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Outlines the adoption procedure in the United Kingdom (UK).

Adoption in the United Kingdom (UK)

The law in the UK requires the adopted parents to be over 21 years old.There is no upper age limit. Potential parents will be expected to show that they can offer the child the care he or she may need. Most agencies want to place healthy babies with couples who have been married for at least 3 years and have proven they are unable to have children themselves. Some agencies give an upper age limits between 35-40 for adoption of 0-5 years. Older couples are encouraged to adopt older children. Single people are permitted to adopt by UK law and gay and lesbian couples maybe approved as adopters.

What is needed to adopt a child in the United Kingdom?

The following is the protocol that may be followed by infertile couples seeking adoption in the United kingdom (the revised Adoption Statutory Guidance 2011 address this issue).

Who can apply to adopt?

The following are eligible to apply to adopt:

  • single people (irrespective of their sexual orientation)
  • a partner of a parent of the child to be adopted
  • married couples
  • civil partners
  • unmarried couples (same sex and different sex) living as partners in a stable family relationship.

  • A child's eligibility for adoption

    • The child was under the age of 18 when the adoption application was made
    • The child is not or has never been married or in a civil partnership
    • Both birth parents have given their consent to the adoption
    • The birth parent or guardian cannot be found or is incapable of giving consent
    • The child's welfare would be at risk if the adoption order was delayed.

    The first step a couple seeking adoption must take, is to apply to an adoption agency. Each adoption agency has its own requirements for acceptance, so if your are turned down at one agency another agency may accept your application.

    The couple are then assessed and prepared for adoption. All prospective parents seeking adoption will undergo adoption assessment process by the adoption agency. This involves in depth interviews with the adoption agency. It is lengthy process and may takes up to six months. There is no such thing as the ideal adoptive family. Most agencies are interested in what the prospective parents have to offer a child who needs adoption. Both partners are expected to be in reasonably good physical and mental health. Certification from a family doctor is usually required to show that they have no serious diseases. They may have to undergo a medical examination. Social background is also taken into account, to make sure that the adopted parents have a stable partnership, and able to care for the child materially. Furthermore, police check may be required.

    Finally a couple must be approved for adoption. Once approved, the agency will try to match the couple with a child. Agencies will always try to match the racial and cultural background of the child. In addition to the child’s religion and language with that of the adoptive parents if possible.

    All children and babies should have a complete medical evaluation including growth and development in addition to assessment of immunization prior to placement for adoption.

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