Adopting a Child: The Legalities, Processes and Potential Problems

Adoption is one of the most rewarding things you can possibly do, and it can enrich your life in so many ways, but giving a child a second chance at life is no easy task. It’s a huge decision, and is not one to be taken lightly. Before you even give it another thought, you need to consider the basics.

The Legalities

When you adopt a child, that child becomes a fully fledged member of your family. They’re entitled to inheritance and will be given other rights and privileges just as they would have if they were a biological member of the family. Adoption severs all legal ties with the birth family, although some children still remain in contact with some members of their previous family if they choose.

In order to adopt a child in England, you must be over 21, you must have a spare bedroom in your home and the biological parent(s) must give their consent.

The Process

The process of adopting a child can be long and complicated. Everything from your health to your relationship with your partner will be assessed to ensure you’re suitable to adopt. You’ll make an initial enquiry, and then you’ll move onto the ‘registration of interest stage’. After this comes the pre-assessment phase, and once that’s completed you’ll have a full assessment, and you’ll be invited to attend a preparation course. After that, you’ll be assigned a social worker who will get to know you and your family, and they’ll try to match you with a suitable child.

For a full, in-depth explanation of the adoption process in England, you can visit the Barnardo’s website here.

How Will it Affect Your Family?

The adoption process is lengthy, and you might find that you decide it’s not for you half way through. That’s fine, and your decision will be supported by the authorities.

If you do adopt, there can be plenty of issues when it comes to the child settling into the family home. Your social worker will be on-hand to assist you through difficult times though, so you never have to struggle alone. Just bear in mind that the settling-in process won’t be a walk in the park.

When the child grows up, you might find that they want to contact their biological family if they haven’t done already. This can be an emotionally traumatic time for all involved, and the child might even request DNA tests to find one of their biological parents. To find out more about that, click here. It’s important to offer them all the support they need, and a social worker might become re-involved at this stage if you find it’s necessary.

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