Different ways you can adopt

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 to adopt - a form of adoption widely used in the USA and increasingly in the UK. It is suitable for looked after children usually under the age of 2, where a local authority thinks adoption is likely to be the best option, but who may still be able to return home. The child is placed with carers who have been approved both as foster carers and as prospective adopters. Efforts to support the birth family and make possible a reunification between infant and the birth family continue during this process. If this process fails, the infant is then adopted by those same carers.

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:
13 December 2017

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