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-follow information about the adoption process as well self-preparation tools, to help you understand how to adopt and if adoption is right for you.

Adoption Next Steps

So you have chosen to adopt, what happens next?  

Research thoroughly

Read our Information Pack, which is full of information about what to expect when you adopt with Coram. 

Download our Adoption Information Pack

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.

Making contact

You can contact us by phone or email, or via the Contact Us page on this website.  Then after a telephone discussion with a duty social worker, we will offer you the opportunity to attend an initial interview within 10 days. 

At this meeting a social worker will discuss with you in more detail what is involved and answer any questions you may have. There is also the opportunity to attend an information meeting with other people who are interested in adopting, and you will receive an information pack.

Registering interest and assessment

Same sex female adopters on bench with child standing in frontAt the initial interview you will be given a Registration of Interest Form.  When you feel ready you can return the form to us and we will begin our assessment of you as an adopter. One of our social workers will work with you and get to know what your strengths as an adopter are likely to be. This is known as 'Stage 1' of the two-stage process to being approved as an adopter. 

Stage 1 – the basics

During Stage 1 of the approval process we will take up checks and references with the police, the local authority, your employers (where appropriate) and your landlord or mortgage company. We will ask you to supply us with the details of people who can comment on your suitability to adopt and ask you to take a medical and complete a self-assessment questionnaire. You will also be invited to training designed to support you in thinking about exactly what is involved in adopting children who need new families. 

Once we have collected all this information we will make a decision, after discussion with you, as to whether to take your application on to Stage 2 of the approval process. Your social worker will let you know our decision verbally and in writing.

The Government has designed this two-stage process to ensure that those who enter Stage 2 are in a position to move forward with their application and are likely to be approved as adopters for the kinds of children requiring families.

Stage 2 – getting to know you more

Couple sitting on sofa talking to a woman with back to cameraIn this stage of the approval process our social worker will visit you at home and  talk through with you why you want to adopt, the kind of child you would best be able to care for and your overall strengths and suitability. You will also be invited to attend more detailed training to prepare you for adoption.

Once the assessment is completed, your social worker will write a report for an independent Adoption Panel.The panel is made up of adoption experts and experienced adopters who will consider all the information gathered during the approval process and make a recommendation on your suitability to be an adoptive parent. You will have the opportunity to comment on the report and to attend the panel if you wish.

Becoming a family

Dad with two children getting breakfast in their kitchenOnce you are approved to adopt, we will begin the search for a child whose needs you can meet. You will meet the child’s social worker so you can find out more about him or her - it is important that you feel positive about the child and also that the child’s social worker feels that you would be well placed to care for the child.

Detailed information is exchanged before decisions are made. Children may be found via:

  • Local authorities across the UK who are seeking adopters for children in their care. This includes our partnerships with Thurrock, Redbridge and Harrow in London.
  • The National Adoption Register for England and Wales, a database of children needing families (find out more with Adoption Match)
  • Adoption UK
  • Direct referrals to Coram from local authorities.

Settling in together

Before children join their new family, there is time for the parent/s and children to get to know each other through a programme of visits. There is also a period of living together during which we will continue to visit and support you until the time feels right to apply to the court for an Adoption Order.

Building your future

We offer our adoptive families a lifetime of support including emotional and practical help. Find out more about our post-adoption support here.

Adopting a baby through early permanence

Coram also runs an acclaimed early permanence service, which is another way of providing care and stability for babies. This process is different from adoption. 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.

Find out more about early permanence