The adoption process

The process for adoption can feel like a long journey with a lot of steps, but this is to ensure you are ready to adopt. Creating your family includes training, assessments and matching. The timescale can vary depending on your circumstances, but we do everything we can to make it as quick and smooth as possible for you and our children.

Most adopters are approved within eight months of their first phone call to us.

Pre-Stage 1

Step 1 – Make the initial enquiry

If you are interested in adoption, you can speak to us by email, telephone or at an event.

Telephone: (01495) 355766

You can ask to speak to an adoption worker for an informal chat and we can then send you an information pack.

Step 2 – Information Event

Once you’ve read and considered our information pack and you would like to talk more about the possibility of adoption, get back in touch with us and we’ll invite you to one of our regular Information Events.

These are held six times a year. You will get more information about the process, adoption criteria and what will happen if you decide to progress. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your individual circumstances privately with one of our social workers if you wish.

Step 3 – The initial interview

If after hearing more about adoption you want to proceed, then an adoption social worker will come for an initial visit with you in your home.

This will be an opportunity to discuss with the social worker what you want out of adoption, what you feel you can offer a child and help you to be sure that it is right for you. It will allow you and the social worker to think about adoption in greater depth and in specific relation to your own circumstances.

After your initial interview, you will be offered a Registration of Interest form to complete and return, so the agency can begin the assessment of you as an adopter.

Stage 1

Step 4:

Within Stage 1 we will need to complete all the statutory checks and references for your application to adopt and ensure you are prepared to enter Stage 2. We will contact the Disclosure and Barring Service, the police, your local authority, and your employers (where appropriate).

You will be asked to supply us with the details of at least three people who can comment on your suitability to adopt and ask you to take a medical which will be shared with the agency Medical Adviser.

Having checks made on you may sound daunting, but it’s worth remembering that agencies have to carry out these checks to check a child’s safety.

You will also have to attend a preparation course. It is a legal requirement that all prospective adopters attend the ‘Preparation to Adopt’ training.

The training courses are regularly available at various times throughout the year and consist of three full day sessions usually held on a Thursday, Friday and Monday. The sessions are attended by others who are considering becoming adoptive parents. The training goes into detail of the types of children who require adoptive homes and the challenges that they and their adoptive families face.

We will also support you to complete specific research or advise you on tasks you can complete that will aid you in becoming parents through adoption.

At the end of Stage 1 there will be a review to ensure that you are ready and prepared to enter into Stage 2 of the assessment.

Stage 2

Step 5:

In this stage we will visit you at home on a weekly basis and talk through with you why you want to adopt, the children waiting for adoption and their needs, and your overall strengths and suitability. We will also consider whether you have any support needs.

You have a crucial role to play at this time. These weeks are a chance for you to take a very honest look at what you want out of adoption and what you can offer a child waiting for adoption (many of whom may be quite demanding).

While you are learning about adoption, we’ll begin to assess your suitability to adopt by building up a thorough profile of you. This is known as the Prospective Adopters Report or PAR for short. We will ask you detailed questions about your own family background, your childhood and your present circumstances. If you are applying as a couple, the social worker will want to see you together and individually.

The assessment process is demanding, it can feel intrusive and it will take on average 10 weeks to complete with you committing to weekly visits in that time. There are good reasons why everything is explored in depth with you. Adoption is for life and we must be sure you are right for the role and that the timing is right for you. Just as importantly, you must be certain you wish to adopt.

Step 6 – The end of the assessment process

At the end of the assessment process, you and the social worker will have worked together to produce a PAR report. The report includes a detailed assessment of you as a potential adoptive parent, along with the results of the checks completed, i.e. medical, police and local authority checks. A key part of the report is for you to decide the sort of child or children you feel you could adopt. Could you, for example, look after a child with a physical or learning difficulty? What age range would you consider? And how many children are you able to offer a home to?

You are entitled to see most of the assessment report (except the references and health report) and will have the opportunity to comment on what is written.

Step 7 – The adoption panel

Once it is completed and your comments have been added, the assessment report goes forward to an adoption panel – a group of social workers, other professionals and independent people including past adoptive parents and adopted adults.

