• My wife and I are unable to have children and want to adopt. Can we do this?
  • My husband has passed away and I have since remarried. My new husband gets on particularly well with my children from my first relationship. I would like him to adopt them. Can he do this?
  • My grandchild was adopted a number of years ago. Is there any way that I can now make contact?

General Principles

Adoption is the process by which a child legally becomes the child of new parents. The child becomes a member of the new family and usually takes their surname.

As part of the adoption process, parental responsibility is transferred from the existing holders to the new parents.

Once an adoption order is made it is intended to be final and will only be varied in exceptional circumstances. Stepparents, unmarried couples and those of the same sex may apply to adopt a child within their household, following the implementation of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

Who Can Be Adopted

Any person below the age of 18 who has never married can be adopted (but an application to adopt must be made before the child’s eighteenth birthday). Some children are adopted by their birth parent and stepparent following divorce, separation or death of their other parent. Others are adopted when their birth parents are not able or willing to bring them up. In the past, adoption often involved the parent giving up their child for adoption because they had no alternative. Nowadays, most children adopted outside their families are adopted from the local authority care system or from abroad.

Who Can Adopt

Any adult person or an adult couple can adopt. At least one adopter must have his/her permanent home in the UK and both must have been living in the UK for one year. Unmarried couples must be living together as partners in an enduring family relationship.

Whose Agreement is Needed for an Adoption ?

The agreement of each parent who has parental responsibility is required. If a father does not have parental responsibility, his agreement is not actually required but he should still be asked for his views if this is possible. The law does, however, allow the court to dispense with parental agreement if this is in the interests of the child. If the child has been placed for adoption by the local authority, parental agreement may already have been given or dispensed with by the court.


Adoption can be complex, lengthy and emotional and it requires specialist legal advice. At Blackdown Family Law Solicitors, John Turner who is the Principal Solicitor with over 22 years experience can advise and represent you through the process. He will represent you by following the most effective and efficient way of proceeding, whilst taking all of the circumstances of your case into account, most notably what is in the best interests of your child. Through extensive and successful experience he will work with you in order to achieve the best outcome.

Areas of Family Law Work click on the relevant link below for more information: