Who can adopt


Each child is unique so we don’t look for specific types of people, we look for the skills and experience which make people suitable to adopt a child. We also provide training and support to build on the abilities you already have so it’s more about your potential than where you are now.

We understand that you will have lots of questions. Taking the first step on the adoption journey is a big decision! There are still a lot of misconceptions about who can adopt so we have tried to answer the main questions here. However if you have other questions or want to chat through your circumstances with one of our friendly advisers, please get in touch.

“Being older, LGBT and single were all the reasons why I didn’t adopt earlier and thought I wouldn’t be accepted, but I was wrong…. Now I can’t imagine saying adoption’s not for you – everyone should do it!”

Single adopter

How old do I need to be to be able to adopt?

You need to be at least 21 years of age. There is no upper age limit, but it is important to remember that you will need to be fit and active to be able to care for a child through to adulthood. 

Do I need to own my own home? Do I need a spare bedroom?

You need to have enough space in your home to provide for a child. An adopted child will usually need their own bedroom to help them settle and feel secure. You do not need to own your own home though, you can still adopt if you are in rented accommodation. 

Do I need to be married to be able to adopt?

You do not need to be married to adopt. You can adopt if you are single, in a civil partnership, living together or married. What matters is that your relationship is stable and settled before you start you adoption journey.  

Hear more about adopting as a single person in this podcast

How will my sexuality effect my chances to adopt?

You can adopt if you are straight, gay, lesbian, bi or trans – we welcome applications from people of any sexuality. We have lots of adopters from the LGBTQ+ community who are excellent parents, in fact 1 in 7 adoptions in England are to people from the LGBTQ+ community.

Hear more about adopting as a same sex couple in this podcast

Can I adopt a child of a specific religion or ethnicity? Can I adopt a child of a different ethnicity?

We are proactively seeking families from a wide range of backgrounds who can build trusting relationships with our children and meet their needs throughout life. We welcome applications from people of all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Whilst it is not necessary to match a child with adopters of exactly the same background you will need to have the knowledge and experience needed to help your child understand and appreciate the important cultural, religious or linguistic values of their birth community.

Can I adopt if I have debts or a low income?

We welcome applications from people who are on a low income. You don’t have to be wealthy to adopt, but it is important that you are open about your financial situation. You will need to be financially stable and able to provide for a child through to adulthood. 

Can I adopt if I work? What if I’m unemployed?

You can adopt if you work, part time, full time or not at all. We consider people who can offer a child a loving home regardless of their working or financial status. Your circumstances will be considered as part of the assessment process. One person (you or your partner) will usually be expected to take extended time off work when your child first arrives.

Can I adopt if I have a criminal record? 

We will carry out a full DBS check on you as part of the adoption process. Having a criminal record would not automatically rule you out. However if you have criminal convictions for most violent offences or any offences against children we will not be able to take your application forward. It is important to be honest from the outset about any cautions or convictions you have.

If I smoke, can I adopt?

Smoking does not automatically prevent from adopting. However, if you wish to adopt children under five and those with particular medical conditions you are likely to need to be smoke-free for six months before making an application (this includes E cigarettes or vaping). If you are interested in adopting a child over five and smoke, please discuss this with us.

Can I adopt if I already have children? 

We welcome applications from families who have birth or adopted children. We would only look to place children who are at least two years younger than the youngest child in your family. It is beneficial for adopters to have some knowledge and experience of caring for children. However, we offer training and support for adopters to help build a trusting relationship with a child and meet their needs throughout life.

Can I adopt if I’ve had fertility treatment?

If you have undergone fertility treatment, we ask that you have completed your treatment, have given yourself time to reflect and now feel ready to consider adoption (please speak to us about your circumstances).

Hear more about adoption and fertility issues in this podcast.

Can I adopt if I have a disability?

You can apply to adopt if you have a disability or health issue, so don’t rule yourself out before having a conversation with our friendly team. Everyone who applies to adopt is asked to undergo a full medical and this helps us to understand how disabilities or health issues might impact on parenting.

Can I adopt if I have pets?

Having a pet should not rule you out from adopting a child, however we will need to ensure that any pets you own do not pose a threat to children’s health or safety. Some children suffer from allergies which prevent placement with certain pets.

Will my weight affect my chances of adopting?

Everyone who applies to adopt is asked to undergo a full medical which helps us to understand how any health issues, including weight might impact on parenting. Please talk to us if you are worried about whether your weight might impact on your chances of adopting.