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There are many myths which surround adoption, and some people who may be interested in becoming an adoptive parent rule themselves out before they’ve even begun their journey. Here, we bust some of those myths and hopefully offer some reassurance about your eligibility for adoption…
There is no upper age limit for adopting a child – the only age-related stipulation for adoption is that you must be over 21 years of age. We will need to see that you are in good health and likely to be able to support an adopted child into adulthood, but many people in their 40s and 50s have successfully adopted children.
Lisa & Stuart were both in their 40s when they adopted siblings with SFCS.
The law allows adoption orders to be granted to same sex couples and single people of any sexual orientation or gender identity. SFCS warmly welcomes adoption enquiries from couples and individuals, whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay or transgender.
Single people are able to adopt on their own, and SFCS warmly welcomes enquiries from single people of any gender. As part of the assessment process, we will discuss the support you have from your family, friends, neighbours and community.
Marie never expected to adopt as a single person… but she did!
If you want to adopt as a couple, it isn’t necessary for you to be married or in a civil partnership. It is usually recommended that you and your partner have lived together for at least one year before beginning your adoption journey, but as long as you can demonstrate that you are in a stable, enduring and resilient relationship, you will be able to apply together to become adoptive parents.
You don’t need to be a homeowner in order to adopt a child. As long as you have a stable rental agreement in the property you’re renting, you can be considered for adoption.
Ideally, you will need a spare bedroom for an adopted child; it is important that they have a space which they can call their own. It can also be particularly helpful when adopting a slightly older child, as relationships with existing children in the family can take time to settle down.
It’s not necessarily true that being a full-time worker will exclude you from becoming an adoptive parent.
It is true that you (or your partner, if you are adopting as a couple) would be encouraged to take an extended period of adoption leave from work, to help your new child to feel safe, settled and secure in their new family.
We encourage adopters to think about how they will manage financially whilst taking time off work. People who are employed are entitled to paid adoption leave, but those who are self-employed will particularly need to consider how they will balance the need to work and the need to offer a child that vital stability early on in the placement.
We are here to support you as you work through these considerations, so please talk to us about any concerns you have.
Your financial stability and money-management abilities will be discussed during the adoption assessment, but being unemployed, on a low income or on benefits will NOT automatically exclude you from becoming an adoptive parent.
If your job has been affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and / or you have been furloughed during the last few months, this will not automatically rule you out either. Please discuss your situation openly with us, and we will support and advise you.
In some circumstances, financial support may be available from the agency placing the child, so please talk to us before ruling yourself out.
Having birth children will not necessarily prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent too. The age gap between your birth children and any prospective adoptive children will be considered, as will each child’s position within the family. Usually, agencies would want an adopted child to be the youngest in the family by at least two years.
We will work closely with you to ensure that the needs of ALL the children involved are recognised.
Michaela & Russell adopted a sibling group of three, having already had two birth children.
Adopters can be of any or no religious faith. Children who are waiting for adoption come from many different backgrounds, cultures and religions, and adoption agencies accordingly welcome adopters from all walks of life.
Research has shown that people of faith can be particularly motivated by altruism and a wish to care for the vulnerable, which is obviously a positive thing when it comes to adoption.
Mahmood & Parveen are Muslim adopters whose faith was particularly important when it came to their decision to adopt.
Living with extended family members can be a real bonus for adoptive parents, especially in terms of the support they can offer. But those family members will need to be part of the assessment process and they must understand the particular needs which adopted children may have. They may be asked to attend some appropriate training and make sure they’re around when the child is introduced to the family for the first time.
Having a mental health condition will not automatically rule you out from adopting. Any health condition, mental or physical, would need to be discussed fully during the assessment, and all prospective adopters will have a medical in the early stages of the process. This will help us understand your condition, any issues relating to your ability to adopt a child and how well supported you are by your family and friends.
Many people have short periods of depression, anxiety or stress in their lives and others have longer term mental health conditions which are well managed with medication. Our focus will always be to assess your ability to meet a child’s needs in a consistent way and to consider how the stress of adopting a child will affect your mental health. Talk openly with us and we will support you, regardless of the decision we make.
James & Will adopted siblings with SFCS, despite the fact that James suffered with depression two years before they applied.
Being disabled will NOT automatically exclude you from becoming an adoptive parent. Your medical will consider any issues you may experience with parenting an adopted a child, but in fact, you may have specific experience and understanding which would make you an especially good adoptive parent. Please talk to us before ruling yourself out.
Many adopters who are overweight successfully adopt children. However, we do need to be sure that adopters are likely to remain healthy and active enough to parent a child into adulthood and that the child will have a healthy lifestyle too.
The medical you have during the assessment will comment upon your lifestyle, BMI and any potential health implications, but we guarantee that this will be discussed with you in a sensitive and respectful way.
It isn’t necessarily true that a criminal record will prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent. As long as you have no convictions for offences against children or certain sexual offences against an adult, your application may still be considered. Talk to us first, be completely honest, and we will advise you further.
Your participation in the process of finding the right child for you and your family is essential. It is in everyone’s best interests for adoption placements to be a success, so SFCS will work with you to ensure the best possible match for you, your family, and – most importantly – the adopted child.
As part of their story, Louise & Jake share their views on the importance of parental input in the matching process.
SFCS offers lifelong support to its adoptive children and their families. Our adopters can access regular training workshops, an adopter ‘Buddy’ scheme and a range of social events. There is also more specialised one-to-one support whenever it’s needed – from surgery appointments, through Theraplay sessions, to counselling. We’re here for you every step of the way.
Elaine is a single adopter who has accessed various SFCS adoption support services since becoming a mum.
St. Francis' Children's Society is first and foremost committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and expects all prospective adopters to share this commitment. All applicants must be willing to undergo safeguarding checks including DBS checks and Local Authority checks. This is to ensure that no adopter is approved who may pose a risk to children or is otherwise unsuitable.