Change a child's future

Adoption aims to provide a secure, stable life-long family for children who are unable to live with their birth families.  Our adoption service aims to meet the needs of children who are in need of a permanent new family.


Where possible, our aim is to return children who have needed alternative care to their own parents, or extended family.  For a small number of children, this is not possible and the decision is made to find an adoptive home for them.  Sometimes this will be with the parents' agreement.  However, this decision may be without parental consent.

Our responsibility is to meet the needs of children in our care.  The majority of adopted children are aged 2-5 years and may be adopted along with their siblings.

Children needing adoption often require help and support for their own developmental recovery.  Whilst a child's developmental future may be unclear, we offer a post-Adoption support service which supports you in caring for your child throughout their life.

Children who require adoption

A child may need additional support as a result of the following experiences.  They may have:

  • experienced the loss of a significant relationship, such as their birth parent(s)
  • been subject to neglect or abuse during their life
  • been exposed to prenatal drug and/or alcohol abuse

Who we look for?

We need adopters who can offer a "family for life" to:

  • children with emotional difficulties and challenging behaviour
  • groups of brothers and sisters together
  • children with mental or physical disabilities or medical needs
  • children who need to retain some contact with birth family members 

You can ask for further information via our online form at the bottom of this page.

We run recruitment campaigns twice a year by offering the opportunity for people to discuss their interests with a social worker.  This is an opportunity to discuss your circumstances with our social workers and we will help you work out if adoption is right for you.  

We ask that those interested in adoption wait until the next adoption recruitment is underway so that they can be part of the group preparation courses which we run.  Find out more about some of the checks we will do below.  

If you are interested in adoption, we will ask you to come along to our preparation courses.  Our courses are delivered in the evenings and weekends.

We aim to hold preparation groups for adopters twice a year. 

  • This will consist of 6-8 meetings
  • These meetings will be arranged for evenings and weekends 
  • There will be input from social workers and adult adoptees and adoptive parents.

The preparation group allows those interested in applying to adopt to consider the issues and challenges and establish if they have the skills and qualities to become adoptive parents.


In order to make sure anyone that wants to adopt has the required skills and qualities to give a child a safe, nurturing home environment, the Council will undertake an assessment.  

After the preparation group, you will be assessed by a social worker from the Fostering and Adoption Team.  You can be confident that the assessment is carried out by a qualified social worker who has experience of childcare, adoption and family placement work.

The assessment will include looking at the skills and experience you already have as well as areas which may require further development and support.  During this period a series of essential checks will be completed on you and any adults aged 16 and over in your home.

We aim to complete the assessment within six months.  This assessment involves writing a report about you, which you will have the opportunity to contribute and respond to, prior to the application being presented at the Adoption Panel.

The role of the Adoption Panel is to read the assessment and make a decision based on information prepared by your social worker.  

Protection of vulnerable groups (PVG)

All prospective adoptive parents are required to undergo a Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check.  The PVG check will highlight any criminal convictions an applicant has.  It is best practice to let us know at the start of your application process if you have been convicted of a criminal offence.  If you have a criminal conviction, it may still be possible for you to become an adoptive parent, this will be discussed with you on a case by case basis.

As a registered Adoption agency, we are required to undertake several statutory checks on potential and current foster carers.Medical checks

We require you to undergo a full medical assessment, which would be carried out by your GP.  Let us know at the start of your application if you have a history of medical problems.  Specific medical conditions may not preclude you from adopting children, however, it may impact on the number or age of child/children you can adopt.

Local Authority checks

We will also check records Social Work have.  If you have lived in another Local Authority since the age of sixteen, we would also check their records.

Employment history and employers reference

We will require you to disclose your full employment history.  As a matter, of course, we will seek a written reference from your current, or most recent, employer.

Previous partners, older and adult children

As part of our checks, if you have been in a previous long-term relationship, we will seek to contact your former partner.  If any children were involved in the relationship, we will also seek to contact them.  If you have any concerns, please inform us when we discuss your application.

Personal references

You will be asked to provide a list of six potential referees covering various stages of your life - two may be from relatives.  Referees will be asked to provide a written reference - some referees may also be visited.

Find out more about Diana's journey towards becoming a single adoptive parent and Joel and Erin's story about their adoption of a sibling pair.

Diana's story

Diana is a single adoptive parent who was in her late 40's when she started the adoption process.  Diana was keen to adopt a young child, but understood our policy for a maximum of a 45 year age gap between the adopter and the child as being "sensible and in the interests of the child".

Once Diane registered with us, she attended an Adoption Exchange Day which enabled Diana to find out more about the children requiring adoption and establish which children may be a suitable match with her.  Diana found she was drawn towards a particular older child and, following all the relevant information being shared, their formal match was agreed.  Diana was surprised that she felt drawn towards a child who was over 7 years old, especially since she was initially seeking to adopt a younger child.

Diana is keen to advise prospective adoptive parents to "be patient" and acknowledged that "it is really hard to desperately want to be a parent but to feel out of control and not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel".

Both Diana and her daughter have benefited from Adoption - Diana has experienced positive outcomes of becoming a parent and experiencing the changes and progress made by her daughter's developing confidence and involvement in various groups and clubs.

Joel and Erin's story

We welcomed a brother and sister sibling pair into our home three years ago.  They were 2 and 4 years old when our family started and are now 5 and 7.

Eight short weeks after we were approved as adoptive parents we were told about these cute little kids who were needing adoptive parents.  We were given written information about them then met their foster carer and talked about them a lot with our Social Worker.  We know the match was fantastic from the start.  Things moved quickly and 6 weeks after hearing about them we met them for the first time, a day we will never forget.  Over the following week we got to know them, hug them, look after them, play with them, bathe them and put them to bed.  Each day we went to visit we took back a car load of their toys and clothes for their new bedrooms in their new house.  They moved in with us about a week after first meeting us and we've never looked back.

Although it only took 4 months from adoption approval to placement, the legal adoption process took over 2 years and was a long, difficult and stressful process.  The children did have direct contact with their birth mother during the early stages of the process before the decision was made that this be terminated.  With the support of Social Services we advocated for our children in this decision.  We continue to provide yearly information exchange with the birth parents through formal processes.  The children have an older sibling, placed separately but we all meet up regularly and the 2 families will always be in touch with each other.  While there were further delays in the Court process, the children were safe and happy which just left the grown ups to do the waiting and the worrying that it might fall through - it didn't!  The official adoption day in court was an exciting and memorable occasion.

Although getting the adoption officially granted made little difference in our day to day family life it was a huge relief to finally have it in place.  The kids got new birth certificates, their last names were changed at school and nursery, they got passports and we went abroad on holiday to celebrate.  We bonded from the moment we met and the children have attached to us very well, though it did take the youngest about 6 months to attach to both of us equally.  Our lives are full of affection and love for each other, we are very fortunate.  Life can sometimes be complicated, but we are delighted with our family and wouldn't have it any other way.  Adoption has been such a positive experience for all four of us.  We would recommend it and would encourage anyone considering it to persevere with the process, it's all worth it.

The Adoption service acknowledge that typically the process can be longer from post approval to matching.  The changes in legislation and the use of Scotland's Adoption Register, Adoption Exchange days and Activity days have all helped in maximising the opportunities for children to be placed in their adoptive families.

Please let us know if you have any other questions or would like us to send you an information pack. 

Adoption information request form

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Last updated: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 12:09 PM