Who can adopt

General questions

If you are over 21 years old, you can adopt. There is no age limit, so please do contact us. We are looking for individuals and couples who can give a child, and especially brothers and sisters, a loving, supportive and forever family life.

Most children need a room of their own to settle into. If you already have children, it can be difficult for a child who is joining your family to share a bedroom when there is another child from your family sleeping and spending time in a room, they feel is their own. Every family is different, so we will talk to you about how you think sleeping arrangements could work, both now and in the future.

If you are adopting a baby, and you do not have a bedroom ready in the short term, then we can consider them sleeping in a cot in your bedroom. You should have a clear plan for sleeping arrangements for when they are around 12 months old and ready to move into their own room, or to share a bedroom with another sibling.

Yes. You may already have experience looking after your own children, your friends or family. However, you (and your partner, if a couple) will need to have gained recent experience helping, supporting and spending time with little children who are not familiar to you.

So why is gaining childcare experience necessary?

As a potential parent, you may be welcoming a child/ren that may have been neglected, seen or experienced very difficult situations. Some children however old they are, may have anxiety and find it difficult when they live in a new home with lots of new experiences or they may need time to adjust, building trust and an attachment to you.

Like many people who work or volunteer in nurseries and after school clubs, we encourage you to gain experience with children who would depend on you whilst they are in your care, building a good rapport with them. Spending regular time helping and supporting little ones who you don’t know, will enable you to understand more about building confident relationships, trust and understanding.

This will also link with some of the parenting methods we offer during the assessment and training process that will help you to be a positive parent, with a range of flexible therapeutic parenting techniques.

How do I organise this experience?

You may already work in a professional child setting, but if you haven’t gained these skills, you could volunteer in a childcare setting such as a childminder, after school club, in a nursery or even Brownies or Cubs.

If we have advised you and/or your partner to organise time with little children, we suggest you start this as soon as you can. We can help you by suggesting child-based settings and/or help you find a suitable opportunity to where you live/work. It can take a little time to set up, as you will normally have to complete a [DBS] check with the provider (sometimes they ask you to pay the £23 for the DBS). We ask that you spend around one hour a week in the same setting.

We value all childcare experience and consider everyone on an individual basis, so please call our friendly team with any questions, including the childcare experience you already have and/or your partners experience on 0300 3000 011 or request a call back.

Yes. Single people make great adopters. We also welcome individuals who may choose to parent with the support of their extended family. Having a strong network of friends is beneficial to you and the child (or children) you will be a parent to.

As part of the adoption process, we can assign a single parent adopter mentor which you may find beneficial. We also run regular single parent virtual meet-ups for those families who find having a community beneficial.

Yes you can! 1 in 6 UK adopters are from the LGBTQ+ community.

All applicants go through the same process, regardless of your sexuality, gender, whether you are single or in a relationship.

As with all couples who are looking to adopt, we expect you to be in a 'live in', enduring and stable relationship for at least one year when you start the adoption process.

Yes, you can.

During your assessment, we will help you consider what is important when parenting a child of a different ethnicity or culture to your own, and how we can support you and your child/ren in connecting with their heritage.

There are adopters who have committed very minor offences when they were younger. Being honest and open about your past life is extremely important and helps us to understand who you are.

Some offences will prevent you from adopting. You will be unable to adopt if anyone in your household has a criminal record against children, sexual offences and other extreme offences which may cause us concern based on their severity. As part of the application process, we will run checks with the Police Disclosure & Barring Service on anyone over 18 years old who lives in your home.

If you have previously worked or lived abroad for more than one year, you will need to organise an Overseas Criminal Check. Over 64 countries participate in a reciprocal scheme.

You will need to advise us as soon as possible, as the process can take some time to be completed. We can help you find out who you need to contact.

We welcome enquiries from people who are UK residents, or who are domiciled in Britain. To adopt in England, applicants must be legally resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, and have been so for at least 12 months. UK citizens living abroad cannot adopt a child from the UK.

Yes, you can adopt a baby under three months old.

There are babies where a plan for adoption has already been agreed or where a baby's future is being decided by the courts.

