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Frequently Asked Questions

We normally work with families who live in the Adopt Thames Valley area. However we also consider potential applicants who live within an hour travelling distance of our geographical border, if they are able to adopt a child or children who are waiting for a family because of their particular needs. If approved to adopt through Adopt Thames Valley you will need to be able and willing to attend our support groups and in-house training.
All applicants undergo statutory checks carried out with the police and local authority. Anyone with an offence against children is barred by law from becoming an adopter. Personal references, for example from friends or employers, are also taken up. All prospective adopters undergo a medical examination carried out by their own GP.
We look for adopters who are likely to be able to offer children the support they need and have the resilience to stick with a child for the long term.
You legally have to be over 21 years of age to adopt, but there is no upper age limit. Our aim is to place children with families who will be able to fully support them throughout their childhoods and into adulthood. We hope to place children with adopters who are active and healthy and able to meet the child’s needs not just in the short term but continue into early adulthood. We look at all situations individually with age being just one of the factors we consider when reaching a decision.
No, applications are welcomed from single people, people in partnerships and those who are married, but any relationship needs to have permanency and stability. We ask that you have been together for a minimum of 2 years. All adopters will need to have the support of their friends and family.
We welcome couples and individuals with a strong and supportive relationship, whatever their sexuality and/ or gender identity.

A range of new free factsheets are now available for your LGBT adopters. Written with the help of volunteers and Adoption Plus, they cover topics including adoption basics, approaching assessment, approaching the matching process and school. Adopters can download them from the NFS website.

There is no such thing as the ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ adoptive family. We are more interested in what you have to offer a child who needs adoption than your income level or whether you are on benefits.
We welcome applications from a wide range of people. Religion is not a determining factor in considering a person for adoption. We need adoptive parents to give safe and loving homes to children, helping each child to thrive in their new environment. Unfortunately there is a shortage of all minority ethnic adopters, in addition to this the number of children in care from BME backgrounds is increasing each year, we would therefore welcome applications from similar backgrounds.
We look at all circumstances individually. You are only automatically debarred from adoption if you have a record of offences against children, or significant offences of violence or a sexual nature.
Not necessarily. We ask families to have full medicals to ensure that they are fit enough to meet the needs of children placed with them.  If you have any worries about your health then we suggest you let us know and we will request a medical straight away.
No, you can be considered for adoption after having fertility investigations or treatment. However, we usually recommend a time gap of at least 6 months after treatment is finished before you apply. You are likely to have been through an emotional experience and you need time to adjust and to consider the implications of adoption carefully.

No, the experience that you have already gained in parenting children can be valuable. However if you have birth children, we would expect your youngest child to be at least four years of age before you start the adoption process.

An adopted child should always be the youngest child, with at least a two year age gap between them. Research has shown this approach has the most positive outcomes in adoption. We will generally want to meet any children not living with you, including grown up children, and to talk to them about your plans to adopt.

Due to medical evidence about the adverse effects of passive smoking on children, we do not place children with people who smoke. If you have been a smoker we would expect you to have given up smoking for at least six months before accepting an application from you. We apply the same criteria to the use of any nicotine related devices, including e-cigarettes and vaporisers.

The children we place for adoption have experienced loss and instability therefore they need their parents to be available for them. They would not thrive with substitute carers, childminders or day nurseries.

Most people are entitled to adoption leave for 12 months and employers are often sympathetic to requests for part-time hours. For some children, returning to work after adoption leave would not be appropriate but this will be discussed with you. Under some circumstances for a limited number of children there are some means-tested allowances available to help if finance is a problem.

Additional useful information


To apply for the pack complete the online form or call 0800 731 0171.

First4Adoption is a dedicated information service that provides lots of guidance and for people considering adoption.

We are registered with New Family Social (NFS) which is the UK network for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) adoptive and foster families. You can join NFS to share advice and support online, and to find others near you to share your journey

If you would like to find out more or are ready to begin your adoption journey then we would love to hear from you today.

Adoption Enquiry

There are two stages in the process of adoption which we aim to complete within six months – find out more about the adoption journey.

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Follow your progress, upload essential documents and keep in touch with your Social Worker with our Members Area.

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