Stage two – matching you with a child

Once you are approved to adopt, we will begin the search for a child whose needs you can meet. Sometimes we will already have a child in mind for you. This is great as it will make the matching process much shorter for you and will avoid unnecessary delay for a child.

Family finding can happen in a number of ways:

When we identify a child/ren who we and the child/ren’s social worker think is suitable for you, your social worker will exchange information with the child’s social worker. If this is deemed a suitable link for the child/ren a linking visit will take place. This is your opportunity to find out more about the child. You will get to see a video or photos of the child/ren in their foster home and get to meet key people in their life, such as their current foster carer.

Once you have all the information about the child and everyone is confident that this is the right match for the child, we will proceed to present the match to the adoption panel. The Adoption Panel from the child’s Local Authority will then meet and make a recommendation whether to approve your match, and the Agency Decision Maker will again make that final decision.

The matching process can take 3 months.

Meeting your child

The waiting is now over and you will get to meet your child for the first time. Before children join their new family, this is a time for adopter/s and children to get to know each other through a program of introductory visits. When you are both ready the child/ren will move from their foster family to join your family.

Once your child or children move in there is a period of living together, during which the agency will continue to visit and support you to get to know one another better.

The legal process / application to adopt

After a minimum of 10 weeks from when the child/ren was placed with you, you can take steps to make the adoption legal and apply to the court for an Adoption Order. Your social worker and the child’s social worker can help you to decide when the right time is to apply to the court. Once the court grants an Adoption Order all legal parental responsibility transfers to you and the child will then take your surname.

Building your future

The coming weeks and months will be extremely exciting but also challenging, sometimes in unexpected ways. Social workers will therefore continue to be available to provide a helping hand. They will be able to share a wide range of practical support strategies as well as emotional support to all adoptive families for as long as they need it.

If you’re interested in adoption, need additional support, or just want to ask us some questions, we’d love to hear from you.

You can also speak to an adoption worker for an informal chat, and we can then send you an information pack.

0800 085 0774