Adoption FAQS

Our FAQs are designed to clear up confusion, and help dispel the myths around adoption…

Can I adopt if I'm single?Family shoes

Yes! Single people can adopt. There is nothing unusual about single parenting – around a quarter of households in the UK with dependent children are headed by a single parent. At Coram, we support adopters from a whole range of different family types through the process. If you are single and considering adopting, First4Adoption's handy factsheet 'Thinking of adopting if you are single' gives helpful information.  Visit our section - Who can adopt? Or watch single adopter Danielle tell her adoption story. 

Can we adopt if we are not married?

Adopters are welcome whether they are single, married or in a long term ‘live in’ relationship. At Coram we recommendthat if you are in a relationship that you will need to have lived together for at least three years prior to starting your adoption journey. Adopted children have often experienced considerable disruption in their lives and ensuring that your situation is stable is an important part of the assessment. Placing a child can challenge any relationship so there would need to be evidence that you have managed a variety of situations together.  We also welcome applications from single people who have support from family, friends or communities.

Can I adopt if I'm gay or trans?

Yes! Coram has been supporting LGBTQ+ couples and individuals to adopt for many years.  Adoption is open to people who can meet the needs of children waiting for adoptive families, and we welcome enquiries from all different types of adopters, from across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. Why not read our five facts on LGBT Adoption or watch our film of two dads talking about adopting their sons.

Can I adopt if I'm over 40?

Yes, there is no upper age limit to adopt a child. If you have the health and energy to support a child as they grow up, into adulthood and beyond, we want to hear from you! Get in touch or come to one of our information events.

Can I adopt if I am not, or my partner is not, a UK national?

Yes. We welcome enquiries from people who are UK residents, or who have been domiciled in the UK for least 12 months. Please contact us if you are interested in adopting but are unsure about your status.

Do I need to own my own property?

It is not essential to own your own property but if you don’t then you will need to evidence that there is a reasonable lease or tenancy agreement of at least 12 months on the property that you live in as well as living somewhere you plan to remain for some time in order to ensure stability for a child.  We do require you to have a spare bedroom for an adopted child.  

Can I adopt if I live with my extended family?

Living with extended family members can be beneficial and supportive for new parents but it will be essential those family members are a part of the assessment process and that they understand the needs of adopted children. This may mean that they attend a course for family members adopting and make themselves available for the time when the child will be introduced to the family.      

Do I need to have finished fertility treatment to start my adoption journey?

We recommend that you take at least 6 months to come to terms with the fact that fertility treatment has not resulted in a birth child.

Can I adopt if I'm unemployed or on a low income?

Yes, you can. Your financial status and employment circumstances will be taken into consideration, but having a lower income or being unemployed won’t automatically rule you out, as long as you can provide a loving and secure home for a child. You don’t need to own your home, but you do need to be settled in secure accommodation which is suitable for a child.  This will mean having a spare bedroom for a child, as well as living somewhere you plan to remain for some time in order to ensure stability for a child. We look at every case based on your personal circumstances, so why not get in touch to discuss your circumstances.

I have health problems – will this affect my ability to adopt?

This may depend on your individual circumstances as you will need to have the necessary health and energy to meet the child's needs through to adulthood. Because of this, all prospective adopters and foster carers are required by statutory regulations to have a full medical examination. This will be carried out by your GP and reviewed by the adoption agency’s medical adviser, who will give an opinion on whether you are suitable to adopt, from a medical perspective. We need to be made aware of any history of mental or emotional difficulties as well as you physical health, as all aspects of your health may impact on your ability to care for a child. Being an adoptive parent can be stressful as well as rewarding and we will explore during the process how you manage, or have managed, any health condition and how it could affect your ability to look after a child.

Do I need to speak English?

It is advisable for adoptive parents to be reasonably fluent in English so that they can advocate for a child once that child is placed and so that the concepts of adopting a child can be fully understood. We would recommend that you attend one of the readily available English courses prior to enquiring about adoption.

Can I adopt if I have a faith or follow a religion?

Yes. Adopters can be of all faiths and none. Research has shown that faith and its inherent altruism and care for the vulnerable, is a great motivator for people to adopt.

Children who need to be placed for adoption come from many different cultures, backgrounds and religions and it is good if the family they are placed with reflects that. That means that adopters are welcomed if they have a faith or are from a variety of cultural and/or religious backgrounds.

Can I adopt if I have a disability?

Yes, you can! Having a disability does not prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent, as long as you can meet the needs of the children waiting to be adopted.

Can I adopt if I have a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety?

Conditions such as depression or anxiety are not necessarily a barrier to adoption depending on your own personal history. However, it will be taken into consideration when you make your application, to ensure that you are able to meet the needs of a child and this will need to be reviewed by the agency medical advisor .

Can I adopt a baby or child under 2?

Yes. While it’s true the majority of the children waiting to be adopted are over four years old, children are being placed with permanent families at a younger age as part of early permanence arrangements. Early permanence placements allow babies and infants who may need adopting to be placed with families who can go on to adopt them, if the courts decide this to be the best option for them. These children will usually come from complex family backgrounds and have some additional uncertainties. Read more about our early permanence for babies and young children.

How much does it cost to adopt a child?

Adoption agencies like Coram do not charge to assess or approve adopters. But prospective adopters will need to have medicals, which usually cost between £80 and £120. This fee is set by the GP and not by Coram.

There are no other direct costs involved in adoption but you may find you need to make lifestyle changes such as reducing your working hours, which will have an impact on your income.

When an adoption application is made to court, there is a one-off court fee. This fee applies to each child in a sibling group, however large. The local authority looking after the child usually covers the court fees on behalf of the adopters, and should also make a commitment to pay any additional legal fees or court costs, so this should not be a cost to you.

Can I adopt if I have a child?

Yes – however the adopted child will need to be a least three years younger than the youngest child in the family.

I have been married or had a civil partnership before, does that matter?

We will need to know about previous relationships and will require former partner references for applicants who have co-parented a child or lived to together for three years or more.

What offences might prevent me from adopting?

There are a limited number of offences that prevent you from adopting and these are offences against children and sexual offences. There may also be other offences that cause extreme concern depending on when they were committed, the severity of the offence, the circumstances and the current attitude to those offences.  We would encourage you to be honest about any offences and discuss them openly with the adoption agency.

Some adopters are approved who have committed more minor offences. These may have been many years previously in youth or be a one off in a particular set of circumstances. Again, we encourage honesty about all offences committed so that these can be discussed fully. In the main they will not prevent people from adopting.      

Can I adopt if I have pets?

Yes, many adoptive parents have pets and there are known benefits to having pets in a family. The exception would be in relation to dangerous dogs and on rare occasions the number or type of pets in the household may require furtherconsideration. There will be a need to determine that your pet is safe to be around children. 

Do I have to live in London to adopt with Coram?

If you live in any London borough or counties bordering the M25 (e.g. Herts, Surrey, Kent, Buckinghamshire) we will usually be able to consider your enquiry. We will need to take into account the travel time from your home to our head office in Central London.

I have decided I'd like to adopt. What are the next steps?

If you think you have what it takes to become a Coram adopter why not find out more about the adoption process and read how Coram will support you along the way? You are welcome to contact us to arrange to speak to an adoption social worker or register for an information session.