We want to make sure that children grow up as part of a permanent, loving family from childhood through to adulthood. We provide a range of services and resources to help families to care for their children but, where this is not possible, our Adoption Service finds permanent alternative families. It doesn’t matter whether you already have children, whether you’re single or a couple, whether you’re married, unmarried or in a civil partnership.
We recruit, train and assess prospective adopters to provide high quality adoptive placements for local children and young people, enabling them to live with permanent new families. We match and place children with adoptive parents who are assessed as being able to provide a stable and nurturing environment and have the skills to meet the needs of the children. The team provides a high level of support to adopters and their families, throughout the adopted child’s life.
We work closely with colleagues in the Children’s Teams to make sure that children placed for adoption have been prepared for moving to their new families and that they are listened to and supported throughout the process.
Adoption is a way of providing a new family for a child when it is not possible for them to live with their birth families. The children in Mid and West Wales who need adoptive families include:
- Pre-school children 0-5 years
- School age children up to teenagers
- Brothers and sisters who need to be together
- Children from ethnic minority groups
- Children with physical and/or learning disabilities
- Children with developmental uncertainties or life limiting illness
We need adopters from a variety of backgrounds so we can place children with families and individuals who share their own culture, language and religion.
You can be considered if you are:
- Aged 21 or over. There is no upper age limit, but consideration is given to the age difference between you and an adopted child. If you are wishing to adopt a stepchild please see step parent adoption information as there are different regulations in place.
- Single – male or female, with or without children
- Living with a partner or married, with or without children
- From any ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural background
- Working full/part time or not working
It doesn’t matter whether you own or rent your home, providing that you can provide security, stability and certainty for a child.
We are interested in what you can bring to a child’s life. Ultimately it is your capacity to make a commitment to providing a loving and permanent home to a child which makes a difference.
There are offences that would automatically bar you from adopting in order to protect children from harm. Having a criminal conviction will not necessarily prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent, but if you have a criminal record, you must tell us.
We need adoptive parents for a wide range of children but currently we have a higher number of children under the age of one who we are seeking adoptive families for. We do also need to find permanent families for other children who have often been waiting too long, are older or part of a sibling group.
Here are some anonymised versions of real children who may need adoptive families:
Ethan aged 7 months – is the 4th child of his mother and the identity of his father is unknown, but believed to be of Afro Caribbean origin. Ethan’s siblings have been adopted and it is hoped that contact can be maintained between Ethan and them. Ethan is developing well and is described by his foster carers as a ‘joy to care for’
Jason and Krystal, aged 3 and 4 – are siblings who have a close relationship and have always lived together. Krystal is very protective of her younger brother and often acts older than her years. She is very self-reliant and does not turn to adults to meet her care needs. The children have witnessed domestic violence in the home and need somebody who understands the impact of witnessing early traumatic experiences.
Emma aged 6 months – Emma is a sociable and happy baby who is very responsive to her current carers. Emma’s birth mother is known to have used substances during her pregnancy and as a result her lifestyle was very chaotic. Emma has older half siblings who are now cared for by extended family as her mother was unable to provide them with an appropriate level of care. Although Emma is showing no signs of developmental delay, there is uncertainty for the future, given her young age, and the unknown identity of Emma’s birth father.
Rosie aged 2 – has been in care longer than hoped for as arrangements for her to be cared for by a family member were not successful. Her birth parents have maintained regular contact but accept that they are unable to provide the care that she needs. Rosie is very attached to her foster carers and will need a lot of reassurance about moving to a new adoptive family who are resilient and without high expectations of a child.
Flynn aged 3 – became looked after following an unexplained non-accidental injury. Flynn is described as a quiet little boy who has a tendency to play on his own. Flynn needs a safe, loving environment and parents who are patient and attentive towards him. Prior to moving to foster care, Flynn was often left in the care of unsuitable adults and had moved several times. Flynn has settled well in his placement and is starting to form an attachment with his foster carers. He is now responding well to routine and structure. Although a placement order has been granted, it is anticipated that Flynn’s birth mother will oppose an adoption order.
