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Adoption is a way of providing a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their own parents.

It's a legal procedure in which all the parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters.

Once an adoption order has been granted it can't be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances.

An adopted child loses all legal ties with their first mother and father (the "birth parents") and becomes a full member of the new family, usually taking the family's name.

What is the difference between adoption and fostering?

Foster carers share the responsibility for the child with a local authority and the child's parents.

Fostering is usually a temporary arrangement, though sometimes foster care may be the plan until the child grows up. This longterm or "permanent" fostering cannot provide the same legal security as adoption for either the child or the foster family but it may be the right plan for some children.

Who are the children who need adopting?

There are upwards of 6,000 children across the UK needing adoption every year. These children are from a great variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Many of these children are of school age and over half of them are in groups of brothers and sisters who need to be placed together.

There are disabled children and children whose future development is unclear. Some children will have been abused and/or neglected and all will have experienced moves and uncertainty and their resulting behaviour may be challenging.

Who can adopt?

·         You have to be over 21, happy to make space in your life and home for a child, patient, flexible and energetic, and determined to make a real difference to a child’s life, for a lifetime.

·         Some people think about adoption but never look into it further – possibly because they are over 40 and think they’ll be ruled out. But they are wrong, there is no upper age limit. Agencies are looking for adopters who have the physical and mental energy to care for demanding children, and whose lifestyle suggests they will still have that energy when the child is a teenager, or young adult. Older children are among those children who wait the longest so adoption agencies are keen to hear from people who can give a permanent and loving home to an older child.

·         A record of offences will need to be carefully looked into but, apart from some offences against children, will not necessarily rule someone out.

·         Everyone has to have a medical examination and health issues will need to be explored.

·         People from all ethnic origins and religions can adopt although some religions and cultures have their own perspectives on this. It is essential that any family with whom a child is placed is in a strong position to meet the child’s emotional, identity, health and development needs. Over many years, research and practice experience indicates that children usually do best when brought up in a family that reflects or promotes their ethnic, cultural or religious identity. What this means in practice is that efforts are made to find a family that reflects or can promote the child’s individual identity. This search always needs to be balanced against the importance of minimizing any delay in placing the child. In practice, social workers need carefully to consider how available adopters can meet as many of a child's assessed needs as possible while ensuring the child is placed with the minimum of delay. In England, the revised Adoption Statutory Guidance 2011, establishes a clear framework for addressing these complex issues.

·         Disabled people are not excluded and sometimes experience of disability will be positively welcomed.

·         A single person, or one partner in an unmarried couple - heterosexual, lesbian or gay - can adopt. Since 30 December 2005 unmarried couples in England and Wales can apply to adopt jointly. Unmarried couples in Scotland and Northern Ireland can also apply to adopt jointly.

Information kindly provided with permission of CoramBAAF https://corambaaf.org.uk/fostering-adoption/adoption 


Advice Line

We offer advice to members of the public and professionals. 

    02920 761155 or 01745 336336

AFA Cymru, c/o Children in Wales, 25 Windsor Place, CARDIFF CF10 3BZ

AFA Cymru, W2 Morfa Clwyd Business Centre, 84 Marsh Road, Rhyl, Denbighshire, LL18 2AF

Who we are

In September 2015, The Association of Fostering and Adoption (AFA) Cymru was formed. Whilst its day to day operational services of training, consultancy, professional advice and information are delivered independently of St. David’s, it is by law governed by St. David’s Children Society under the terms of its charitable status.

St. David's Children Society is a registered charity (Registration No: 509163). A Company limited by Guarantee (Registered Cardiff 1546688).

Registered Office: St. David’s Children Society, 28 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3BA.

The Association for Fostering and Adoption Cymru (AFA Cymru) is a Welsh charity that promotes good practice across the breadth of permanency planning for children and young people.   It also offers advice, training and consultancy to professionals and members of the public to support best practice.  

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