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Can I adopt?

"We had read various blogs and stories on the internet about how people were being turned down as adoptive parents for many varied reasons, to the point where we imagined you have to be some sort of almost perfect person or couple with an almost faultless past and perfect family!"

We are a fully inclusive service that welcomes applications from people with a range of different backgrounds and experiences. What is important is that you are able to provide a good level of care for a child in need of a 'forever home'.

There are still many myths and misconceptions about who can adopt. Bury welcomes adopters with different experiences and from different backgrounds.

Here are some of the myths

I'm single, so I can't adopt

Single people can successfully adopt, whatever their gender. However, it is really important that you have the support of friends and/or family throughout the adoption process and into family life.

We're in a long-term relationship but don't want to get married, we can't adopt

You do not have to be married or civil partnered to adopt. If you are in a relationship you need to be stable and established as a couple. This is because adoption brings with it lots of changes and these can put strains on any relationship.

I can't adopt because I'm gay

Your sexuality is not a factor in your right to adopt. Research shows no difference in the quality of family life a heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual family can provide. New Family Social can provide extra info about becoming an LGBT adopter as well as support and social groups.

I'm too old to adopt

Adopters need to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit. The key question we will ask is - can you provide a safe and stable home for a child until adulthood and beyond? Your age and health might have a bearing on the age and needs of the children we agree you are able to adopt.

I'm overweight I can't adopt

Being a bit overweight won't stop you adopting a child. It's only a problem if you are significantly overweight and your doctor thinks this poses a threat to your health. All prospective adopters need to have a medical to be sure they are fit enough for the task.

My financial situation isn't perfect, I won't be able to adopt

Your financial circumstances will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment, but having a low income or being unemployed doesn't automatically rule you out. We can consider applications from people receiving benefits or those who are currently paying off debts.

I work full time so I'm not allowed to adopt

Many parents work full time. You should be entitled to take some adoption leave when you can spend time settling your child in and supporting him or her to form attachments to you. We would expect that one parent would take at least 6 months off as we know from experience how important these early stages of your new family life will be to you and the child. Couples can also share the leave: - Shared parental leave

I live in a small rented flat not a mansion, I won't be able to adopt

It doesn't matter if you own or rent and if your house or flat isn't huge; the important thing is that you have a stable and comfortable home environment. We advise against moving homes once a child is placed as it can cause them to feel very unsettled. We need potential adopters to have a spare bedroom available for a child so they have a space to call their own and privacy as they grow older.

I can't adopt because I have a criminal record

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. However, with the exception of these specified offences, a criminal record will not necessarily rule you out. The key is to be totally honest with us from the start.

I have children already, so I won't be able to adopt

You can adopt if you or your partner already have birth children or children you have previously adopted. You can also adopt if you have grown up children who live independently.
We would strongly recommend that you look at adopting a child at least 2 years younger than children already in the family. Experience tells us that this reduces the chance of an adoption failing.

I am a carer, I can't adopt

Having caring responsibilities wouldn't necessarily rule you out. We would need to look at each individual set of circumstances and ensure that you had the time and energy to care for a child too. We would also need to DBS check any adult living in the home.

I've had fertility treatment, I won't be able to adopt

Many people will have had fertility treatment before they contact us. We know that this can be a demanding and often distressing experience. We believe that you need time to grieve after unsuccessful treatment in order to go on to adopt children who themselves may have had a traumatic or damaging early start in life. This can take different amounts of time for different people. You may wish to start looking at information about adoption while you are taking some time out; you can download a pack from this website and look through it in your own time.

I can't adopt because I smoke

You can quit! We can sign-post you to organisations who can give you free support to help you to stop smoking.
According to national medical advice children under five and those with particular medical conditions should not be placed in smoking households. However, we would recommend you give up smoking whatever age child you are hoping to adopt as experience tells us this will strengthen your adoptive application.

I am disabled so will not be allowed to adopt

Being disabled doesn't exclude you from adopting. It is widely recognised that disabled people can provide loving homes for children. Disability is only one of the many issues that will be considered by an adoption agency so don't rule yourself out before you have spoken with us.

I have a specific medical condition, I won't be able to adopt

Medical conditions won't necessarily rule you out but you need to be well enough to cope with the rigours of parenting. Each potential adopter has a medical during the first part of the process and will be advised by an experienced medical practitioner if there are any issues.

I have a history of mental illness, I won't be allowed to adopt

In our society there is still a lot of misunderstanding and stigma in relation to mental health. We can consider applications from people who are managing their symptoms well, through medical or other therapies, and those who have gone on to make a full recovery. We would make use of information provided by you and relevant professionals to guide our decisions.

I speak fluent English but my partner doesn't, we can't adopt

When a child is first placed with you they remain 'looked after' by the local authority. While the child is 'looked after', social workers have a duty to make sure he or she is happy and healthy. To do so they will need to be able to communicate easily with you as the child's carer. For this reason if one of you struggles to speak or understand English we would encourage you to learn.

I like the look of you guys but I don't actually live in Bury, I won't be allowed to apply with you

We welcome applications from potential adopters outside of Bury, within roughly a 30 mile radius or 1 hour's drive from our offices in Whitefield. It is important that your Social Worker can visit you regularly in order to give you a good level of support. You can find out more about which adoption agency best fit your needs at First 4 Adoption, the National Adoption Gateway.