The adoption process

Adoption is a big decision. At Coram, we aim to make the process towards being approved as an adoptive parent and becoming a new family as smooth as possible. 

We work within the statutory framework put in place by the Government and are committed to providing a high standard of service for children and families. 

If you are unsure about the process, please check our helpful Adoption FAQs, or our Adoption Glossary for unfamiliar terms. 

You can also visit the First4Adoption website which has easy to read information about the adoption process, as well self-preparation tools to help you understand how to adopt, and if adoption is right for you.

So you have chosen to adopt, what happens next?  

Contact us

Couple sitting on sofa talking to a woman with back to camera

Once you have decided that adoption is right for you, the first step is to send us an email, fill in our contact form or get in touch using the contact details on this site. One of our experienced social workers will then call you and give you more information. You will receive an invitation to meet with a social worker within 10 days, to discuss what is involved face-to-face before proceeding. 

Meet our social workers at an adoption information event

We also encourage you to attend one of our adoption information events with other prospective adopters where you can find out more and hear from an adopter about their experiences. You can attend these meetings at any stage in the process.

Preparation and Assessment

All prospective adopters are assessed by Coram using the Government's two-stage adopter assessment process. 

Stage 1 - registration and checks (two months)

Adoption foldersOnce you have found out a bit more and are ready to go ahead with adoption, it's time to start the formal evaluation process. This includes registration and references and background checks. This stage will take no longer than two months. 

Once we have collected all this information we will decide with you whether to take your application on to Stage 2 of the assessment process.

The Government has designed this two-stage process to ensure that those who enter Stage 2 are likely to be approved as adopters for the kinds of children requiring families.

Stage 2 - assessment and approval (four months)

This is a four-month stage. Our social worker will visit you at home and you will be invited to a series of preparation groups that will help you explore the challenges and joys of being an adoptive parent. Our social worker will also work with you and your family, assessing your strengths and compiling a report for the Adoption Panel, which will make a recommendation about your suitability to adopt. You will have the opportunity to see and comment on the panel report and will be invited to attend the panel meeting.

It's a match!

Once you are approved to adopt, the next step is to find a child who is the best match possible for you. Information about children needing families will be shared with you and you will have the opportunity to discuss this with your social worker, and the child's social worker before decisions are made. Find out more about the matching process in Children waiting for adoption.

Becoming a family

Before children join their new family, there is time for the parent/s and children to get to know each other. There is also a period after the child comes to live with you when Coram and the local authority will visit you and support everyone until the time feels right to apply to court for an adoption order which legally completes the adoption process.

Help and support for your family

Dad with two children getting breakfast in their kitchenAt Coram we don't think of the adoption order as the end of the story. We recognise that adoptive families may need our support for many years to come. We offer a lifetime of support to all our adoptive families.

Read about our adoption support

Adopting a baby through Concurrent Planning

Coram also runs an acclaimed Concurrent Planning service, which is another way of providing care and stability for babies. The process for Concurrent Planning is different from adoption. In it, Coram places babies, referred by local authorities, with foster carers who have already been approved as adopters. Then if the courts decide the baby cannot live with the birth family the foster carers can go on to adopt the baby. We only do this with babies where there is a probability that they will need adoption, but it is the courts that make that final decision and there are occasions when the baby is returned to the birth family so we will help prepare you for that outcome.  If you are interested in finding out more about how you could become a Concurrent carer, then please see our Concurrent Planning information.

Read about our Concurrent Planning