When considering adopting a child from overseas, you may well have an idea about the country you wish to adopt from. You may already have family connections there or have a history of the country, you might be adopting a child who is related to you or you may not have these prior connections. We can help you to explore all the options available to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I am eligible to adopt from overseas?
To adopt from overseas, you have to make sure that you would be eligible to adopt in the UK which means that you must be over 21 years of age and habitually resident in the UK. A criminal record where you have been found guilty of or cautioned for a prescribed offence (generally offences against or involving children) would preclude you from applying to adopt in the UK or overseas.
Other countries have their own eligibility criteria which are often more detailed than the UK eligibility criteria. For example, some countries have upper age limits, they might only accept married couples, or restrict applications on certain health grounds. They may also prioritise applications dependent on the prospective adopter’s proven links to the country.
The Approval Process
Intercountry adoption is governed by UK legislation and regulations in order to safeguard children, birth families and prospective adopters. If you do not follow the intercountry adoption procedures you may commit an offence.
If you are interested in adopting a child from overseas, and live within the local authority areas of Bournemouth, Dorset or Poole, contact us here at Aspire for an initial discussion with an experienced adoption social worker. In doing so, you will also have the opportunity to find out more about adopting a child from this country too. If you still think adopting a child from overseas is the route you wish to go down, we will arrange for one of our social workers to visit you at home to discuss further. The approval process follows the same two stage process as adopting a child from this country.
This involves us undertaking the checks we are required to complete as part of any adoption assessment. Your social worker will be on hand to guide you through this process, making suggestions and recommendations where needed. Checks during this stage will include:
- A full DBS check, to make sure you can safely look after a child (or children) throughout their life. We urge you to be open about anything you feel may come back from this check so that we can discuss the implications in relation to your application at an early stage.
- Checks with the local authority social care, child protection and education services where you live or have lived.
- A full medical check with your own GP.
- Written personal references.
- You’ll also have the opportunity to attend a preparation course with other prospective adopters.
When these initial checks are back, we will discuss with you about moving into stage 2.
Stage 2 of the process involves a more in depth assessment. You’ll be regularly visited by your social worker, who will talk to you about all aspects of your life, your family, your relationships (past and present), the support you have, your experience with children, and expectations of being an adoptive parent.
Your social worker will visit your referees including family members.
We will also start to talk to you about the child or children you are looking for to become part of your family.
On completion of the assessment, your social worker will then write a detailed report called a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR), to include all the information they have gathered during Stage One and Stage Two.
Your PAR is then sent to the Aspire Adoption Panel and you’ll be invited to attend a Panel meeting with your social worker. The Panel makes a recommendation about your suitability to the Agency Decision Maker, a senior manager in Children’s Services. The Agency Decision Maker will decide if you are suitable to adopt.
Once you have been approved as suitable to adopt, we will send papers to the Department for Education for processing and for them to issue a Certificate of Eligibility which is then sent overseas to the country you wish to adopt from.
Once your papers have been sent overseas you will be placed on a waiting list. How long you will wait to be matched with a child will depend on each country and the individual children waiting in the country. In general, if you are flexible with regard to gender or are willing to accept a child with special needs the wait for a placement will be shorter.
How long does it take to adopt?
The approval process takes up to 6 months from the time Aspire accepts your Registration of Interest to you being approved as suitable adopters.
How long you would wait for a match with a child will vary from country to country and on a case by case basis and for adoption from some countries you could wait for several years.
Adopting a child from overseas is a long and complex process and it is important to understand that before you start on the journey.
What countries could I adopt from?
Who are the children?
If I am related to a child do I need to go through this process?
Do I have to travel to the country in order to adopt from overseas?
Do I have to pay for an assessment?
What support will I get when I return to the UK?
Things to consider with adopting a child from overseas
- Your ability to be respectful of a child’s culture and religion;
- Your ability to understand the child’s background and to ensure that they grow up with a full sense of their own identity and heritage.
Do you have a question about adoption?
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