FAQs: How long does an adoption take?


How long does an adoption take?

Adopting a child can be a very lengthy process from start to end. How long the adoption process takes depends on many factors, including whether the person adopted is a child who is already known to the prospective parents or whether the prospective parents are adopting through an adoption service.

What is the adoption process?

The adoption process is commenced by applying to an adoption agency. The agency will consider whether or not you are suitable to be an adoptive parent. If you pass then the agency will try to find a child who is looking to be adopted. A meeting will then be held with a social worker to decide whether to match you with the child. If the adoption goes ahead you can apply to the court for an adoption order as soon as the child starts to live with you.

How long does it take to get an adoption order?

Once you apply to the court for an adoption order your application will be listed for hearing in no sooner then ten weeks. If the child is from overseas the hearing will be listed in no less than six months from the date the child started living with you. The court must then hear your application and decide whether to make an order. The process will be faster if the current people with parental responsibility for the child agree to the adoption.

How long does an international adoption take?

International adoptions, or inter-country adoptions as they are usually referred to, follow a much more complex process than adoptions within the UK. The prospective parents must be assessed in the UK before a certificate of eligibility can be sent to the relevant foreign authority. The matching process then commences. The prospective parents will need to travel to the child’s country to meet with them there. Depending on the type of adoption, additional procedures may also need to be carried out once the child arrives in the UK.

When do you have legal responsibility for an adopted child?

A person has parental responsibility for a child once the adoption order is granted. At that point the legal rights of the birth family come to an end.

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