Adoption FAQs

Will I be able to adopt a baby?
Do I have to be a British Citizen?
Is my relationship status important?
Do I need experience of looking after children?
Can I continue with any fertility treatments whilst I apply to adopt?
Does it matter where I live?
Do I need to stop working?
Can I adopt if I smoke? 
Do I have to be medically fit to adopt a child?
Is adoption only for people without children?
How long will it take to adopt?
What is the age limit to adopting?
Do I have to be heterosexual to apply to adopt?
Does it matter what my religion is?    

Will I be able to adopt a baby?

There are babies available for adoption and we are particularly looking for people to adopt through our Foster for Adoption scheme. This initiative involves babies and young children being placed with potential adopters who are also approved as temporary foster carers while decisions are made about the child’s future within the family court process. Please see our Foster for Adoption page for more details about this.  

Do I have to be a British Citizen?

No, but to adopt a child in the UK you must have your main home here and have lived in the UK for at least a year before you apply to court for an adoption order. If you are not a British Citizen it’s not a requirement to become one, but it does help if you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK or Dual Citizenship.  

Is my relationship status important?

No. It does not matter whether you are single, married or in a partnership. However, we do ask that couples have been living together for at least two years. The assessment process will also explore as far as possible that your relationship is stable as having children will require a major adjustment. 

Do I need experience of looking after children?

We encourage our adopters to obtain personal or professional ‘hands-on’ experience with children, particularly if you are thinking of adopting older children or sibling groups. We give advice and ideas for voluntary work including working in a nursery, school or club for applicants to gain experience with children they do not know, as this can be helpful. We can signpost you to agencies willing to offer such volunteering experience. 

Can I continue with any fertility treatments whilst I apply to adopt?

If you have been undergoing treatment to conceive, we will usually ask that at least six months have elapsed since the last cycle of treatment has finished. This request will depend on how long you were in treatment and may vary case by case. We know from experience and research that this period after treatment allows for the one chapter to end and another to begin. It is best that adoption is a positive choice rather than a reactive one to infertility.  

Does it matter where I live?

We are currently recruiting for adopters who live within 50 miles of our London, Reading and Brighton offices. It does not matter if you live in rented accommodation or own your house as long as your accommodation is stable, you have a spare bedroom and have no plans to move (or renovate) in the near future. 

Do I need to stop working?

No, but the main carer will need to be able to take a minimum of six months but preferably 12 months off in adoption leave. This can be shared if you are adopting as a couple. This may need to be longer depending on the needs of the child and what you can afford. 

Can I adopt if I smoke? 

No. PACT is aware of the medical evidence regarding the impact of passive smoking on children and is looking to place children in smoke-free homes. Local authorities placing children will not prioritise a family where anyone smokes, whether in the home or not. If you currently smoke and would like to adopt via PACT you will have to give up smoking (cigarettes and cigars). You will need confirmation from your GP that you have started a Smoking Cessation plan at least six months before we can offer to work with you. 

Do I have to be medically fit to adopt a child?

Yes, you do need to be in good health but having a diagnosed medical condition does not necessarily bar you from adoption. As part of the process you will need to have an adoption health assessment with your GP and this will need to be seen by PACT’s medical adviser. We need you to be medically fit to care for a child throughout childhood and have a good chance of being there for them into their adulthood.

Is adoption only for people without children?

No. Many of our adopters have birth children, adopted children and step-children already, or are already permanently caring for a child not related to them. If you are already a parent we ask for there to be an age gap of at least two years between an adopted child and children already in the family.  

How long will it take to adopt?

The process to become an approved adopter is designed to be completed in six months. The matching process will then be dependent on each individual situation, although adopters who can be opened-minded about the children they could care for are more likely to be matched quicker. For more details about the process see our Brief guide to adopting with PACT.  

What is the age limit to adopting?

You do need to be at least 21 years old to adopt but there is no legal upper age limit. As caring for children is demanding you need to be able to demonstrate you have the energy, and emotional and physical health necessary to care for a child throughout childhood and into adulthood.  

Do I have to be heterosexual to apply to adopt?

No. PACT actively recruits LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) adopters.  

Does it matter what my religion is? 

PACT has no set criteria about the religious beliefs of our adopters. Children waiting to be adopted come from a range of religious and non-religious backgrounds and we are seeking families to accommodate this variety – your religion and cultural background may be a positive factor as we can match you with a child who shares them.