Who can adopt

Legally, you must:

  • be over 21 (there is no upper age limit)
  • have lived in the UK for longer than one year and intend to stay
  • be clear of certain criminal convictions or cautions, particularly any for sexual or physical violence, or offences involving children. If you have a criminal record, please discuss this with us as it may not prevent you from adopting.

In addition:

  • You can be married, in a civil partnership, single or living with a partner of any gender.
  • You need a spare room and to be living in either rented or your own accommodation.
  • You need to be physically and emotionally well enough to keep up with a child throughout their childhood and beyond. You will need to have a health assessment with your GP.
  • You need to have the financial means to look after a child and be able to take a period of adoption leave if you work (one person in a partnership). A low income won’t necessarily prevent you from adopting.
  • You need to have ended fertility treatment and taken time to recover physically and emotionally.
  • You must have been a non-smoker for at least six months.
  • Any other children you have must be three or over.
  • You must be willing to learn about a child’s past life experiences and how this may affect them as they grow up. If you have had a difficult early life yourself, this won’t necessarily prevent you from adopting.
  • It helps if you have experience of looking after children.
  • You need the time, skills and commitment to give a child a safe, stable and loving home.
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