Different types of adoption

Find out about the different types of adoption and which one is suitable for you.

Adoption is a way of providing a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their own parents. It's a legal procedure in which all the parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters.

An adopted child loses all legal ties with their first mother and father (the 'birth parents') and becomes a full member of the new family, usually taking the family's name. 

Types of adoption

  • Agency adoption - adopting a child from a registered adoption agency (the County Council’s Adoption Team is registered for this purpose).
  • Private adoption - where an application for adoption is made directly to the courts by prospective adoptive parent/s for a child they already know.
  • Step-parent adoption - where a partner's child from a previous relationship or marriage is adopted by a step-parent.
  • Inter-country adoption - where a child is adopted from another country. We are currently in the process of commissioning a specialist voluntary adoption agency to undertake these assessments on our behalf.
  • Fostering for Adoption - find information about our early permanence scheme.

We will usually only use these schemes if there is a greater than 80% chance that the child will not return to his/her birth parents. The process offers a great opportunity for a child to be placed at a very early stage with its potential parent(s).

Last updated:
29 June 2018

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