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New to adoption?

Adoption is a way of providing new families for children who cannot be brought up by their birth families. The adoptive parents take on the legal rights and responsibility for the child, and the child becomes a full member of a new family.

Links with the birth family may be maintained.



What is the need in Aberdeenshire for families for children?

Adoption is very different from how it used to be: very few young babies are available for adoption, and there is a need for secure and stable adoptive homes for children of all ages. Our greatest need is beyond babyhood, particularly for family groups of two or more children, and occasionally for children who have a physical or learning disability. Many of the children we place will exhibit challenging behaviour because they have experienced significant trauma in their formative years.

Aberdeenshire Adoption service is led by the needs of our children who need permanent families. We regularly have families coming forward to adopt pre-school children. However children requiring adoption are often at school. To reflect this, we are particularly seeking to recruit families for children in the 5-8 age range.

Prospective adopters should be aware that many of the children we seek to place are in complicated legal situations, which may take some time to resolve.

There is now much more openness in adoption: where possible, the birth parents and adoptive parents will meet before the placement, and the child may have contact with their birth parents, sisters, brothers or grandparents throughout their childhood, possibly face to face or by letter, if this is assessed as being in the child’s best interests.


Who can adopt?

We promote non-discriminatory practices in all our services and seek individuals or couples from a variety of backgrounds who can make a permanent commitment to a child or children who need a new family for life.

Applicants should normally be at least 21 years of age, single or married. Couples may be:

  • married
  • in a civil partnership
  • living together as if husband and wife or civil partners in an enduring family relationship

It will be essential that you have suitable accommodation and a bedroom for the child.

There is no upper age limit, although if an Adoption Order is applied for in Scotland, the Sheriff must consider whether the age difference between the adopters and the child is normal. Adopters need to have sufficient health and vigour to be able to bring up a child at least until early adulthood, so age is one of the factors to be considered.

If there are already children in your family, our practice is to place children below the age of the youngest child already in the family and to make sure there is a gap of at least three years between the youngest child and a child placed for adoption.


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How do I find out more?

Our first step is normally to send an information pack. If you wish to receive a pack please email us at adoption@aberdeenshire.gov.uk including your name, address and telephone number or phone us on 01467 625555.

When you register your interest with us, a Social Worker will arrange to meet with you, give you information including the current needs of children in Aberdeenshire and help you to consider what adoption will mean for you. We hope this might help you to decide whether you wish to proceed further. While also helping us assess your suitability as an adoptive parent.

The National Care Standards for adoption agencies set out what you can expect from the service you receive from us.


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Next step?

If you are considered suitable, you will be invited to attend our Preparation for Adoption training course. This course is run as and when required at Woodhill House, Aberdeen.

The training includes:

  • the reasons why children become available for adoption
  • understanding children's growth and development
  • the impact of difficult early life experiences on the child's ability to develop an attachment to their new family
  • medical issues
  • legal issues
  • the ongoing support and information that adopted children need about birth families
  • parenting issues
  • an opportunity to meet with adoptive parents, adopted people, birth parents, and usually someone who has adopted from another country

The focus of the course is preparation for adoptive parenthood.

After the course the Social Worker will supply you with an application form, which you should complete and return to us.

Checks of Police and Social Work records are always carried out and anyone in the household who is over 16 years of age. If you have any convictions, then it is wise to discuss these at an early stage.

A medical check is requested to make sure you are fit and well enough to care for children.

You will be asked to provide the names of referees who can comment on your suitability to care for children. A health and safety check of your home will be done as well as any other checks relevant to your situation, which will include an employment reference.

A Social Worker will visit you and your family over a period of time to assess your suitability, and complete a Home Study Report in partnership with you. The assessment process should take approximately six months.


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What happens next?

The Home Study Report will be presented to our Permanence Panel. You will be invited to attend part of the meeting to discuss your application. The Panel's recommendation is passed to the Agency Decision Maker who will make a decision regarding your approval as prospective adoptive parent or parents within 14 days.


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Aims of the Adoption Service

We are registered with the Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland as an adoption agency.


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Representations and complaints

Whilst it is our intention to provide a good service, if you have any issues regarding representation or complaint, please ask for the leaflet Have Your Say: Compliments, Comments and Complaints. The leaflet is available from all Social Work Offices.

As our Fostering and Adoption Service is regulated by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS), you may also make a complaint to:

Johnston House
Rose Street
AB10 1UD

Tel: 01224 793870

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