Can I adopt?

There is no such thing as the ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ adoptive family

We are interested in what you have to offer a child who needs adopting rather than your marital status, finances, whether you own a house or already have children.

Children who need adoption come from a variety of backgrounds, so we need adopters with a wide range of knowledge, skills, and lifestyles.

There are many myths and misconceptions about adoption.

It doesn’t matter if you are married, divorced, living with a partner, or single; or if you own or rent your home. Nor does it matter if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or if you identify as female, male or transgender.

You don’t have to follow any religion and people from all ethnic origins are needed.

Disabled people are not excluded and often experience of disability will be positively welcomed.

Try our ‘Ready to adopt?’ checker to learn more about who can adopt and when the time might be right for you.

So, take a look below, and discover if your answer is “Yes, I can adopt!”


Adopters need to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit.

We will expect you to have the health and vitality to see your children through to an age of independence.

Living in the UK

You do not have to be a British citizen to adopt a child, but:

  • you (or your partner, if you’re a couple) must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK
  • you (and your partner, if you’re a couple) must have lived in the UK for at least one year before you begin the application process.

Marital status

Married or unmarried couples (including same-sex), couples in civil partnerships and single people can apply to adopt.

The stability and permanency of any relationship you are in is our only concern.


Your financial circumstances and employment status will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment, but low income, being unemployed or employed do not automatically rule you out. You can be an adoptive parent while on benefits.


You can adopt whether you rent or own your own home.

Your home must be secure and in a suitable condition for children to live in and have the space to accommodate a child.

Adopted children will need their own bedroom, however if they are joining your family as a sibling group it may be possible for them to share a room as siblings if they have previously done so.

You will need to know if your house is flexible enough to grow and change as your child/ren grow and change.

Do you already have children?

It is a great asset to have had experience of looking after children when applying to adopt so having children of your own will certainly not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up.

Consideration will, however, be given to the age gap between your own children and the age of the child(ren) you wish to adopt.

Any birth children in the family will need to be at least two years old. This is because an adopted child needs to be the youngest in the family, often by a couple of years.

Religion and ethnicity

You can be of any religion or ethnicity.

We will take any religious beliefs into consideration when placing a child to ensure any placement meets with the beliefs of both child and parents, where required.

Your health and wellbeing

If you have a medical condition, or have had a recent life event such as a bereavement, a major illness, or anything that may impact your emotional health, please let us know from the start.

If you have been having infertility treatment, such as IVF, we would normally expect this to have ended before you apply to adopt. We prefer you to wait at least six months between your treatment ending and formally applying to become an adopter.

As part of the adoption assessment process, you will be required to have a medical assessment.


Being disabled will not automatically exclude anyone from becoming an adopter and it is recognised that people with disabilities are able to provide a very loving home for a child.

Your general health or any disability you may have must still enable you to meet the challenges our children may bring. Your health will be assessed on this basis. Please let us know about your health as early as possible.

Criminal background

If you have been convicted of serious offences such as offences against children, murder, serious sexual offences or serious fraud then you will not be able to adopt.

With the exception of these specified offences, a criminal record will not necessarily rule you out. The key is to be totally honest in your application.

Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks will be undertaken during the application process.