Key stages

The adoption process is there to ensure that this is the right decision for you and the children waiting to be adopted.

It is simpler and quicker than it has been previously and there is a lot more support available.

Normally there are four key stages in the adoption process which are illustrated below, and to be approved as an adopter typically takes around 6 months.

Most prospective adopters find the journey helps them to understand themselves and to become better parents.

COVID-19 notice

COVID-19 has impacted on everything in this country and adoption is no different. The process hasn’t changed but all staff within adoption agencies have had to adapt the way that they deliver services for children and families via the use of digital technology.

Key steps in the process


Exploration & planning

Average time: 1–2 months

Making a start

Your adoption journey starts with reading background information, along with speaking to experts and other adopters who have made the journey before.

Stage one

Initial checks & registration

Average time: 2 months

Formal processes

After finding an agency you are comfortable with, you can start the formal processes, such as references and background checks. This stage should take no longer than 2 months to complete.

Stage two

Training & assessment

Average time: 1–2 months

Adoption report

This is a four-month stage, where a social worker will work with you and your family, assessing your strengths before presenting it in a report to the Adoption Panel.

Stage three

Finding the right match

Average time: 3–4 months

Matching panel

Your adoption agency works with local authorities to find the right child for you. They will discuss the suitability of children with you and a matching panel makes the final decision

Ready to make a start?