Could you adopt a child?

All children should be given the opportunity to be a part of a loving home and need stability and security throughout their childhoods. They also need a family who they can turn to in their adult lives. Adoption, unlike fostering is a life-long commitment through which all the rights and responsibilities for the child are transferred to the adoptive parents.

Adoption is a way of providing new families for children who cannot be looked after by their birth parents. We are looking for people to adopt children up to twelve years of age, some on their own and some with their brothers and sisters.

Who can adopt a child?

We welcome adopters from a variety of backgrounds to meet the needs of a wide range of children who are waiting to be adopted.

In order to legally adopt you must be at least 21 years of age. You can be married, single or in a loving, committed relationship; you can be working or unemployed and either living in your own home or rented accommodation; you may be a member of a specific religion or none at all. We have adopters from different ethnic backgrounds and we would like to hear from people with disabilities as they can adopt too.

What is important is your desire to offer a loving and nurturing home to a child or children and to be able to support them to understand their life’s journey and have the ability to offer them a positive experience of family life.

View our FAQ section to find out more or contact us.

Assessment and preparation

When you express an interest in adoption and have had an initial visit from the social worker, you will be invited to attend mandatory preparation groups and provided there are no issues, you would progress to a full adoption assessment which should be completed within 6 months from your application. A social worker will visit you at home to carry out the assessment. Confidential enquiries will be made of your local social work department and you will be asked to provide three referees. All applicants need to have a medical examination and any health issues will need to be explored. Smoking and obesity are areas that also need to be explored.

Anyone interested in applying to adopt will be subject to a Disclosure (Scotland) check to find out if they have a criminal record and to check if they are on the list of people disqualified from working with children. A record of offences will need to be carefully looked into but, apart from some offences against children, will not necessarily rule you out from adopting.

At the end of your assessment, the social worker will present a full report to the agency's Adoption Panel who will consider your application and make a recommendation of your suitability to the agency decision maker. It is the role of the agency decision maker to consider whether or not to approve prospective adopters and you would be notified in writing of his decision.

Once you are approved, you will be matched with a child or a sibling group whose plan is for permanency.

Inter-country adoption

If you are resident in South Ayrshire Council and would like to adopt from abroad, the adoption process is the same as domestic adoption. However you would be expected to pay for your assessment to be done.

Frequently asked questions

Can I still adopt if I’m on benefits?

Yes. As long as you have the means to provide a child with stability and security and meet their life-long needs.

I have a criminal conviction, does this mean I won’t be able to adopt?

This depends on your criminal offence. An enhanced disclosure check is carried out on all potential adopters and each case is individually taken into consideration.

Why do children need to be adopted?

Children who need adoption can no longer live with their birth families for a variety of reasons. They’re likely to have had a difficult start to their early life, and may have been neglected or abused or experienced trauma. Some children may also have developmental complications as a result of the lifestyle of the birth parents. The most common factors are alcohol and substance abuse and mental ill health.

Often children feel rejected and angry and may be lacking confidence or self-esteem. These feelings can sometimes make their behaviour quite challenging. The majority of children for whom adoption is sought are of pre-school and primary-school age. Some children may have additional learning needs through which they will require extra support with their education or health.

How much information about the child will I receive before adoption?

It is very important that you know as much as possible about the child’s past. By law we must give you information about the child, which includes details about his or her background, time in care, school history and any medical needs.

This knowledge will help you to understand the child when they come to live with you, help the child understand the circumstances of their adoption and help you find the best way of supporting them in the future.

Can I have any child I want?

Throughout the assessment process you will have discussions with your social worker about the age of child and if there is a specific gender, religion or ethnic background. Once your assessment is completed the Adoption/Permanence Panel will agree on these aspects.

Once you are approved for adoption your social worker will help you make the right choice by selecting and looking at children’s profiles and discussing whether you would have the specific skills to meet their individual needs.

I already have children, can I adopt?

If you already have children we would work with you to assess how you would meet the needs of an adopted child and that of your existing family. Your children would also be included in the assessment process.

Am I likely to be contacted by the birth parents?

No. You would not be contacted by birth parents directly.

What rights do the birth parents have?

Prior to the Adoption Order being granted, birth parents will retain rights and responsibilities for the child. Once the Adoption Order is granted full rights and responsibilities for the child will be transferred to you and the child gains the same rights of any natural child.

What support do I get when I adopt a child?

Adopters can receive ongoing support after adoption. We have a committed staff group who are there to provide support should it be required. A child you adopt is entitled to the same range of universal services and other support, based on their need.

Do I get paid to adopt a child?

In certain circumstances you can be paid an adoption allowance. However any consideration of an adoption allowance would be dependent on the child’s needs.

Do I qualify to claim any benefits if I adopt a child?

Yes. You will be entitled to claim for child benefit, child tax credits.

What happens if I adopt a child and my circumstances change and I can no long look after them?

Once you adopt a child they have the same legal rights as children born naturally to you. This means that you would have a legal responsibility to make arrangements for their care. Support would however be available from South Ayrshire Council should you find yourself in difficult circumstances.

How long does it take to be approved to adopt a child?

Approximately 12 months from your initial enquiry.

I’ve adopted before – is there a difference in the process?

No. However you may need to be re-assessed.


If you would like to find out more about adoption, please contact:

Family Placement and Adoption Team

South Ayrshire Council
181 Whitletts Road

Tel: 01292 267675