The adoption assessment process

Find out what adoption involves and whether it's the right option for you

The process starts with the enquiry and information stage. This part of the process (also known as the pre-assessment stage) involves finding out all about adoption. This will help you make a decision about whether it is right for you and your family.

Use the ‘contact us’ button to request an Adoption information Pack. You can also arrange to speak to a social worker in our recruitment team who can invite you to one of our Adoption Information Sessions to learn more about adopting with Hampshire.

Stage 1

Stage 1 begins when we accept your ‘Registration of Interest’. We will then start to gather information about you and take up references and undertake checks which include:

  • personal references
  • Police checks (here in the UK and overseas if you have lived abroad)
  • a health check with your GP
  • employment checks, including any voluntary work with children or vulnerable adults.
    We will also invite you to a preparation group and encourage you to do your own research and learning via e-learning, reading and undertaking voluntary childcare work where necessary

We might meet with you to talk about anything that has arisen which needs to be discussed in more detail before going any further.

When all the checks and references are complete we will make a decision together about whether or not to proceed to Stage 2.

Stage 1 should take no more than two months, but it is recognised that this may take longer depending on your individual circumstances and whether checks have been returned.

If the adoption agency agrees for you to progress, you will then proceed to stage 2.

Stage 2

Stage 2 begins when you confirm that you wish to proceed. There can be up to a six month break between Stage 1 and 2 if this is needed.

During Stage 2 we will assess whether we feel you are suitable to adopt. We will arrange a number of home visits to discuss your personal circumstances in more detail. We will complete the Prospective Adopters Report which is a ‘pen picture’ of you, your family background, your lifestyle, why you want to adopt and your potential as an adoptive parent. You will also be invited to attend our three day Adoption Preparation Course.

Your completed assessment will be referred to one of Hampshire’s Adoption Panels who will make a recommendation of your suitability to adopt. You will be invited to attend the panel. The recommendation then goes to the Agency Decision Maker for a final decision.

Stage 2 should take no more than four months however this would depend on individual circumstances.

Matching and linking

Once you are approved your social worker will support you with being ‘matched’ with a child or children. The information gathered during your assessment helps us to make the right ‘match’ and ensure you are the right family for the child.

It is always difficult to know how long it will take for you to be ‘matched’ with a child and some adoptive families wait longer than others for a variety of reasons. Speak to us about our current needs.

During the ‘matching’ stage you will get to hear lots about the child from the social worker, the foster carer and also our Agency Medical Advisor. You will also see photos of the child and be able to watch a DVD. If you wish to proceed with a matching the proposed match will be referred to Hampshire’s Adoption Panel who will make a recommendation about the match. This recommendation is then given to Hampshire’s Agency Decision Maker, who makes the final decision.

You will then have a period of ‘introductions’ which will help you to get to know the child, their routines and their likes and dislikes, before they move into your home.

Adoption order

After the child or children move into your home, we will visit you very regularly to support you and the child and generally make sure that everything is going well. The placement is also more formally reviewed and after the second review we will discuss the timing of your application for an Adoption Order and your social worker will guide you through the court proceedings.

PACT guide to adoption

Phone 0300 456 4800

Adoption support

Adoption Support does not end with the making of an Adoption Order and we aim to support you from the moment you pick up the phone to make an enquiry about adoption and for as long as you and your family need us.

Hampshire Adoption has a well established and comprehensive Adoption Support Service.