Information for Birth Relatives

What adoption means

Adoption is a way of providing a new permanent family for a child who cannot be brought up by their birth family. It means the permanent transfer of parental responsibility for your child to their adoptive parents, meaning that you will no longer have legal rights to them.

The decision for a child to be adopted is not made by the local authority or Aspire, but by the Court. This is such an important event in a child’s life that the law requires Adoption Agencies and the courts to make sure they put the child’s long-term welfare first when they make decisions about adoption. Once an Adoption Order has been made, the child will become a full member of their adoptive family.

Adoption Advice and Support

If you are willing for your child to be adopted, a social worker who works for the court will visit you and make sure that you understand what adoption is all about. They need to be sure that you are willing to agree to your child’s adoption freely and without any conditions. If this social worker is satisfied that you have thought about it carefully and know what you are doing, you will be asked to sign a formal document giving your agreement.

If you are not happy about your child being adopted it is important for you to seek legal advice from a solicitor as soon as possible.

Aspire Adoption can offer you support if you have a child who is being adopted or who has been adopted. We also manage any indirect exchanges of information (letterbox) or direct contact set up between you and your child’s adoptive family, including those set up by Bournemouth, Dorset or Poole before Aspire became operational in July 2017.

Birth Family Matters

Aspire also commissions an independent support service to birth relatives from a Voluntary Adoption Agency called Families for Children. The service, called Birth Family Matters (BFM) service, operates independently of the local authorities and Aspire. It provides counselling, support and information about adoption. This service is available to you if:

  • Adoption is the plan for your child
  • Your child has already been placed for adoption or has been adopted
  • You are a relative of a child who will be or has been adopted

If you are affected by any of the above, we recognise that it is very important for you to have relevant information and the chance to talk about how adoption might affect you now and in the future.

The feelings associated with adoption may be confusing, involving grief, loss and anger. It may not be easy for you to discuss these feelings with your family or friends so we are here to listen and support you.

The support which Aspire and the BFM service provide gives you an opportunity to talk about the things that may concern you or you may like to know more about. We can discuss contact or more general support. We can advise of possible contributions to your child’s life story book.

Providing this service in partnership with Families for Children.

Find out more on the Families for Children BFM

Our Adoption and Special Guardianship Support Team are happy to help

Available during office hours on 0300 123 9868, email us at, or get in touch below.

Do you have a question about adoption?

Working together to deliver Aspire Adoption Services