment. This stage takes about 4 months and is when your social worker will visit you approximately 6-8 times at home, really getting to know you and your child/ren if you have them. This will provide you with the opportunity to discuss what is involved in adoption in more detail and the social worker will gather information about you, your life experiences, skills as well as your support needs.

Adoption Panel and approval

When both stages are complete, your references have been checked and all the required checks are in, you and your social worker will present your Prospective Adopter Report to the Adoption Panel. Their job is to make sure that all applicants, at this stage, have had the information and preparation they need and have the skills needed to adopt.

You will be invited to attend the Adoption Panel. The Panel has an independent chair and is made up of a wide range of people with experience of adoption. It's their job to make a recommendation about your suitability for adoption.

Following this, the recommendation goes to the Agency Decision Maker. The Agency Decision Maker is a senior manager in ACE, who has the legal responsibility to consider the recommendation of the Adoption Panel and to make the decision to approve as adoptive parent/s.

A new beginning for you and your child/children

Once you have been approved we will start to search for the right child or children to be placed with you.

In some cases, we will have already talked to you about the children waiting for a family and you will have an idea of whether there is a specific child or children for you.

If this is not the case then we will share with you profiles of children waiting for an adoptive family and talk to you about the children who are going through the court process, where decisions are being made about whether adoption is right for them.