Early Permanence, is when approved adopters can also be approved as foster carers. They will care for a baby or young child until a decision has been made.

Early Permanance is centred on the child's needs to provide as much stability at a time when there can be uncertainty as to which pathway is best for a baby/child.

You can speak to us about Early Permanance or meet us online or in person at one of our adoption events to find out more.

Yes you can adopt.

Being honest and open about your family relationships and anyone else in your close friendship network is extremely important, and helps us to understand your lifestyle.

We will need to explore this with you further to find out the relationship(s) they have with you/your partner and the conviction(s) they have. Our focus will be on any safeguarding, vulnerabilities, or risk to a child/ren.

You will be unable to adopt if anyone in your household has a criminal record against children, sexual offences and other extreme offences which may cause us concern based on their severity.

As part of the application process, we will run checks with the Police Disclosure & Barring Service on anyone over 18 years old who lives in your home.


No. As a society, there are many ways we define being fit and healthy. We also know that some people worry that their size or shape will stop them from adopting. Our assessment process is focussed on your ability to parent a child. We take a holistic approach, where we will look at your lifestyle, personality as well the network of support around you, so we we gain a full picture of who you and/or your partner.

As part of the adoption process, we ask all our applicants to have a medical assessment, conducted by your GP, to help us understand any current or potential health risks.

If there is anything you are worried about, please call us and we can explain or understand what you concerned about so we can try and support you.

There are many adopters who have a hidden or physical disability. As with all potential parents, you will need to think about how you would manage in everyday scenarios. We have a range of case studies we could share with you which may help you reflect on how you could care for a child yourself and the support around you that may be part of your adoption journey to become a parent.

As with all applicants, we will ask you to have an independent medical assessment during the early stages of the adoption process. This helps us make the best decision for a child/ren based on your ability to parent in a safe, secure and long-term loving home life.

If you are unsure, please talk to us when you are looking at adoption. We can answer your questions and talk through how you think you could parent.

Many people, at some point in their lives, will suffer from anxiety, stress or depression.

Mental health covers such a wide range of areas and circumstances; we have adopters who are receiving ongoing medication or therapy.

Our role is to understand how you and/or your partner are affected by any mental health conditions, how this is managed, and whether this may affect a child.

As part of the adoption process, we will ask you to have a medical assessment, conducted by your GP. We also encourage you to have an open discussion with us so we can understand more about you.

We understand and respect that many people who have been through IVF treatment or have not been able to conceive may also be considering adoption. We recognise and accept that everyone's journey can be very different.

Adopting a child is also a highly emotional experience, so we ask that you start your adoption journey when you have had some time to reflect or seek counselling if IVF treatment has not been successful or trying to conceive has been difficult.

You can talk to us during this time, ask questions and update us on how you are. When you are ready to take the next step and formally apply to adopt, we would of course be happy to talk to you further.

If you are thinking about adopting a child under the age of five, or a child with a disability or health condition, you will need to have given up smoking or vaping for at least 8 months before you can start the adoption process.

If you are in the process of stopping, have recently stopped smoking or vaping, please speak to us on 0300 3000 011. We may be able to help you with some guidance and also talk to you about what you can be reading or learning on adoption in the meantime.

Yes, you can adopt. HIV is considered a manageable condition.

Through our discussions with you, we will need to find out how you manage to take care of yourself day to day, and whether any side effects from medication and/or other associated symptoms such as fatigue, may affect you.

You will need to organise a health medical with your GP, which we ask all our applicants in Stage 1 of the adoption process to arrange.

If you would like to have a private discussion with one of our team, you can book an Eventbrite one to one appointment with us. These are quite popular when individuals/couples like to ask us specific questions, which can help them understand more about how the adoption and application process applies to them.


Yes. Many singles or couples work full-time. You will need to think about your work-life balance and how you are going to provide love, support and daily care for a child or siblings.

Most children will need to settle into their new home. This is a time of great excitement, but it could also be quite overwhelming for a child. From our experience, children settle quicker when you are at home and in 'their world'. We ask you to be at home for around six months, either as the primary carer or sharing the responsibility with your partner or an adult family member you live with.

