Frequently asked questions

I have children, can I adopt? +

If you have a birth or adopted child/children you already have the skills and knowledge that can help you parent an adopted child. We will meet and talk to your child/children as part of the assessment process. If they are from a former relationship, we may also need to speak to their other parent.

Most children needing an adoptive family need to be the youngest sibling in their new adoptive family by at least two years. As children placed for adoption are not usually babies, your youngest child will need to be at least 3 – 4 years old. This is so that your existing child/children will be at an age to understand and support the need of their adopted sibling/siblings.

Do we need to be married to adopt? +

No! At Family Care Adoption Services, we know that families come in different shapes and sizes. You can be a single person and apply to adopt. If you are a couple applying to adopt you don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership, but you do need to be living together in a stable relationship.

Adopted children have often experienced a lot of uncertainty and disruption in their lives and need to experience a new family life where relationships are secure and supportive.

How long will I need to be off work after adopting a child? +

Similarly to Maternity Leave, one parent will need to be at home for 6 – 12 months following the placement of a child/children into your family, depending on their age and their needs.

People who work will be entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay for 39 weeks and be entitled to take 52 weeks of Adoption Leave. If you adopt as a couple once of you may take this leave and the other may take paternity leave or shared parental leave. 

I am single, can I adopt? +

Yes, There is no reason you cannot adopt if you are single, in fact, in 2023 single parenting is not uncommon. For many years, single people have been able to adopt.

At Family Care Adoption Services we have successfully approved and placed children with single adopters.

Do I need to have finished fertility treatment to start my Adoption Journey? +

It is important that if you have had fertility treatment that it has come to an end before starting your adoption journey. Both Fertility treatment and adoption assessment can be emotionally challenging, and you will probably need to take some time out to come to terms with the outcome of your treatment.

At Family Care, we recommend at least 6 months, but this may vary depending on your personal circumstances.  

Can I adopt if I own a pet? +

Yes, in most cases owning a pet will not prevent you from owning a child. However, we believe need to be sure that a child/children will be safe with any pets you own and that your pet is a good fit for the child being placed.

Some children have significant allergies to animals, which may mean that they can not be placed in a family where those pets already live.

Am I too old to adopt? +

Legally adopters only need to be over 21, but children have been placed with parents ranging from those in their twenties to their forties.

While there is no upper age limit for adoptive parents, you will need to have the health and energy to raise your children throughout their childhood and prepare them for independence.

The adoption assessment will help you to consider the ages of children who are the best match for your own age.

Do I need to own my own home to adopt? +

No. You do not need to own your own home to adopt. You are able adopt if you live in rented accommodation.

Can I adopt a baby? +

Sometimes people considering adoption anticipate adopting a baby, but most children who need to be adopted in Northern Ireland are between 2 and 6 years old.

A small number of babies under 12 months are placed every year but prospective adopters often wait a very long time to be placed with an infant. Most of these babies are placed through concurrency – where birth parents are still being assessed to see if their child can return home – rather than a more straightforward adoption process.

Some babies also have an older sibling or siblings who will need to placed with them.

Can I adopt if I am unemployed or have a low income? +

Yes, you can.

Although having a low income or being unemployed does not automatically rule you out during the adoption assessment stage, your financial status and employment status will be taken into consideration.

Openness and honesty about financial pressures is encouraged right from the outset of your application.

I am adopted can I access my adoption records? +

If you are an adopted adult at least 18 years of age, you have the legal right to access information about yourself before you were adopted. We have social workers who can help you to find and access your adoption records.  

I wish to trace a birth family member, how do I go about this? +

If you would like to find a relative who is an adopted adult or birth family member, we can help you do this. We have social workers who specialise in providing services to adults affected by adoption in the past and would be happy to hear from you.   

Support & Advice

If you would like any information regarding any of the post adoptive services and support we can provide, please get in touch via phone or email.

Every Child Deserves a Family Life

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