Steps to adoption | Oxfordshire County Council

Steps to adoption

The following steps outline the adoption process.

Children hugging

Adoption can be the most amazing thing you ever do but there is a lot to think about.  It is important that you take time to think things through and talk it over with your family and friends.

Thinking about adoption

Your initial enquiry

Everybody is welcome to find out more about adoption. Call 0800 7835724 and speak to our enquiry officer. During your telephone conversation you will be asked a few questions - and you will also be sent an information brochure.

Meet the team

If now is the right time we will invite you to an information meeting, these are held every month. We will also offer you a phone call, where you'll have the opportunity to speak to an adoption social worker to ask any questions that you have and discuss your situation.

Stage 1 - Registering your interest and initial checks

Stage 1 takes two months

Discussing it in more detail

If we think you may be able to meet the needs of our children, you will be invited to complete a registration of interest form.  This will help us decide if it is the right time for you to proceed to stage 1 of the application process.

Checks, medicals and references

If your application is accepted then we will carry out the necessary checks and references including the Disclosure and Barring Service (formally CRB).

We will ask you to arrange for a full medical examination with your general practitioner and we will also obtain three or more written references from people who know you well. We will contact at least two of these referees during the process.

We may require a housing reference if you live in rented accommodation. We may request a reference from your employers and the schools attended by any children in your household.

If you have previously been in a significant relationship and had child/children with them or if you have cared for children with a previous partner will contact them for a reference.

Gaining more experience

We encourage you to get as much experience with children as possible, this could be by volunteering at local schools, nurseries and other activities such as rainbows, beavers, cubs, brownies etc. If possible we would recommend you seek voluntary experience with children within the age range that you are considering adopting.

We ask that you complete at least six sessions of voluntary experience before commencing Stage 2 and that you continue volunteering during Stage 2 of the assessment.

At the end of stage 1 a decision will be made regards to your application.

Stage 2 - the assessment

This stage takes four months

The assessment

"The assessment allows you to acknowledge habits you didn't even know you had, and work out how not to pass them on to others. But you also come to realise how much you already know that's valuable and useful. By the end of home study, you won't need your mentor, because you'll be ready and feel ready for the real test - becoming an adoptive parent."

An adoption social worker will conduct a full assessment that involves a series of interviews. By getting to know you really well we will be able to complete your prospective adopters report with you which will be presented to the adoption panel. If concerns arise during your assessment we will share these with you and you will be given the opportunity to address them.

Training and preparation

You will be expected to attend training and preparation workshops during stage one to learn more about adoption.  These are to give you a better understanding of what is involved and also a time to reflect on your own life experiences. You will have the opportunity to meet other adopters to hear their views and also the views of an adopted child.

Either towards the end of the assessment or afterwards, you will be invited to attend a ten week parenting skills course, which will help you be more prepared and also give you the opportunity to spend time with others who are going through the same process.

Being approved by the adoption panel

You will be invited to attend our adoption panel and a recommendation will be made as to your suitability to becoming an adopter, the final decision is then made by the agency decision maker.

Matching you to a child

Once you are approved, the agency will look at the children waiting for adoption and who might be a suitable match for you and the child. You will be given information about the adoption register, Link Maker and children within our consortium. If we are unable to find a child to match with you, you may then wish to join the adoption register and Link Maker.

Additionally, there may be the chance to attend adoption activity days.

Linking and placement

Once a suitable child or children have been identified, you will be given full information about their background and, if you want to proceed, the link is presented to panel. After a period of introduction, your adoptive child or children will come to live with you and become part of your family. Your adoption agency will continue to offer support and advice after placement, and will be responsible for visiting and supervising you until the adoption is finalised in court.

The Adoption Order

When your adoptive child has successfully settled with your family, you will be able to apply to the court for an Adoption Order to be made. Once the order is made, you will have full legal responsibility as the child’s new parents.

If you wish to apply to become an adopter or ask for more information, you can complete an online form.

Last reviewed
04 May 2016
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