- To be realistic.
- To have the desire to help a child reach his or her full potential.
- An understanding of the needs of children and young people who have been neglected or abused.
- A caring personality
- A good sense of humour
- The time, space and energy to devote to a child
- A willingness to seek and accept support, advice and guidance from professionals
- To be resilient
- To be supported by family and friends
- To be flexible and non-judgemental
- To be a non-smoker or to have stopped smoking for a period of one year if you want to adopt children 0-5 years old
Things to consider
It will take time and dedication to build a successful and enduring relationship with your new child. This does not happen straight away and may take longer than you think. So, it’s important to think about the following.
- Have you enough space in your home?
- How will you balance other commitments?
- Have you a network of support from family and friends?
- Are you in good health?
- Have you completed any fertility investigations?
- Have you discussed your interest in adopting with your family?
- How will you manage financially with the additional ongoing costs a child will bring?
- Have you considered that there will be financial costs to you during the process (e.g. medicals, court costs?)
Adopting a child from overseas
This is where a resident in one country adopts a child from another country. The child moves legally and permanently from their birth family to their adoptive family. Please feel free to contact us for more information or an informal discussion with a member of the team.
There is also more information on adoption on the Department for Education pages, or here.
Adopting a step child
Step parent adoption is when a non-biological parent wishes to adopt their partner’s children who are under the age of 18 from a previous relationship.
In addition to step-parent adoption there are a number of other ways of achieving permanence for your family.
Training and Assessment Process
Before you can adopt a child, you and your family need to do some training and assessment to make sure that adopting is right for you, your family and the adoptive child.
The process includes:
- An initial counselling visit from a member of the Adoption Team
- A ‘Preparation to Adopt’ training course
- An application form giving us permission to carry out personal and professional references and checks, including DBS (police check) and health screening.
- Giving us your permission to contact any previous partners and any children you have parented in the past.
- A risk assessment of your home and vehicles as well as an assessment of any animals you care for or own.
- An in depth suitability assessment of you and your family undertaken by a named member of the adoption social work team. Once successfully completed your report will be presented at Adoption Panel. You will be expected to attend the panel.
At any point during this process you or the Adoption Agency may decide that adoption is not right for you or your family and the assessment will not progress.
Recommended reading List
- ‘‘Preparing for adoption” by Julia Davies
- ‘‘The unofficial guide to Adoptive parenting’’ by Sally Donovan
- “The Adopter`s Handbook” by Amy Salter
- “Attachment, Trauma and Resilience” by Kate Cairns
- “An Adoption Diary” by Maria James
- “Talking about adoption to your adopted child” by Marjorie Morrison
- “From fear to Love’’ by Bryan Post
- “Parenting a child with emotional & behavioural difficulties” by Dan Hughes (in Parenting Matters series)
- “Adopted Children Speaking” by Caroline Thomas
- “Adopters on Adoption: Reflections on parenthood and children” by David Howe
- “Life Story Books for Adopted Children; a family friendly approach” by Joy Rees
After you’re approved there is often a period of waiting before the next step: linking you with a child. This can be a frustrating time, but your Social Worker will keep in touch to update you and ensure that you don’t feel forgotten. Once we find a child who could be a good match for you, the process of introduction and placing the child with you can happen very rapidly.
Your child’s placement with you is reviewed regularly in the first few months to ensure your child is settling and the family are managing this period of change. Once your child has been with you for a minimum of 10 weeks, as long as they are settling and everything is going well, you’ll be able to apply for an adoption order through the courts. Your Social Worker will explain the process and costs involved.
If no match has been found within 3 months your details will be added to the Wales Adoption Register. However we ask that you give us time following your approval so that the Adoption Agency has the time to explore all possible matches for you with a child from Mid and West Wales.