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Am I too old or young to apply?

You must be at least 21 to adopt a child.  There is no specific upper age limit but you do have to be able to care for your child throughout their childhood and beyond.  We can discuss whether your age may impact upon the likelihood of you being matched with a child.  People of all ages can and do successfully adopt, and what is important is that you can meet the individual needs of your adopted child or children.

Do I have to own my own house?

No.  Adopters can come from all walks of like and it doesn’t matter if you rent a flat or own a huge house.  However, it is important that you have a stable home environment and enough space for the children you would like to adopt.

Do I have to have a job?

No.  What is important is the person you are and what you can offer a child in terms of emotional security and lifelong commitment.

Do I have to be married or in a relationship?

No, all sorts of people successfully adopt, married people or people in civil partnerships, unmarried couples and single people.  If you are applying as a couple we will need to know that you have a stable and secure relationship and are both fully committed to adoption.

What about health and or disability issues?

This depends on your condition and or disability and how it may affect your ability to care for a child.  If there are any issues that you think may affect your application, please raise these with us at an early stage. There are many conditions and disabilities that would not necessarily prevent you from adopting.

You would undergo a full medical assessment which is undertaken by your own GP. [Please note there is a charge for this which is payable by you].  This information is then sent to the Medical Adviser for Nugent Adoption who will make a recommendation as to your medical suitability to adopt.

What if I smoke?

You can adopt if you are a smoker, however, you would not be considered for a child under the age of 5 years.

What if I am overweight?

Prospective adopters have to be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient health and vigour to be able to care for a child throughout childhood to independence.  Therefore your weight may be a factor that is considered when determining your medical suitability; however, it is not the only factor.  Being slightly overweight won’t stop you from adopting a child, it becomes a problem if you are dangerously overweight and your doctor thinks this poses a threat to your health.  Being fit and healthy is important when adopting a child as parenting can be very demanding; you need lots of energy, so being in good physical health is important.

What if I have a pet?

Having a pet does not stop you from adopting and this will be taken into account during your assessment. Your Adoption Social Worker will discuss your pet and note its history, temperament and general behaviour.  Nugent Adoption follows Coram/BAAF guidance regarding pets and if you have a dog or other animal that is classed as dangerous this would impact upon your application.

I have a criminal record, will I be allowed to adopt?

All prospective adopters will be required to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check [Police check] as part of the assessment process.  For adoption purposes, this is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and all convictions, cautions and bind-overs otherwise considered as spent will be disclosed.

Having a criminal conviction, caution or bind-over is not in itself a bar to adoption, but in considering your suitability as an adoptive parent it will be taken into account.  Offences involving crimes against children or violent offences are likely to prevent you adopting.  You should discuss any offences with Nugent Adoption during the very early stages of your adoption enquiry.

Please note that convictions include motoring offences.

You will also need to agree to us requesting checks from Social Services, Probation and if you work with children, Ofsted.  We will also seek a reference from your employer in addition to personal and family references as part of the process.

Can I adopt if I already have a child?

Yes.  We will need to take the age and needs of any existing children into account during your assessment and preparation process.  We will also need to meet your child and determine their views age appropriately.  If you have adult children we will wish to speak to them whether or not they live with you.  If you have a child with a previous partner we may also need to speak to that person.

Can I apply whilst still undergoing fertility treatment?

We would ask you to be at the stage whereby you have completed any fertility investigations and treatments before making a formal application to adopt.  However, we understand that many people may wish to make some informal adoption enquiries whilst still undergoing treatment.  We take each enquiry on its own merits and would discuss this with you in more detail.

What training and support will I receive?

Nugent Adoption has a comprehensive preparation training programme which you will be invited to attend that covers all areas relevant to adoption.  We hold regular support groups and training workshops throughout the year. We can also link you with other adopters who may have experienced a similar situation to yourself.

Your allocated Adoption Social Worker will guide you through the assessment process and offer their on-going support right up to the granting of an Adoption Order.

How long will it take for me to be approved as an adopter?

There are two Stages in the initial adoption process.  Stage One is a 2-month process when we gather references, complete checks and during which you will have your adoption medical.  Although we aim to complete this stage within 2 months, we are not able to move forward into Stage Two if there are any checks outstanding.

Stage Two is the actual assessment stage which will take 4 months.  Your Social Worker will meet with you regularly during this stage to gather information for your Prospective Adopters Report.  At the end of Stage Two you will be invited to attend the Nugent Adoption panel.  The Panel members will discuss your application and make their recommendation about your approval.

Will I get financial help?

