5.00 - 7.30pm, Wednesday 21st February, 2018
Interested in exploring adoption? Come to our information evening in Bristol and meet adopters and our adoption team. Read more
Yes you can. There is no upper age limit, but as caring for children is demanding you will need to be able to demonstrate the energy and emotional and physical health necessary to care for a child through to adulthood. The majority of our adopters these days are in their 30s and 40s.
Yes you can. The last few years have seen huge changes in adoption. Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a factor in your right to be considered, or indeed your ability to adopt. At CCS we recognise the strengths and skills that LGBT adopters bring and positively welcome enquiries from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender adopters. In the last year, a third of our approved adopters have been people from the LGBT community. Our entire team have received training from New Family Social on best practice in this emerging area. CCS run a regular social group for LGBT adoptive families through The Centre for Adoption Support and Education.
We welcome everyone, people of all faiths and none. Many of our adopters have come to us because of our historical connections with the Church. Others have told us that while they feared they might meet prejudice around their faith this has not been the case. Your faith is not under scrutiny when you go through the assessment process. What would be explored is your ability and attitude to parenting a child, who may or may not end up sharing your faith.
The roots of our organisation are in the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1904 as the Catholic Children’s society and for many years the children who were adopted through the organisation were the children of “unmarried mothers”. But times change, society changes and in 2005 the law changed, permitting same sex couples to adopt. Subsequently the agency broke its formal connections to the Church and in 2008 changed its name to Clifton Children’s Society. We are now simply good neighbours.
Yes you can. Many people come to adoption after having tried to have children through fertility treatment. And to help people learn more about what it’s really like to adopt a child, CCS Adoption now have adoption advisers who are adoptive parents and have experienced fertility issues themselves. They are very happy to talk informally about what it’s like to adopt, about the types of children waiting for families and about the adoption process here at CCS. You can explore adoption with us whether you are considering or having fertility treatment now, or if it is something you are moving on from. We have no hard and fast rules about a period of time between the end of treatment and starting the adoption process, however many adoptive families tell us that waiting at least 6 months before starting the formal assessment process was helpful for them, but give us a call to discuss at any time. We only want people to begin the process when they are emotionally ready and positive about the opportunity to start or complete their family through adoption. Click here to read the story of Susan and Matt who made their family with CCS Adoption after fertility treatment.
The children who need adoptive families range from newborns to ten year olds – some have additional needs, some have a BAME background and some would benefit from staying with their brothers and sisters – all are different. Because of recent changes in social work practice there is a move towards trying to give children Early Permanence with foster parents who would become adopters if a decision is taken further down the line that they cannot live permanently with their birth family. This Early Permanence route has major benefits for the baby/child who is no longer at risk of moving around the care system and receives good parenting from as early as possible. As a result there are more babies who potentially need adoption. But equally there are more risks for the Early Permanence carer in that the child might return to the birth family and there will be more unknowns in terms of a baby’s future development. Here at CCS we find families for children of all ages, including babies. Many prospective adopters, for understandable reasons, start their adoption journey with a fixed idea of wanting a child as young as possible, ideally a baby. We ask them to try and keep an open mind and to explore what is really right for their particular family and situation. What adopting a baby and becoming an Early Permanence carer might feel like is something that we would want to explore in depth through the adoption assessment and training process and discover if that is right for you.
There are a disproportionate number of children from a BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) background waiting for adoptive families and these children, sadly, often still wait the longest. Whenever possible adoption agencies will always try and find parents for children who match their ethnicity and cultural background. So, if you have a BAME background you are likely to be very valuable to an adoption agency and here at CCS we would love to talk with you. However, while adoption agencies try to make ethnic matches as closely as they can for children, permanence for the child is the most important need to be fulfilled. As a result when agencies can’t match the child’s ethnic background they can also place children transracially i.e. with parents of a different ethnicity to the child, provided the adopters are able to demonstrate their ability and commitment to supporting the child in all aspects of their identity.
Yes you can. Part of the adoption process would explore your support networks as these are considered important, whether you are adopting as a single, or a couple. CCS runs a regular social group for single adopters through The Centre for Adoption Support and Education.
CCS works with prospective adopters who live within about an hour’s drive from our office in Bristol. This is because once you have your child/ren at home with you we will be in regular contact for support visits and settling in and the distance needs to be a practical one for all concerned. If you are unsure whether you fall within our catchment or not then just give us a call and discuss with one of our adoption advisers what might be possible.
You do not need to own your own home in order to be considered for adoption. What is important is that you can demonstrate that you would be able to offer a secure and stable home for a child. However, you would probably be expected to have a separate bedroom for each child you were hoping to adopt.
Yes you can. Your financial circumstances and employment status will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment. However, having a low income or being unemployed does not rule you out and there is no minimum income required. Being able to support your family financially is important but so too is being able to spend enough time with your child/ren as part of building attachment and both would be explored in the adoption process. What we are looking for is stability and security in your situation. If you are employed you may wish to look at your adoption policy at work, to understand what adoption leave and pay rights you have. You may be eligible for Tax Credits or other benefits such as Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance and Carer’s Allowance (if you adopt a disabled child). Click here for further information on this from First4Adoption
None of these facts would necessarily prevent you from adopting. And many adopters successfully adopt whilst having some of these issues. However, we would want to explore with you, your own GP (all applicants must arrange and pay for a medical with their own GP) and our medical adviser, whether or not any of these things would significantly reduce your life expectancy, or prevent you from being able to effectively parent a child. If the health issue were lifestyle related then we would expect you to demonstrate a commitment to making positive change. And if the issue were an intermittent one then we would explore with you whether or not there were strategies that could be developed to support you and ensure your child was not affected during these times.
You don’t have to be a British citizen to adopt a child, but you (or your partner, if you’re a couple) must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK and must have lived in the UK for at least 1 year before you begin the application process.
If you have a criminal caution or conviction for offences against children, or certain sexual offences against adults then you will not be able to adopt but, with the exception of these specified offences, a criminal record will not necessarily rule you out. The key is to be totally honest in your application, and this will enable us to explore any criminal cautions or convictions with you and what these may mean in terms of adoption.
Yes you can. Having children at home (of any age) will not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up. However, consideration will be given to the age gap between these children and the age of the child(ren) you wish to adopt; and the position of each child within the family in accordance with the child(ren)’s needs. Children over 16 will usually be DBS checked, as will any other adult member of your household.
Smoking will not necessarily rule you out from adopting. However, smoking poses significant health risks and passive smoking impacts children. Local Authorities placing children will not prioritise families where someone smokes so we would expect a commitment to changing this.
We strongly encourage all prospective adopters including those who have had previous experience of parenting to get as much “hands-on” experience as they can of looking after children to whom they are not related. This is because the process of making connections with and building relationships with children happens differently in adoption to the way it happens in birth families.
No, but the main carer will need to be able to take at least six months and preferably twelve months off in adoption leave. This can be shared if you are adopting as a couple. However, this may need to be longer depending on the needs of the child and the financial position of your family.
“Just want to say a big “Thank you” to all at CCS for making our dream come true. Anyone thinking of adopting, OK, it’s not easy but stick with it because it’s so worthwhile in the end. Good Luck !”
Don’t rule yourself out