Who can Adopt?
You need to be 21 or over to adopt. There’s no upper age limit, providing you're healthy enough and have the necessary energy, time and commitment to offer a child.
It does not matter if you are married, single or living with a partner. If you are in a relationship we ask that it is an enduring one.
You can be straight, lesbian, gay or transgender. Your sexuality is not an issue.
You could have a disability and be a successful adoptive parent. Together we will explore your ability to meet a child's needs.
You may be with or without children of your own. Previous experience of caring for a child can be an advantage but is not essential.
You don’t need to be wealthy, have a wage or own your own home to adopt as long as you have enough space to comfortably accommodate a child and are able to support them financially.
You can be from any culture, ethnic, religious or social background.
What’s far more important is that you can:
- provide a child with love, security and a safe environment through to their adulthood and beyond
- feel empathy with a child
- be non-judgmental about the child, their background, and their birth family
- have the ability to meet the social, emotional and physical needs of a child
- help a child develop a sense of identity and self worth by supporting and facilitating contact with their birth family, for example through the secure exchange of letters through our letterbox scheme
- be a positive role model
- be an advocate for a child
Some people are reluctant to enquire about adoption as they feel that they won’t be eligible, and rule themselves out because of hearsay or common myths. So we would encourage you to speak to us first. We are more than happy to discuss any worries or issues you may have.
Which children need a family to adopt them?
There are many reasons why children of all ages come into care. Their parents may have experienced problems which make it difficult for them to cope. This may be due to a family illness, mental health issues or other social problems associated with alcohol or substance misuse or domestic violence. Many children are likely to have experienced abuse or neglect before being brought into the care system. Whatever the reasons, all of them will have experienced loss and separation from their birth family and will need your understanding, support and love. Some children will return to their families once these difficulties have been resolved but for other children permanent alternative care must be found. For many of these children living in an adoptive family is the best option.
When people think about adoption most people think about babies. However, in reality, of the estimated 4,000 children across the UK in need of adoption every year many are of school age and over half of them are brothers and sisters who need to be placed together. These children are from a great variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Currently within Sefton around 50 children are in need of adoptive placements. Although we need adoptive families for children of all ages we have a particular need for people who can offer a loving home to:
- Children 4 years and older
- Brothers and sisters who need to stay together
- Children with uncertain developmental futures
- Children with additional medical needs
- Children from ethnic minority groups
Will there be contact?
Most children will need to maintain some level of contact with their birth parents in order to promote their self-esteem and identity. There are two types of contact in adoption, direct and indirect:
Indirect Contact - The majority of time contact is indirect through the confidential exchange of letters between the adoptive family and birth family, facilitated by the Adoption Support Service.
Direct Contact - Face to face contact between the child and their birth family can sometimes be appropriate and enhance the adoptive placement but usually only when the child has a positive relationship with a member of their birth family. This person, either a parent or relative, must also be in agreement with the plan for adoption and be able to support the adoptive placement.
Find out the answers to some of our frequently asked questions about adoption.