You do not have to pay to be assessed and approved to adopt a child from Care in the UK.  Once a child is placed with you, you will, of course, be expected to meet their living costs just like any other parent.   However, in some circumstances you may be able to get help via an Adoption Allowance which will be means tested by the local authority who places the child with you. This is usually when a child has additional needs or in the case of large sibling groups.

You will be entitled to Child Benefit from when a child is placed with you.

Adopters are generally entitled to adoption leave and pay; you would need to access your company adoption policy for more detailed information about your place of work.  You can also look at the Government website https://www.gov.uk/adoption-pay-leave/overview.

What information will I be given about the child?

At Nugent Adoption we believe that knowing as much information as possible about the child is key to understanding and meeting the child’s needs.  We will gather information from the child’s Local Authority about their background, birth family, their experiences in Care, their educational and medical needs as well as their likes and dislikes, routines and personalities.

Each child will have their own Life Story Book which is completed by the Local Authority. This is essential for the child so that they can understand their origins and the reasons why they do not live with their birth family.

Can I be considered for a child of a different ethnicity to me?

Wherever possible, Local Authorities will attempt to place children with an adoptive family that reflects as many aspects of the child’s culture, language, religion and ethnicity as possible.  This can help the child to have a positive sense of their own identity and feel connected to their heritage.  This is not always possible and a family may be sought who can value, promote and actively develop the child’s sense of ethnic and cultural identity, even though they do not share it.

How long after my approval will I wait for a child to be placed with me?

We cannot give a definitive answer to this as each adopter has something different to offer a child, some adopters will be ‘matched’ with a child very quickly within the first few months after approval, while others may wait for much longer.

Nugent Adoption will do everything possible to ensure that a suitable and appropriate ‘match’ with a child is found for you.  We work closely with Local Authorities across the North West as well as further afield, in order to ensure that suitable adoptive families are available for children.  We will also refer you to ‘Adoption Match’ (the National Adoption Register for England) which holds a database of approved adopters and children waiting for families and encourage you to register with ‘Linkmaker’ an online adoption matching service.

You will be invited to attend regular Adoption Information Exchange events where you will be able to hear more about specific children who are waiting for a family.

We take very a proactive approach to ‘family finding’, your Social Worker will work hard to identify a child who you could be just the right family for. They will also keep in regular contact to update and support you throughout this process.

What about support after I have adopted?

An Adoption Support Plan will be written for every child being placed for adoption so that you are clear about what support is available and where you can access it from. For the first three years of placement it is the responsibility of the Local Authority where the child is from to assess your child’s post adoption support needs.  Following this period the responsibility lies with the Local Authority where you live. Nugent Adoption will be available to point you in the right direction of services available as well as offering advice and emotional support to you and your family.

At Nugent Adoption we are committed to offering our adopters support throughout their adoption experience.  Once you adopt through Nugent, you are our adopters for life should you ever need assistance or support. If you experience any difficulties in the future or simply need an answer to a question, you can contact us and one of our experienced Adoption Social Workers will be able to help.

Can I adopt my step-child?

It may be possible for you to adopt your step-child; however, Nugent Adoption would only complete this work when commissioned to do so by the Local Authority.  In the first instance, you should contact your Local Authority Adoption Service and get their advice.

Once I’ve adopted will I have to have any contact with my child’s birth family?

There are many different ways that a child can maintain contact with members of their birth family. The plan for each child is different and as an adoptive parent you would always know what that contact plan was.  The most common form of contact with birth family is known as ‘Letterbox Contact’ this is an exchange of letters once or twice each year.  Some children require face to face contact with their birth family members; this is often with their siblings rather than their birth parents.  Occasionally there is no contact arrangement for the child at all, however, this is quite rare.

Are there any costs related to adoption?

If you are adopting a child from the UK Care system there is no charge for your assessment other than you will pay for your own medicals to be completed.

For more information on adoption please call us on 01744 613 041 to talk with an Adoption Social Worker directly. We also hold a number of information drop-in events throughout the year, dates can be found on our website and through our social media.

How can I find out specific information about adopting from a particular country?

Nugent Adoption is in working partnership with the IAC – The Centre for Adoption who are specialists in the area of Intercountry Adoption.  If you wish to adopt a child from overseas you should contact IAC – The Centre for Adoption in the first instance.

IAC Advice Line: 0208 447 4753.

The Advice Line is open to members of the general public wherever they live if their enquiry is about intercountry adoption.  The Advice Line is open every weekday from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. with callbacks made by Advisors up until 4.00 p.m.


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