There are many reasons why some children cannot live with their birth parents. Adoption enables these children to be part of a family and provides them with a stable, secure and loving home in which to grow up and thrive.
Adoption is the process by which a child legally becomes a member of his/her new family and gains one or two new parents.
Unlike fostering, when a child is adopted, that child lives with its new parents permanently. A Court Order transfers the parental duties of the birth parents to the adoptive parents. This gives the adoptive parents the same responsibilities and rights as all other parents - and the same rewards.
After a child is adopted, the birth parents no longer have any parental rights and responsibilities for him/her.
The child becomes a full member of the adoptive family. They will take the surname of their adoptive parents and will have the same rights and privileges as if they had been born to them - including the right of inheritance.
Adoption is not a decision to be taken lightly and you will need advice, guidance and support to help you decide if adoption is the right decision for you and your family.
Torfaen is one of five councils which form the South East Wales Adoption Service (with Monmouthshire , Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Newport councils).
The service provides information, advice and guidance to:
- anyone who is considering adopting
- existing adoptive parents
- adopted children (including those who are now adults)
- birth families and relatives.
The combined team is based in Mamhilad Park Estate, Pontypool.
Different kinds of children
A small number of the children who become 'looked after' by Torfaen council will eventually need to be adopted.
Some of these children are babies and toddlers, but not always. Sometimes, the children who are looking for new families may be of school age. Others might have learning difficulties, special needs or disabilities. Some children may be from ethnic minorities.
Occasionally the child is part of a sibling group and we would prefer to keep the brother(s) and sister(s) together. If you are considering adoption you might want to think about offering a stable and happy home to two or more children.
Most children who are waiting to be adopted will have had a difficult past - you could give them a wonderful future.
Different kinds of people
The youngest age at which you can legally adopt a child is 21. You must also have had legal residency in the UK for at least one full year before you are able to adopt a British child.
We cannot consider applications from people who are convicted with offences against children.
Other than those exceptions, we welcome applications from people from all backgrounds. You might be:
- single, married, divorced or living together (for at least three years)
- heterosexual or those in same sex relationships
- a homeowner or renting
- in work or unemployed
- from any ethnic origin or cultural background.
As long as you are in good health, there is no upper age limit and people with disabilities will be given the same consideration as people without disabilities.
Please note that, following medical research on the effects of passive smoking on children, there may be issues associated with matching children with approved adopters who smoke. Children under 5 years of age will not be matched with adopters who smoke.
The adoption process takes around 6 months from initial enquiry to approval by the agency decision maker. This includes:
- attending group sessions with other prospective adopters where everyone discusses all the issues involved and learns from existing adopters’ experiences
- answering any questions we might have and co-operating with us during any checks we are legally required to make, such as medicals, police checks and completing the British Association for Fostering and Adoption (BAAF) report form
- having regular meetings in your home and remotely with an adoption worker who will work very closely with you throughout the process. Our information pack outlines the areas we will cover during the assessment process
- being approved by a panel as a prospective adopter
- discussing, with the worker, the child/children you may wish to adopt and being able to make an informed decision as to whether they are going to be right for you
- meeting the children and getting to know them (called ‘introductions’)
- if the introductions go well, bringing the children into your home
- going through the legal process of officially adopting them
- receiving full support from your social worker throughout the entire process
Our information pack outlines the adoption application and assessment process in more detail.
If you are thinking about adopting a child, or would simply like to know more about your options, please contact us.
Last Modified: 13/10/2021
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