Choosing to adopt is not a decision to be taken lightly. The process is lengthy, and many checks are required to ensure a child will be safe and happy with you. These checks, such as investigating your childhood, medical history, criminal background checks and even contact with former partners, may feel intrusive, but they are essential.
There is so much to consider, particularly what type of adoption would work best for you.
Different types of adoption
We will look into the following types of adoption:
- Closed adoption
- Independent adoption
- Open adoption
- International adoption
- Stepparent adoption
- Adoption of a relative
- Foster-care adoption (also known as early permanence adoption)
- Single person adoption
- Same-sex couple adoption
To help you ascertain which route may be right for you.
What is closed adoption?
Closed adoption refers to having no contact with the birth parents in the run-up to and following adoption. If you are adopting through an agency, you will most likely go through a closed adoption process.
When looking into this route, consider what you will say to your child when and if they have questions about their birth parents.
What is independent adoption?
An independent, or non-agency adoption, is when you know a mother who wants to put her child up for adoption and agrees that you will be the adoptive parent. This type of adoption does not involve an agency; however, checks will still be required. The adoption process, in this instance, takes place via the courts.
What is open adoption?
Open adoption is becoming more popular and means that the birth parent/s interact with the adoptive parent/s and child. In some instances, the birth family will also have contact with the child. However, all parental decisions and rights stay with the adoptive parent/s.
In 2019, 84% of adoptions had ongoing indirect contact agreements of some sort, and 25% had direct contact, mostly with siblings of the adopted child.
What is international adoption?
Also known as intercountry adoption, this is perhaps the most difficult type of adoption. This is because you must be eligible to adopt in the UK and the country of the child.
Government funding isn’t available for this particular pathway; therefore, adoption costs and additional fees (such as paperwork processing) falls to the adoptive parent/s.
What is stepparent adoption?
If you are in a relationship with a person who has parental responsibility for a child and you want to become their adoptive parent, you would go down the stepparent adoption route. For this, you must be living with your partner and their child for a minimum of six months.
This would be classified as an independent adoption; therefore, you would have to go through the County Court or the Family Proceedings Court. You also need to inform your Local Authority a minimum of three months before submitting the application.
What is adoption of a relative?
This process is similar to that of a stepparent adoption; only it’s for a relative. Again, this would be an independent adoption, so you would need to inform your local trust a minimum of three months before sending an application to the court.
What is foster-care adoption?
This is technically the fastest route into adoption, as you will have gone through the fostering and adoption approval process beforehand. However, there is a chance that the fostered child will be returned to their biological parents, so you must be prepared for this.
What is single person adoption?
This is exactly what the name implies; individuals who are not married or in a relationship can go through the adoption process independently. You can choose to go through an agency and opt for an independent adoption.
What is same-sex couple adoption?
Same-sex couples have had the right to adopt since 2005. You do not need to be married or in a civil partnership to adopt; however, you need to prove that you are in an enduring relationship and live together.
The adoption process may be lengthy and confusing as you take your first steps, but it is an extremely rewarding and worthwhile avenue to pursue.