Guide: The adoption process

What to expect

You will be expected to attend group preparation meetings and workshops to share ideas about all aspects of adoption. You will talk to adoption professionals and people who have personal experience of adoption – as adoptive parents, birth parents or adopted people.

Once your formal application is accepted, you will be given your own adoption social worker. They will work with you and your family during the assessment and will be there to guide and support you through the whole adoption process.

Parents tell us they value the consistent support that our Devon Adoption social workers offer throughout the process, with many continuing to offer assistance long after the adoption has taken place.

The assessment process will help you to decide, as you discover more about what is involved, whether adoption is likely to be right for your family and what impact it might have on each family member.

It will also help us – and you – to think about what particular qualities your family has to offer. What sort of family life you would be providing for a child; what kinds of challenges you could respond well to, and what sort of child or children would fit best into your household.

The process described above can seem lengthy and very detailed. It is necessary to make sure that people who are approved as adopters have the skills, knowledge and ability to care for children in a safe and responsible way that meets what are often complex needs.

Many of the children placed for adoption are school age. Currently, there are higher numbers of younger children moving more swiftly through care proceedings, and therefore being made available for adoption earlier. All of the children will have suffered some form of trauma or abuse. They may also have experienced a number of different carers. Many of the children will show difficult behaviour and will be reluctant to trust adults.

Parenting these children and trying to repair the damage can be a profoundly rewarding but also very challenging task.