Adopted children are unable to live with their birth families for many reasons and move to live permanently with a new family, taking their surname, assuming the same rights and privileges as if they had been born to them.
Birth parents no longer have any legal rights over the child and they are not entitled to claim them back. However, children often continue to have indirect contact with their birth families through cards and letters so that they grow up understanding their background.
Children who need adoptive families often need a little extra from their new parents. A resourceful and flexible approach to parenting is needed to give an adopted child security and stability.
People who can adopt
People looking to adopt must be:
- Over 21 and mature enough to meet the demands of parenthood
- Fit and well enough to care for children until they are adults
- Able to offer a secure home with a spare room for one or more children
You will need to have a child-friendly lifestyle, provide a stable environment and be ready for the challenge and lifelong commitment of adoption.
You will need time, patience, love and resilience to help a child reach their full potential. We welcome adoptive parents from a wide range of backgrounds as it helps us to match them with children who have very varied needs. We are open to applicants from all backgrounds regardless of age, race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.
Couples, single people, disabled people and people from all cultures are welcome.
Types of adoption
There are different types of adoption available:
Step parent adoption
Step parent adoption allows you to become the legal parent of your spouse's child or children from a previous marriage or relationship. You need to contact us if you want to adopt your spouse's child. You must do this at least three months before applying to a court for an adoption order.
The process is generally the same as domestic adoption, however, there are likely to be extra complexities when adopting from abroad and some charges will be made for the work carried out.
Adopting or becoming a Special Guardian for a family member
Please contact us if you wish to discuss these options if you are considering adopting or becoming a Special Guardian for a child within your family network who needs permanent alternative parents.
The adoption process
After your initial enquiry we will send you some information regarding adoption for you to read and arrange to meet with you so that you can learn more about the adoption process. You can then decide to begin the adoption process.
The first stage is to attend a group where you will be given more information about the children for whom we are seeking adoptive carers and the type of parenting they need.
Following this you can complete an application which will give us the information and consent we need to make checks and take up references about you. These include personal references, including from ex partners where applicable, Disclosure and Barring Service check and a medical. A social worker will compile a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) which gives a detailed assessment of you, your background, your lifestyle, your existing family and the type of adoptive family you hope to become part of.
You will then meet the Adoption Panel with the social worker who has compiled the PAR. The Adoption Panel is made up of professionals and people with experience of adoption including adoptive parents, people who have been adopted, social workers, health professionals along with a legal and medical adviser. The Panel will consider the PAR and hear from you and your social worker and will make a recommendation. This recommendation will be considered by the Agency Decision Maker who makes the final decision.
When you are approved the Family Placement Service will work to match you to a child using the information in your PAR. Most children will be from the Island but some are found via the Adoption Register for England or other agencies in the UK.
When a child is placed with you the Family Placement Service will visit you and provide any support you need. After a period of time you can make applicable for an Adoption Order. Your social worker and the child’s social worker will complete a report to the Court to support your application.