Adoption FAQs

Adoption FAQs

Get your free guide to adoption here

Get quick answers to some frequently asked questions.

Am I suitable to adopt?

Can I adopt if:

I am over 40 or older?
Yes. We do not operate an upper age limit, but you would need to be fit and healthy enough to see a child in your care safely into adult life. The youngest age at which you can adopt is 21.

I'm not married?
Yes. Single people can adopt a child. Unmarried couples can also adopt, including same-gender couples.

I am unemployed?
Yes. You must be financially stable, but being unemployed is not a barrier.

I work full-time?
Yes, as long as you can provide space and time to meet the children's needs. This is especially important when the children are young and for all children in the early stages of an adoptive placement. Please click on the following link to find out the adoption equivalent of maternity and paternity payments and time off from work: I don't own my home?
Yes. You need to show you have enough room to care for a child or children, in a safe and secure environment, whether you rent or own your home.

I'm gay or lesbian?
Yes. We are interested in the skills and ability you have to offer children and not your sexuality.

I have a disability and/or health problem?
Yes. Everyone who applies to adopt will need a health assessment, as part of the approval process, to make sure they have the ability to care for a child. If you are disabled or have a medical condition, our medical advisor will take these factors into consideration and make recommendations on your suitability.

I smoke?
Yes, but you will not be able to adopt a child under five years of age, or children with respiratory problems. We have a responsibility to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke and we have to balance the positive elements of any adoptive placement against the negative impact of smoking.

I have a criminal conviction?
Yes. People who have a criminal record or have been cautioned can adopt a child. Much depends on the seriousness of the offence, how long ago since the crime was committed and how you have lived your life since. People with convictions for violent or sexual offences against children cannot adopt.

I already have children of my own?
Yes. Your own children would be included in the approval process too, as they are an important part of the family decision to adopt. In adoption, we usually advise a minimum age gap of three years between any birth children and an adopted child. This can vary depending on the child and your family’s needs.

I don't live in Northumberland?
Yes. We are seeking adoptive parents to help children locally, regionally and nationally. 

I don't live in the UK?
No. You must have had a UK home as your base for at least one year before applying to adopt a British child - the term for this is habitually resident. If part of a couple, one of you must be domiciled in the UK. These are legal terms which imply an intention or durable residence in the UK. This is all based around the need for stability for the children you may adopt. If you have any further questions about your suitability to adopt, please contact us and we will be pleased to help you.

Am I capable of adopting a sibling group, rather than just one child?
More than half of the children awaiting adoption need to be placed with a loving family that could provide a home to their brother or sister also. It is usually in the best interests of the children that a sibling group, which can be two children or more, finds a family together. It is also beneficial for you, as they support each other, as well as their new parents when joining their new family.

Do I get any financial support for adopting?

Some families qualify for an adoption allowance. These are generally families that have adopted older children, sibling groups and children with disabilities.

A Department of Heath means test is carried out on the adopters’ income and is subject to annual reviews. All local authorities provide some adoption allowances, but the policies vary between them.

How long will the adoption approval process take?

It will take about six months to become an approved adopter. Please see our adoption process information for a detailed explanation.