Adoption

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: Will I have to stop work after adopting a child?

Answer: Children who are placed for adoption may have had a number of moves before they come to you. They need consistency and stability until they are well settled and therefore need a carer who can be with them on a regular basis. You may be entitled to Statutory Adoption Leave (see http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Moneyandworkentitlements/WorkAndFamilies/Adoptionrightsintheworkplace/index.htm) or your employer may have their own adoption leave policy. We would suggest that you speak to your employer about this and how flexible they can be with your working arrangements both during and after the adoption process. If you will be continuing to work, you should make your Social Worker aware of this as soon as possible. - Related Link

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Question: I am in a same-sex relationship, can I adopt?

Answer: Yes. We welcome applications from men and women who are civil partnered, living with their same-sex partner as well as lesbian, gay men, bisexual and transgender individuals who are single.

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Question: Are there any useful books/reading you can recommend as I am considering adoption?

Answer: There are a lot of fantastic books and other reading that you may wish to have a look at if you are considering adoption. In particular, BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) have a wide range of books to purchase through their own website as well as through other shops and online retailers - some may be available at your local library.

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Question: Is it true that an adopted child can access their birth records at 18 years and chose to track their parents?

Answer: Yes, an adopted person in England can request to see their original birth certificate from their 18th birthday. Some people may wish to take this further and try to trace their birth family. For further information on accessing birth record and tracing birth families please visit www.adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk or call the Adoption Service on (01983) 525790. - Related Link

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Question: Do you need a certain amount of money to be able to adopt?

Answer: No – there are no minimum income or savings criterion for adoption. However, during the assessment you will be asked to show that you are financially secure enough to be able to meet the needs of a child or children placed in your care.

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Question: How is a child’s contact with birth relatives managed?

Answer: Every child’s circumstances are different but many children have letterbox contact once or twice a year with a birth relative. Some children (particularly for older children) may need to have face-to-face contact with birth relatives (usually birth siblings) even after they have been adopted and the arrangements for this will vary from child to child.

Your assessing Social Worker will also help you to consider the benefits and challenges that contact with birth relatives may raise for you and your adopted child(ren). Some adopters are happy to involve some birth relatives, other adopters find this more difficult; your assessing Social Worker will help you to think about the level of birth family contact that you would be able to manage.


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Question: I have a disability or long-term medical condition, can I adopt a child?

Answer: Yes – We welcome applications from people from a variety of backgrounds, including adults who may have a disability or medical condition. We recognise that there are many adults who have disabilities or medical conditions that are able to parent well. We also appreciate that parenting is physically and emotionally demanding, all applicants are required to attend a medical to ensure that they are fit, well and able to make a life-long commitment to a child or children.


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Question: Is there an age limit to adopt?

Answer: In order to be considered to be an adopter, you must be at least 21 years old. While there is no upper age limit it is important to remember that adoption is a life-long commitment and all applicants will be required to attend a medical to ensure that they are fit and well enough to cope with the emotional and physical demands of parenting.

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Question: What checks and assessments will be carried out and will you be contacting my family and friends?

Answer: There are a number of checks that we are legally required to make in every case.

If you apply to become an adopter, a Social Worker will complete an assessment called a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). A lot of the information in the PAR will come from the discussions that you have with your assessing Social Worker. Your assessing Social Worker will also undertake other checks, such as an enhanced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau), we will look at our own records to see if you are known to the Isle of Wight Council’s Children’s Services and we may contact other Local Authorities if you have lived or are living on the mainland. A health and safety checklist will be undertaken and, if needed, your assessing Social Worker will be able to offer you advice on how to ensure your home is safer for children (e.g. use of stair gates, socket covers, the storage of cleaning products etc).

Your assessing Social Worker will ask you to provide a list of 6 people (friends and family) who are able to give you a personal reference. All of these individuals will be asked to provide a written reference, and some may be interviewed by your assessing Social Worker.

If you already have children, your Social Worker will want to talk to them during the assessment process. If you have been married or lived with a previous partner, if appropriate, we may ask to speak to them.

We will ask your current and previous employers for a reference.

Depending on your specific circumstances other kinds of checks may be made, and your assessing Social Worker will explain what these are and why they are needed.


