Frequently asked questions about adoption

Frequently asked questions about adoption

Newcastle Adoption Service welcomes enquiries from people interested in adopting a child in the North East of England within 50 miles of the city. This includes Sunderland and the rest of Tyne and Wear, County Durham, most of Northumberland, and part of Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

Below are some frequently asked questions about adoption in the UK, including who can and can't adopt, and about the process of adopting a child with the support of Newcastle City Council.

Q. What's the difference between fostering and adoption?

When you adopt a child, you become the full, legal parent of that child. Fostering is an arrangement where the child remains the legal responsibility of the local authority and/or the birth parents. Most children in care are fostered for short periods of time and eventually return to their birth parents. Where children will not be able to return to their birth family, the local authority will look into alternatives such as adoption. Some children need permanent foster care when adoption is not appropriate for them. This can be for all sorts of reasons to do with their specific needs.

Q. Who can't adopt?

There are very few people who can't adopt, but anyone who has committed a serious criminal offence, including offences against a child, or certain violent offences, will not be able to adopt. Some serious medical conditions may prevent a person from being approved as an adoptive parent. And of course, you do need to consider whether your accommodation will offer sufficient space for any child joining your family.

Your general health, wellbeing and lifestyle choices will be taken into consideration when the adoption assessment is carried out as some issues or conditions can limit your parenting capacity. However, we have no 'blanket bans' as such and will look at each issue in the context of the whole assessment and what you're able to offer as adoptive parents.

Q. What if I smoke?

You can still adopt if you're a smoker. However, we wouldn't place children under the age of five in a household where anybody smokes because of the potential health risks involved. We would want to place any child with asthma or similar conditions in a non-smoking household.

Q. What support will I get after I've adopted a child?

We recognise that adoptive parents may need support throughout the childhood and teenage years of their adopted child. We're committed to doing everything we can to help and have an Adoption Support Team attached to the service. We'll provide you with support at your invitation and you won't be left to cope on your own. You can request an assessment of support needs at any time. We also provide a service called 'After Adoption' for anyone who'd prefer to have independent adoption support.

Q. Will I be paid?

Adoptive parents aren't paid for parenting adopted children. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to carry out an assessment of need for adoption support. Part of this assessment is to look at your financial circumstances. In certain circumstances, we can agree to support placements with one-off payments or a series of payments to meet a specific need such as therapy for the child, or to support an adoptive placement where the child has additional needs and would benefit from financial support.

Q. Will I be given information about a child's background?

All adoption agencies are required by law to give you written information about the child. This will include details of their background, history of care and educational and medical needs. It will help you to understand the needs of the child when they come to live in your home. It also allows you to help the child to understand the circumstances around their adoption as they grow up.

Q. Does it matter where I live?

We recruit adopters who live outside Newcastle within a 50-mile radius, as well as those who live in the local area. This region includes the major towns of Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington and Hartlepool, and the City of Durham. It covers Tyne and Wear, most of Northumberland, some of North Yorkshire and Cumbria, and the whole of County Durham.

Contact us

Our pledge to prospective adopters is to send out an information pack within 5 working days of your enquiry. We'll also invite you to an information evening within two months of your initial enquiry and arrange a follow-up interview once we've received your completed enquiry form.

Adoption Service
Room 201
Second Floor
Civic Centre
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear
NE1 8PU
Phone: 0191 211 6777