City, town and village > Procedures > The Step-by-Step Process of Adopting a Child in the UK


How to Adopt A Child in the UK

More people are settling for adoption as a way of having children. In the UK, this process has been normalized, allowing more people to have a chance at parenting a child that would otherwise be given to the government and miss the opportunity to experience parental love.

If you’ve been considering adopting a child, here’s an overview of the stages of adoption you may have to go through before completing the adoption process.

How to Adopt A Child in the UK

How the Adoption System Works

Child adoption is the process by which you legally take up a child whose birth parents cannot care for them. The UK adoption system allows anyone to adopt a child as long as you or your partner has permanent residence in the country, Isle of Man, or Channel Islands.

Anyone intending to adopt a child in the UK may also have access to the adoption fund. This is monetary help for both adopting parents and children to get counselling, which will improve character, relationships, and confidence between both parties.

The Difference Between Adoption and Fostering

The UK government allows its residents and citizens to choose between adopting or fostering children. Both options allow kids to live with a family, but there’s a significant difference between them. Adopting is permanent, meaning the child you adopt becomes yours legally. As such, you’re responsible for their day-to-day needs, education, healthcare, and parenting.

When it comes to fostering a child, you are given charge over a child for some time, depending on the fostering you apply for. You can extend or terminate the adoption after the first term based on your experience or other circumstances surrounding the fostering.

Who Can Adopt a Child?

Adoption is open to anyone in the UK under one condition: you must be a resident of the country and must not have lived here for less than a year. You must undergo an assessment to ascertain that you can adopt a child before sealing the deal.

This service isn’t only available to couples or married people. If you’re single and would love to take up a child, the government allows you to do so. Nevertheless, you must comply with the law throughout the process and prove you can single-handedly raise and care for a child after adopting them.

Can You Adopt a Child Overseas?

Adopting a child overseas is legal in the UK. But there are specific guidelines you must follow to ensure a smooth process. The adoption agency has to ascertain whether it’s in the child’s best interest to be adopted by overseas parents or whether they can’t receive the best care in their native country. Another valid reason for adopting overseas is if a UK adoption agency has verified you as an eligible and suitable candidate to adopt abroad. If you’re looking to go this route, you should contact an adoption agency through your local council, a voluntary adoption agency, or a local health and social care trust.

Unfortunately, the UK government has restrictions against adopting from Cambodia, Nepal, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Guatemala, and here are the reasons for this ban. Nevertheless, you can request to adopt a child from a restricted country by writing a detailed letter to the government through your local council and following particular guidelines about this option.

The requirements and documentation needed to apply for adoption

The Requirements and Documentation Needed

One critical assessment stage is providing particular documents and attaining stipulated requirements for the adoption agency to move forward with the process. These requirements include:

  • Official government ID
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • • Prove you or your partner are domiciled in the UK
  • • Proof of financial stability (pay slips, bank statement)
  • • Be above 21 years
  • • A complete assessment
  • • Your criminal record
  • • Relevant application fees (Local or overseas adoption costs)
  • • Any other relevant information requested of you
  • • A filled form A58 or A59

How to Apply

The adoption process in the UK is completed through an adoption court order. You must use an adoption agency or local council to help you with the legal work. The first step will be to visit your preferred option (adoption agency or local board) for help.

Once you express your interest in adopting a child, the agency will give you form A58 to fill out and mail to the court. They’ll do a background check to assess your health, financial ability, and criminal record.

If you pass these three stages, the agency will book appointments for a social worker to visit your home unexpectedly to ascertain that your home is child-worthy. The social worker will ask questions, interview other family members and referees, and check your home to ascertain that you are ready to be a parent. Finally, the decision will be left to an adoption panel that will weigh all the variables and consider if you are the perfect fit.

What Happens After You Apply?

Once you apply to adopt a child, you can contact the adoption agency for more details regarding the request’s progress. If the application is a success, you will take over as the child’s parent, and they will assume all legal rights as those of a child born in your home.

You will also receive an adoption certificate to certify that you are the child’s legal parent. The possibility of not being successful is likely; in this case, the agency will notify you of the negative status of your application. If unsuccessful, you can appeal the decision or reapply for adoption once you have all the requirements in check.

Social worker interview for adoption

Cost And Processing Time

How long does adoption take, you ask? It is difficult to determine the time it takes to process an adoption request, considering that all cases differ. Therefore, you should note that these take a long since you must undergo a rigorous vetting process before being handed the child.

Adoption costs differ depending on the route you choose. If you want to adopt a child locally, getting the connection could cost you nothing. However, you may need to pay court, police, and health check fees. The case is slightly different when adopting overseas. You must pay £1,975 (Exclusive of VAT) to help with the processing.


Having a child is now possible for people who can’t have them or choose not to give birth to kids. The UK government allows interested parties to apply for this process in verified adoption agencies all over the UK or utilize the local council for help. If you are among those interested in adopting a kid, here’s where you can start.