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Question: I do not live on the Isle of Wight, can I still be assessed by the Isle of Wight Council’s Adoption Service?

Answer: Yes – We welcome applications from couples and individuals who do not live on the Isle of Wight.

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Question: How long will the adoption process take?

Answer: The time the process takes can vary but, on average, those seeking to adopt can expect to wait about two to three years between the time they first apply to when an adoption order is granted.



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Question: I'm single. Does that mean that I am not eligible to adopt?

Answer: People that wish to adopt may come from very different backgrounds and have very varied life experiences. We welcome applications from both single persons and from those who are in stable and permanent relationships, including same sex couples.


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Question: Do I have to be married to adopt?

Answer: No. We welcome applications from men and women who are married, in a civil partnership, living together or single.

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Question: Will having a criminal record prevent me from being able to adopt?

Answer: If you have offences against children, you will not be able to adopt. All applicants will have agreed to an enhanced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check being carried out prior to an assessment being undertaken. If you have a criminal record, the circumstances of the offence, the type of offence and how recently it was committed will all be taken in to consideration.

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Question: Should the child be told they are adopted?

Answer: It is important that children are aware that they are adopted and they should be given age appropriate information in relation to this. There is no set timeframe or process for telling a child that they are adopted, however, BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) have a wide range of books to purchase online that may support adopters in helping their child make sense of their adoption. Support in this can also be provided by the Isle of Wight Adoption Service.

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Question: Is there any financial help after the adoption?

Answer: Once an Adoption Order is granted, adoptive parents are entitled to the same benefits that birth parents are entitled to claim for their children, including Child Benefit. There are no benefits specifically relating to being an adoptive parent or an adopted child.

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Question: Will an adopted child have difficult behaviour?

Answer: Many children placed for adoption have had difficult early lives and therefore may have some emotional difficulties which they express in their behaviour. It is important to consider what level of complexity you and your family feel able to manage. During your assessment, your Social Worker will explore this with you in more detail. It is important that you establish what help will be available to you as your child grows up although it is not always easy to predict what help you will need and when you will need it. Post Adoption Support is also available from the Isle of Wight Adoption Service.

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Question: Will we be able to adopt a baby?

Answer: There are very few babies available for adoption in this country. For a number of reasons, it is unusual for a child to be placed for adoption under the age of 1 year and most children are older. If you want to adopt a baby, it is likely that you will have a lengthy wait. We feel it is important that adopters make informed decisions about things like the age of the child that they hope to adopt so, during your assessment, your Social Worker will help you to look closely at these issues.

According to BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) statistics out of the 3,050 children who were adopted from care during the year ending 31st March 2011 only 60 of these were under 1 year old.


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Question: Do I need a spare room to adopt?

Answer: Yes, this is an essential requirement to adopt a child. It is important that the child have a space they can identify as their own.

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Question: Do I need to have previous childcare experience?

Answer: Yes this is an essential requirement. We ask that the applicant have previous experience either professionally, personally or voluntarily. The Island's Adoption Service can suggest organisations which can help with this experience.

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Question: Can I adopt if I smoke? (including E-Cigarettes)

Answer: If you smoke you will not be allowed to adopt a child under the age of five or a child with a health condition or disability. We ask that you smoke outside and away from the child. If you are trying to give up smoking we ask that you are able to give evidence for up to 12 months that you have given up smoking if you wish to adopt a child under five or a child with a health condition or disability.

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Question: Can I adopt if I have my own children?

Answer: Yes, in fact many looked after children benefit from a family environment. Each member of your household will be considered during the assessment process as we need to take into account the wishes and feelings of your child/children to ensure that it is the right decision for them too.

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Question: What about people having fertility treatment or counselling?

Answer: We recognise that the process of fertility treatment can be an emotionally draining time and it can take time to adjust to news about your fertility treatment. For this reason, if you have recently received fertility treatment or have experienced a miscarriage we ask that you take the appropriate time to decide on whether you are ready to engage in the adoption process. We can discuss this with you and look at your individual circumstances to see if you are ready to embark on this journey.

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Question: Can I adopt if I have pets?

Answer: Yes, they will be taken into consideration during the assessment process.

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