Thinking about Adopting or Fostering

Can Christians foster and adopt?

Yes - thousands do foster and have adopted, and Home for Good is in contact with hundreds of them! Not only can Christians foster and adopt, there is much about faith and being part of a faith community that will be seen as a great asset during the assessment process. For example, your church community could offer you great support.  

I am single. Will I be able to foster or adopt?

Single people are able to foster and adopt. One of the things that assessing social workers will consider during the assessment process is your support network. This is where the church community can be so significant.

Will my disability or health problems prevent me from adopting?

If you have a disability or health problems, as long as you can care for the needs of a child until they reach adulthood, you can adopt. If you have had health issues that you have had to manage you may be in a better position to help a child with health issues or disabilities manage theirs. If you are adopting as a couple you will be assessed as a couple, as such the question will be whether as a couple can you meet the needs of this child. Every potential adopter has to go through a full medical examination and decisions will be made based on a person’s specific situation.

Will my pet dog impact my application?

As long as your pet does not pose a threat to a child’s health or safety, it will not negatively affect your application. Often, pets can actually be an excellent addition, and can be a very therapeutic.

I live in a rented property, will I be able to adopt or foster?

You do not need to be a home owner to foster or adopt. To apply, you must have a spare bedroom and the space and security to care for a child as they grow up.

I work full time, can I foster or adopt?

Each local authority or fostering agency will have their own policy on whether foster carers can continue working. In some circumstances it may be possible to continue working part time, depending on the age and needs of the child, but you would always need to have the flexibility to attend meetings and training.

When adopting a child, you would need to have the capacity for the main carer to take around a year off work in order to allow the child to settle with you fully. You can take up to 52 weeks' statutory adoption leave, which should work similarly to maternity leave. During the assessment process, social workers may ask you to consider how you would manage if your child was not ready for you to return to work after this point. 

How do the ages of my birth children affect the age of a child I can foster or adopt?

It is common practice to allow two years between birth children and foster or adoptive children. This is to reduce the competition and sense of replacement which can occur in placements where children are of similar ages to birth children. It is usually recommended that adopted children are younger than the birth children, to maintain the birth order.

I am on benefits. Does this mean I can’t adopt?

Being on low income or benefits should not stop you from becoming an adoptive parent, as long as you can prove that you can provide for the needs of the child until adulthood.

I have recently moved to Britain. Can I apply to adopt?

You have to have been living Britain for at least a year and have permanent residency in the country to adopt.

Will adoption or fostering make life difficult for my birth children?

Fostering and adoption will have a huge impact on your family and it won’t always be easy. But we’ve heard so many encouraging stories of how birth children have responded in positive ways to the inclusion of foster and adoptive children in their family. Also, research shows that many people who had adoptive or foster siblings go onto foster or adopt themselves.

How does my age affect my application?

Anyone who is 21 or over and can provide a permanent, caring and stable home is eligible to apply to adopt. There’s no upper age limit, as long as you are healthy enough and have the commitment and energy needed to bring up a child. For fostering, the minimum age is 18, although some agencies and authorities will only accept applicants of 21 years and over.

Are there particular expectations about how we should discipline a child in our care?

If you are adopting a child, you will be expected to demonstrate a firm commitment to using positive forms of discipline, usually through praise, encouragement and reward based on the understanding that many children who are placed with adoptive families have already suffered abuse and that to use any form of physical chastisement would be ineffective and damaging to the child. It is against the law for foster carers to use any form of physical discipline towards children in their care. If you have children of your own; whether still at home or living independently as adults, you will be asked questions about how you would manage unacceptable behaviour from a child. It’s important to learn as much as possible about the child’s early experiences as simple things such as sending a child to their bedroom could be unhelpful if in their past the bedroom has always been a place of distress. If you have young children of your own at home you may have to rethink    particular routines, expectations or consequences so that your approach is as consistent as possible for all children. For more information on positive approaches to discipline from a Christian perspective please read Help…How should I discipline my child?

Earl and Rebecca's Story

Earl and Rebecca's adoption journey began in the US and finished in the UK.

The Brownlees

Ivan talks about his experience of adopting siblings.

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