Adopting a child in the UK – the legal process

8th March 2015 by


When any adult begins the process of adopting a child they are embarking on a complex legal process which will require applications to adoption agencies, contact with social workers and obligatory court proceedings.

Healys’ family lawyers in London and Brighton can help prospective adopters through this legal process and we have produced a basic guide to adoption proceedings to highlight the manifold issues of adoption.

Starting at the beginning

Before any legal adoption proceedings can begin, potential adopters will need to contact an adoption agency who, along with social workers, will check on the suitability of the applicants to be parents and help find a suitable child.

The first process in adoption is registration and checks, followed by assessment and approval. Once these issues have been dealt with the adopters and the agency can match a child to the prospective parents.

Initially, after a series of visits with the child and meetings with agencies and people who have been involved thus far, the child will be placed with the potential adoptive parents, and any other members of the family, for an adoption placement.

Once the adoption placement has taken place and it has been agreed that the relationship should be made permanent, the family can apply to the family court for an Adoption Order.

Adoption proceedings through the Court

  • The Adopters complete and file an application form.
  • The Court appoints a Reporting Officer (if birth parents are likely to consent to adoption).
  • The Adoption agency social worker files Schedule 2 Report.
  • If birth parents do not consent to adoption, the Court appoints the Reporting Officer as Guardian to the child and a lengthy investigation into the circumstances of the adoption application will proceed.
  • Statement of Facts required by adopters – specialist family lawyers should be involved by this point to give legal representation to the adopters.
  • Report filed by the Guardian followed by court date for Directions Hearing.
  • Final Hearing – where the Adoption order is made, it will usually be done with the children present and many courts are happy to have photographs taken and for the family to celebrate the important occasion.


Healys family lawyers for adoption proceedings

Of course, the above guide to adoption proceedings represents the barest bones of the adoption process and each case will be unique and hold its own complexities.

If you are considering adopting a child in the UK, the family lawyers at Healys in London and Brighton are here to help.

To find out more about the services we provide for prospective adopters, please call our London or Brighton offices, so that we can discuss your circumstances.