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Common misconceptions busted

Single people can adopt, whatever their gender. Many single people and unmarried couples have successfully adopted children.

Adopters need to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit. We will expect you to have the health and vitality to see your children through to an age of independence. Consideration will be given to your age comparative to the age of the child you want to adopt; younger children are more likely to be placed with younger parents. 

Whether you are heterosexual, lesbian or gay is not a factor in the decision making process. We are interested in the skills and ability you have to offer children and not your sexuality.

Your financial circumstances and employment status will always be considered as part of an adoption assessment, but low income, being unemployed or employed do not automatically rule you out. You can be an adoptive parent while on benefits. When a child is placed you may be eligible for statutory adoption pay.

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.

Not true. Having children of your own (of any age) will certainly not exclude you from adopting, whether they are living at home with you or have grown up. Consideration will, however, be given to the age gap between your own 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 Disclosure and Barring Service (previously CRB) checked, as will any other adult member of your household.

It is really important that anyone wanting to be an adoptive parent understands their own motivations. We will expect you to discuss both emotional and medical issues with us.

If you have had or are undergoing fertility treatment most agencies will expect you to complete any medical investigations and fertility treatments before considering adoption. The emotional demands in pursuing either route to parenthood can be great and doing both in tandem is not encouraged. We advise a gap of at least 12 months between ending fertility treatments and beginning an adoption application.

Smoking will not necessarily rule you out from adopting. Consideration will be given to this and to all health and lifestyle related issues. We will want to know of any specific health risks to you or to the children who may be placed in your care.

According to national medical advice, children under five and those with particular medical conditions should not be placed in smoking households. This also applies if you use e-cigarettes. You will usually need to be smoke-free for at least six months before adoption from these groups can be considered.

Being disabled should not automatically exclude anyone from becoming an adopter and it is widely recognised that disabled people can provide a very loving home for a child.

Disability is only one of the many issues that we will consider so don't rule yourself out before you have spoken to us. Everyone who applies to adopt will have a health assessment as part of the approval process.

Even if you believe that you might need some additional assistance to adopt a young person, we may be able to provide this support.

Not true. The aim for everyone in the adoption system is to find loving families for each child in need of a happy future, even if there is not a perfect ethnic match. Ethnicity is relevant however and you must have an understanding of the challenges that raising a child of a different ethnicity can provide.

You need to have been living in the UK for at least twelve months before you can apply to adopt.

Nearly half of the children waiting for adoption in Cumbria need to be adopted along with their brothers and sisters.

Adopting brothers and sisters together can seem a big step but we will be here to support both you and the children throughout the assessment process and beyond.