There are many misconceptions about adoption. We’ve listed some of the most common below along with the myth-busting answers.
- 1. I’m single, so I can’t adopt
Single people can adopt, whatever their gender. Many single people and unmarried couples have successfully adopted children.
- 2. I’m too old to adopt
Adopters need to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit.
We will expect you though to have the health and vitality to see your children through to an age of independence.
Consideration will be given to your age comparative to the age of the child you want to adopt; younger children are more likely to be placed with younger parents.
- 3. I can’t adopt because I'm gay
Whether you are heterosexual or LGBTQ+, lesbian or gay is not a factor in your right to adopt.
- 4. I work full time so I’m not allowed to adopt/I’m unemployed or too poor to adopt
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.
- 5. 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 but, 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.
- 6. I have children living at home, so I won’t be able to adopt
Not true. 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 and the position of each child within the family in accordance with the child(ren)s’ needs.
- 7. I won’t be allowed to adopt because I can’t have my own children
If you have had or are undergoing fertility treatment most agencies will expect you to complete the treatment before considering adoption. The emotional demands in pursuing either route to parenthood can be great and doing both in tandem is not encouraged.
We will specify a set timescale between fertility treatment ending and formally applying to be approved as adopters.
- 8. I can’t adopt because I smoke
Smoking will not necessarily rule you out from adopting.
There is no single national policy on smoking. However, being a smoker will severely restrict your chances of having any child placed post-approval.
According to national medical advice children under five and those with particular medical conditions should not be placed in smoking households. You will usually need to be smoke-free for at least six months before adoption before these groups can be considered.
We want to make sure the child and you are in the best possible health to begin your life together. If you need support to stop smoking please seek advice from your GP.
- 9. I am disabled so will not be allowed to adopt
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 so don’t rule yourself out before you have had a conversation with us.
Even if you believe that you might need some additional assistance to adopt, an agency may be able to provide this support.
- 10. I can’t adopt a child from a different ethnic background
Not true. The aim for everyone in the adoption system is to find loving families for each child in need of a happy future, even if there is not a perfect ethnic match.
Ethnicity is relevant however and you must have an understanding of the challenges that raising a child of a different ethnicity can provide. Your agency will help prepare you for this if it applies to you.
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