If you are just starting to think about adopting, there are a few things to consider. It’s important to find out as much as possible about what it’s like to adopt. Then you need to find an agency that’s right for you and willing to “assess” you as an adopter.

Do some research

The first step is to find out in more detail whether adoption is right for you. Adopting changes your life forever and it’s important to make sure you know as much as possible about it.

Being a parent, whether by birth or adoption, is not an easy job...but at the end of a hard day, it all becomes worthwhile when a voice says, 'You are the best mum in the whole world'.

Pamela, adoptive mum, Adopting a child

Do some reading about it: we publish a number of books which should help you with fact finding.

It also helps to speak to people who have adopted, as well as to professionals. Many agencies organise information sessions that you can attend where you can meet experienced adopters and hear their stories.

First4Adoption provides an information line for prospective adopters if you are having difficulty finding an agency or being accepted for an assessment. 

Finding an agency

You then need to find an adoption agency who will go through the whole process with you. This can be either a local authority agency (in England, Scotland or Wales) or a health and social care trust (in Northern Ireland), or a “voluntary” adoption agency (VAA). The difference is that local authorities or health and social care trusts will have children in their care whom they will want to place, whereas voluntary adoption agencies are asked to provide families for children cared for by the local authority.

If you are in England you can find out more about which agency is right for you here

Adoption UK has a useful UK-wide directory of adoption agencies which is searchable by postcode.

CVAA also has a search facility for finding voluntary adoption agencies across the UK.

Adopting from abroad

If you want to adopt a child from overseas you should contact either your local authority to begin with or a voluntary adoption agency that deals with overseas adoption.

Read our Advice Note on Intercountry adoption to find out about the procedures, legal requirements and where to obtain further information.

If you cannot accept the culture, customs, food, weather, people or any other aspect of another country then please do not consider adopting from there. That country is going be part of your life for evermore and you need to support your child in developing a positive self-image based on their birth culture.

Adoptive parent, Finding our familia

Information is also available on the Intercountry Adoption Centre website.

Why not read Finding our familia, the story of a couple who adopted two children from Guatemala .

Read on to find out how to become an adopter.