We know this is not always possible, for example if you have your own business. We will discuss how you could create a home-life balance that's right for you and the child/ren as they settle into their new surroundings and relationship with you and/or your partner and family.

You may also be able to claim Adoption Leave and Adoption Pay from your employer. You could also receive weekly Child Benefit, Nursery Vouchers for 2+ year olds, Adoption Pupil Premium at school, Child Tax Credits and other forms of financial support.

If you decide to Foster to Adopt, you will receive a Fostering Allowance for a child/ren you care for, until the court has made a decision on the child's future.

We welcome individuals and couples who rent, or live in shared ownership or social housing, with evidence of a formal agreement in place.

Yes. There is no upper age limit to adoption. We welcome individuals and couples from all backgrounds to contact us.

If you are already a parent, you will have many qualities and experiences a child could greatly benefit from, flourishing in a loving and child-centric home.

All families are different including extended, blended, step-parents and special guardianships. We spend time understanding how you and your child/ren might feel about another child or siblings being part of your family forever.

We always look at every family's circumstances individually, and will discuss how introducing a child/ren into your family would look like, and the best match for them. Our Stage 2 team provides an excellent opportunity to understand more about attachment for all children in the family.

Dogs, cats, chickens, guinea pigs and hamsters can be a great source of delight and compassion for children.

During the first phase of the adoption process, we complete a pet assessment as part of our home safety check. This will help us identify whether there are any concerns in the home that may affect a child's safety.

If you have a dog or dogs, we will need to ensure that the breed and dog's history does not present any health and safety risks. This includes dangerous breeds identified by the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, rescue dogs or any other concerns we may have. We ask you to pay for a professional dog assessment. Please talk to us first, as we can help with these costs for individuals and families.

Yes. You will need to be in a long term relationship, living together for at least 12 to 18 months (depending on the length of time of relationship before you lived together) before you can start your adoption journey. This is the same timeframe for married couples and civil relationships. Children will need to be living in a loving and supportive home where their parents are stable in their relationship and have experience of coping with different situations together.

You will need to have a Decree Absolute in place to start Stage 1 of our assessment process, and all financial matters and living arrangements must be resolved if there are any other children involved.

Yes. We welcome individuals and couples from all cultural and faith backgrounds. People who are part of communities have a tendency to support and care for others. This is a wonderful environment for children to grow up in and have a sense of belonging.

Yes, you can adopt. You may need to think about where you live in relation to dropping off and picking up from a school, children's activities and health appointments etc.

No. You do not need any qualifications to adopt a child/ren. We are interested in speaking to anyone who can love and care for a child/ren as they grow, and help them develop their own identity and story.


You do not need savings in the bank to adopt.

Children placed with their forever family will need a financial and stable home life. This means the household can absorb the costs of having an additional child or siblings, together with minimal concerns about money. Parent(s) will need to be able to provide their child with healthy and wholesome meals every day, clothing and cherished times.

This is not determined by having 'new' everything, holidays abroad, a new car, a big house or high value purchases. You can be claiming Universal Credit and other benefits to help support your family and we can help signpost you to these too.

Our children need caring and loving homes where they feel fulfilled by their parents and the support they have around them.

Yes. There are adopters who are on a low income and claim financial support through Universal Credits and the Pupil Premium Grant scheme.

We can direct you to the various Government websites and agencies for you to explore more about financial support for children.

Yes, there are some costs linked to adoption. These include:

Medical Assessment
Everyone over the age of 18 years who lives in your household will require a medical assessment. These are in the region of £150 each, and are paid by yourselves to your GP to conduct an independent medical report

Independent Pet Assessment
This is in the region of £150

Adoption Order
Currently this is around £90

However, we would not want these costs to stop you from adopting, so please speak to us if you felt setting aside monies for any of these would mean it would be difficult. We have helped families financially adopt where we know a match that's right for a child/ren is the best outcome.

Hampshire County Council Logo
Isle of Wight Council Logo
Portmouth City Council Logo
Southampton City Council Logo

Adopt South Privacy Notices