The adoption process
Adoption is a big decision. We aim to make the process towards being approved as an adoptive parent and becoming a new family as smooth as possible.
We recommend reading and doing your research about adoption beforehand, so you know what to expect as you start your adoption journey. This website is full of information about what to expect when you adopt with Coram.
We also recommend you read our handy Adoption Information Pack, which is packed with useful information:
If you are unsure about any of the language we use when describing adoption, please check our Adoption Glossary for unfamiliar terms.
You can also visit First4Adoption which has easy-to-follow information about the adoption process as well as self-preparation tools, to help you understand how to adopt and if adoption is right for you.
Get in touch
You can contact us by phone or email.
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.
Attend an 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.
Become an adopter
After your initial interview, you will be offered a Registration of Interest Form to complete and return, so we can begin our 6 month assessment of you as an adopter.
If you don't meet the criteria at this stage, you will be told what steps you may need to take in order to be considered as an adopter in future.
When your Registration of Interest is accepted, we will expect you to be available to start your assessment as soon as possible. This means that if you need to make changes, for example to your home or workplace, we would usually advise you to do this before you register your interest to adopt.
Once your Registration of Interest is accepted, you will be allocated one of our experienced social workers. Your social worker will work with you and get to know what your strengths as an adopter are likely to be.
We work within the statutory two-stage framework put in place by the Government.
Stage 1: Checks and References
This first stage is centred on taking up statutory checks and references with the authorities as well as people you know and will take no longer than 2 months.
We will contact the police, your local authority, your employers (where appropriate) and your landlord or mortgage company. We will also 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.
Training is also provided which will support you in thinking about exactly what is involved in adopting the children in care who need adoptive families.
Once we have collected all this information and discussed your application with you, we will make a decision on whether to proceed to Stage 2. 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 needing families.
Stage 2: Getting to know you more
In 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 kinds of children 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. This stage takes 4 months.
Once the assessment is completed, your social worker will present a report that will lay out your strengths as an adopter to the Independent Adoption Panel. The panel is made up of experienced adopters as well as people who have knowledge of relevant areas of adoption and a medical adviser. They will consider all the information gathered during the approval process and make a recommendation on your suitability to be an adoptive parent to our decision maker. You will have the opportunity to comment on the report and to attend the panel if you wish.
Matching you with a child
Once you are approved to adopt, we will begin the search for a child whose needs you can meet.
Children may be found in a number of ways:
- Local authorities across the UK who are seeking adopters for children in their care. This includes our partnerships with Bromley, the City of London, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster, Redbridge and Waltham Forest in London.
- through Adoption UK
- attending an Adoption Activity Day
- using the Link-maker service
The next stage is 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, and your social worker will be there to help and advise you through the process.
Initial visits and moving in
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.
Then your child or children move in and there is a period of living together, during which we will continue to visit and support you.
After a minimum of 10 weeks, you can make the adoption legal and apply to the court for an Adoption Order.
Building your future
The coming weeks and months will be extremely exciting but also challenging, sometimes in unexpected ways. That’s why we’re always there to provide a helping hand.
Our experienced support team provide a wide range of practical support strategies as well as emotional support to all our adoptive families for as long as they need it.