The adoption process

Adoption is an enormous undertaking for you and the children involved.

Two sets of adult legs with children's shoes in betweenWe understand your need for information and are committed to making the process as smooth as possible for everyone taking part. We work within the statutory framework put in place by the Government. Here’s how it works.

Making contact

You can contact us by phone or email or via the contact form on this website and, 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, and you will receive an information pack.

Registering interest and assessment

Same sex female adopters on bench with child standing in frontAt the initial interview you will be given a Registration of Interest Form and when you feel ready you can return that to us and we will begin our assessment of you. You will have a social worker who will work with you and get to know what your strengths as an adopter are likely to be. This is known as Stage1 of the two-stage process to being approved as an adopter.

Stage 1 – the basics

Shelf of adoption foldersDuring Stage 1 of the approval process we will take up checks and references with the police, the local authority, your employers (where appropriate) and your landlord or mortgage company. We will 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. You will also be invited to training designed to support you in thinking about exactly what is involved in adopting children who need new families. 

Once we have collected all this information we will make a decision, after discussion with you, as to whether to take your application on to Stage 2 of the approval process.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 requiring families.

Stage 2 – getting to know you more

Happy dad with daughter on his shoulders 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 kind of child 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.

Once the assessment is completed, your social worker will write a report for an independent Adoption Panel.The panel is made up of adoption experts and experienced adopters who will consider all the information gathered during the approval process and make a recommendation on your suitability to be an adoptive parent. You will have the opportunity to comment on the report and to attend the panel if you wish.

Becoming a family

White mum and oriental daughterOnce you are approved to adopt, we will begin the search for a child whose needs you can meet.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. Children maybe found via:

  • Children for whom Cambridgeshire is seeking adopters – there are a range of children of different ages  who need adopters;
  • The National Adoption Register for England and Wales, a database of children needing families (find out more with Adoption Match)
  • Be My Parent (a newsletter published by British Association for Adoption and Fostering);
  • Adoption UK;
  • Direct referrals to Coram from local authorities.

Settling in together

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. There is also a period of living together during which we will continue to visit and support you until the time feels right to apply to the court for an Adoption Order.

Building your future

We offer our adoptive families a lifetime of support including emotional and practical help. Find out more about our post-adoption support here.