Agencies are looking for adopters all of the time and for persons who have the physical and mental energy to care for demanding children, and whose lifestyles suggest they will still have that energy when the child is a teenager or young adult. Older children are among those who wait longest and are at higher risk of never being placed in a new family unit, so adoption agencies are keen to hear from people who can give a permanent and loving home to an older child.

Wondering if you would be eligible?

  • There is no upper age limit to adopt but adopters need to be at least 21 years old and have the potential to provide care and support for the child through to adulthood.


  • Perhaps you are single. That is, of course, not a problem – children have been adopted into stable, loving homes by single parents, whatever their gender or sexual orientation, for many years. Since 30th December 2005 unmarried couples in England and Wales can apply to adopt jointly.


  • Disabilities or not, you can still adopt. Health problems and disabilities are not barriers to adoption, provided you can care for the child you adopt. Everyone does need to have a medical examination, however, and health issues will need to be explored.


  • Renting, or worried about space? To become an adopter in England, you don’t need to be a home-owner, and you may have priority for council housing. If you have the space and security to care for children as they grow up then you will always be considered.


  • Wage is no barrier. Being on a low income or indeed state benefits should not stop you from becoming an adopter. You may, in fact, be eligible for Tax Credits or other state benefits and allowances, such as Disability Living Allowance or Carers Allowance if you to adopt a child with a disability.


  • You can adopt if you already have children – and you can adopt more than one child at once – some children will have siblings also waiting to be adopted.


  • You need to have been living in the British Isles for a least 12 months to apply for an adoption order.


  • Criminal record?  A record of offences will need to be carefully looked into, however apart from a number of offences against children, having a criminal record in itself will not necessarily rule someone out.


  • Pets are allowed! Provided your pet does not pose a threat to the child’s health or safety, then it can be an excellent addition to the family.

Ethnic matching

There are children from many different backgrounds waiting to be adopted. As long as you meet the child’s needs you can adopt children of any ethnicity. It is essential that any family with whom a child is placed is in a strong position to meet the child’s emotional, identity, health and development needs. Over many years, research and practice experience indicates that children usually thrive and do best when brought up in a family that reflects or promotes their ethnic, cultural or religious identity. What this means in practice is that efforts are made to find a family that reflects or can promote the child’s identity. This search will always need to be balanced against the importance of minimising any delay in placing the child.

Time scale

It’s quicker than you think! In fact, you can become approached as an adopter within six months and can have a child placed with you within three months after that.