Common adoption myths

There are a lot of misconceptions about adoption. From the people who can adopt to the support that’s available, we’ve debunked some of the most common myths surrounding adoption.

Myth #1
I’m too old to adopt

Whilst adopters need to be over 21 years of age, there is no upper age limit. Of course, there’s an expectation that you’re healthy so that you can see your children through to an age of independence. Many people in their 40s, 50s and older have successfully adopted children.

Myth #2
I can’t adopt because I’m LGBTQ+

We warmly welcome and encourage enquiries from same sex couples and single people who identify themselves within the LGBTQ+ community. The law allows adoption orders to be granted to same sex couples and single people of any sexual orientation or gender identity.

Myth #3
I can’t adopt because I’m single

You don’t need to be in a relationship to adopt, we’ve helped many single people through the adoption process over the years. As part of your assessment, we will discuss and further explore the support you have from your family, friends, neighbours and community.

Myth #4
We’re not married, so we can’t adopt

Adopting as a couple does not necessarily mean that you must be married or in a civil partnership. It is usually recommended that you and your partner have lived together for at least 2 years before you put in a registration of interest form, and you will need to demonstrate that you’re in a stable, enduring and resilient relationship.

Myth #5
I don’t own my home, so I wouldn’t be allowed to adopt

You don’t need to own your home in order to adopt a child, as long as you have a stable rental agreement. We’ll need to see that you have enough space for a child in your home, and it’s best for a child to have his/her own bedroom and some space to play but we can be flexible about this depending on the age of the child or his/her experiences. For example, children who have experienced a difficult early start may need to have their own room from the outset in order to feel reassured and safe whereas this may be different for a baby.

Myth #6
I already have birth children living at home, so I wouldn’t be considered

Having birth children will not exclude you from adopting, whether they are grown up or living at home with you. However, consideration will need to be given to the ages of your birth children and the age gap between them and the child/children you wish to adopt.

Myth #7
I work full time, or I’m unemployed/on benefits so can’t adopt

Your financial circumstances and employment status will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment, but you won’t automatically be ruled out just based on unemployment or a low income.

If you are employed, you will be expected to take an extended period of adoption leave from work, to ensure that the child placed with you is settled and feels safe and secure. Statutory adoption pay and adoption leave is available for adoptive parents – your employer will be able to tell you more about your entitlements.

If you are unemployed, we’ll discuss your financial stability and money management abilities with you.

Myth #8
Because I follow a particular faith/religion, adoption can’t be an option for me

Adopters can be of any or no religious faith. Children who are waiting for their forever home come from many different backgrounds, cultures and religions, and we welcome adopters from all walks of life.

Myth #9
I come from a BAME (black and minority ethnic) heritage or a mixed race heritage and therefore will not be considered as an adopter

Children waiting to be adopted come from various backgrounds and heritages, and sadly, children from BAME heritage often wait the longest to be adopted. We welcome adopters from all ethnic backgrounds, to enable children to be matched with adopters who they can identify with culturally, visually and emotionally.

Myth #10
I have a mental health condition, so I won’t be allowed to adopt

Having a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety will not automatically rule you out from adopting. Any health condition, mental or physical will need be taken into consideration when you make your application, to ensure that you are able to meet the needs of a child.

Myth #11
I can’t adopt because I have a criminal record

If you have a criminal caution or conviction for offences against children or certain sexual offences against adults, then you will not be able to adopt. However, other offences will not necessarily rule you out. It’s important that you’re honest with us about your criminal record so we can talk to you about what it means for you.

Myth #12
I wouldn’t be considered to adopt because I have a disability

Being disabled will not automatically exclude you from becoming an adoptive parent. All applicants require a medical with their GP, and all applications will be considered on an individual basis.

Myth #13
I can’t adopt because I smoke/vape

Smoking or vaping will not necessarily prevent you from adopting, but it will severely restrict your chances of having any child placed with you post-approval.

Children under 5 will not be placed with adopters who smoke or vape, however much they smoke or where they smoke. You will need to have been smoke or vape free for at least 12 months before putting in a registration of interest if you are interested in adopting a child under 5 years of age.

Myth #14
I have pets, therefore cannot be considered as an adopter

Pets are part of the family too, and we welcome adopters with pets that are family friendly. We would need to consider your current family circumstances when matching you with your future child/children, and all pets will be subject to a risk assessment. During the assessment, you will be asked to consider the alternative plan with your pets, if an issue was to arise between the pets and the child/children after they are placed with you.

Myth #15
Once we’ve adopted, we’ll be on our own, and we won’t get any help

Nothing could be further from the truth. We have dedicated post adoption support workers within the team to ensure lifelong support to our adoptive children and families. Our adopters can access training workshops, an adopter ‘buddy’ scheme and a range of social events, as well as more specialised targeted support such as that provided by the TESSA Program (Therapeutic Education Support Services in Adoption) and/or the Connect Service (a national service for adopted children and young people).

We also have Therapeutic Family Support Workers who work with children and families to provide practical and emotional support via a range of therapeutic interventions. By working directly with children and their families we can help them develop a better understanding of the issues they face and support them to build stronger relationships.

Many adoptive families will require advice and/or support at different stages throughout their journey.  Importantly, all adoptive families are entitled to request an assessment of adoption support needs and do not need to be in crisis before contacting us.

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