Your social worker will attend the panel to answer any questions with you. You will be invited to attend panel but the choice regarding attendance is yours. Once they have considered the report, the panel will make a recommendation as to whether or not you should be approved as an adoptive parent. You will usually be notified of the adoption panel’s recommendation on the same day. The recommendation is then considered by the Local Authority’s Agency Decision Maker who confirms the decision and makes it formal. This should be done within 10 working days.

Step 8 – Matching you with a child

Once you are approved as adoptive parents, we will begin to consider whether there are children waiting for adoption locally who might be a suitable match for you.

In some cases we may already have children in mind for you and this process would start more quickly. We begin the matching process by looking at the profiles of children waiting for adoption.

Once approved, the process of searching for a suitable match will take place within SEWAS’ adoption area i.e. Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Newport and Monmouthshire. If we are not able to match you with a child in-house for whatever reason, we are able to access the Adoption Register for Wales and the National Adoption Register which will begin to consider possible matches throughout Wales and then UK wide.

Step 9 – Matching panel and placement of a child

Once a child or children have been identified as possibly suitable for you, you will be provided with some basic information about the child to see if you feel this is a potential match. If you wish to continue, you will be provided with all of that child’s background information.

From there, you will have the opportunity to meet with the child’s social worker, the foster carers and medical advisor for the child. If, after all these meetings, everyone agrees that the match is a positive one, you will return to the adoption panel for them to consider the match. Panel will provide a recommendation which the agency’s decision maker will also have to confirm.

Should this be successful there will be a period of introductions where you and your child will slowly get to know each other. This will result in your adoptive child or children coming to live with you and becoming a part of your new family.

Remember, you are not on your own. Your social worker will be able to offer you support and advice after placement and will be responsible for keeping in touch with you until the adoption is finalised. You should also talk to your social worker about what adoption support services are available.

Your child will need to keep links with their birth family via letters or direct contact and this will be fully discussed with you before you decide to go ahead and prior to matching panel. All contact arrangements proposed are done so with the child’s needs in mind and also to keep you and your child safe.

Step 10 – The Adoption Order

When your adoptive child has successfully settled in your family and has been with you for a minimum of 10 weeks, you will be able to apply to the court for an adoption order to be made. Once the order is made, all rights and responsibilities originally held by the birth parents transfer to you. This is also the time where, unless you need it, social workers will no longer be involved.


If you wish to adopt you must be:

  • Able to offer a safe and stable home for a child
  • Minimum age of 21
  • No Cautions or convictions against a child (you or any other members of your household)
  • Must be a resident in the UK
  • Have finished fertility treatment and have waited a minimum of 6 months
  • Have a strong, stable and enduring relationship if you are with a partner

Many other criteria will be considered during our discussions whether to proceed with your interest. If you have any worries or questions about your circumstances please contact us

Welsh Early Permanence (WEP)

‘With most children in Wales, when they are first removed from their birth family either just before or at the start of care proceedings, they are either placed with family members or in a short term foster placement with approved foster carers. If the local authority plan, ratified by the court, is for the child to either be reunified with birth parents or placed with family members, then the child moves from their foster placement at the end of proceedings. If the care plan for adoption is accepted by the court, then the foster carer sees the child through their transition to their adoptive placement. With WEP, the foster carers who take the child at the start of proceedings are also approved prospective adoptive parents. They act as any foster carers, caring for the child, facilitating contact with birth family and taking part in the child’s looked after reviews. If the care plan is for reunification or placement with family, then they help the child with the transition to their birth family. If the care plan is for adoption, then the child stays with the foster carers who then become their adoptive parents.

Becoming a WEP carer is not for everyone. However, if you are interested in learning more about this as an option you can sign up with your agency to a half day online (live webinar) training course ‘Is Welsh Early Permanence right for you?’ which will look in more detail at the role of the WEP foster carer. At the end of that course you may decide that WEP is not for you but you will at least have explored the option. Following that half day, if you are still interested, then you can take part in a one day course that prepares you for being a foster carer. All of this will be explained in detail at the half day exploratory course. If you are interested, talk to your assessing social worker who can discuss this more fully with you and book a place on the half day course if you decide you want to know more.’

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