Q1: Can I adopt if I’m single or in a same-sex relationship?
A1: Yes, it is recognised that single people as well as same-sex couples can make excellent adoptive parents. The Department of Health released figures in December 2015 showing that one in every twelve adoptions in the UK is by a same sex couple.
Q2: Can I adopt my stepchild?
A2: Yes. You must inform your local council of your intention at least three months before you apply to the court for an adoption order, and the child must also have lived with you for a minimum of six months. The process follows a similar course to assessment by an adoption agency and the assessment will be considered by the court when they decide on whether to allow the adoption to go ahead. If the adoption is allowed, then the other biological parent will no longer have any parental responsibility for the child.
Q3: What rights do birth parents and guardians have in the adoption process?
A3: The majority of birth parents have parental responsibility up until any final adoption order is made. They have a right to be involved in the court proceedings and put any objection they have to the Judge. However if the child has been made subject to a placement order prior to the application to adopt being made, any birth parent can only object if there has been a change of circumstances (since the placement order was made) and has permission from the Judge to do so. This can be a complicated area of adoption law and if you find yourself in this position, you will need legal advice as every situation is different.