Who Can Adopt?
Only you will know when it is the right time for you to start talking to us about adopting with Hampshire, but there are a few things to think about as you make your decision.
Your age -
You can adopt if you are over 21 years of age - this is a legally stated minimum age. There is no upper age limit for adopters, but Hampshire usually recommends that there is not more than a 45 year age gap between parent and child. Our main priority though is in making sure that you will be able to parent a child you adopt until they reach adulthood.
Where you live -
We welcome applicants who live in Hampshire or within reasonable proximity of the county. We particularly welcome applicants who have particular skills or expertise, or are able to look after older children, sibling groups or children with additional needs
Your home -
You can rent your property or own your property. Our main concern is that you have a stable home to offer a child, with space for them to grow up safely and securely.
Who you live with -
You could be single or in a stable relationship with a partner. If you are in a relationship, it does not matter whether you are living together, married or in a civil partnership. If you are divorced this is not an issue, though we will talk to you about your past relationships as part of the application process in more detail later on, and explain why we need to do this.
Your life experience -
If you or a member of your household has had a criminal conviction in the past, this will not necessarily stop you from adopting - it depends what the conviction was for and how long ago, so please ask us about this. You cannot adopt if you have had a “specified offence”. We can explain more about the situation with regard to criminal convictions and cautions if this situation applies to you.
Your Health and Lifestyle -
Adopters need to be in reasonable health to care for a child - after all, you need to be there to keep up with a child’s busy life and be there to look after them until adulthood. Hampshire does not exclude anyone who has general health problems, medical issues or disabilities - but we do need to know how this will impact on your parenting of a child, and the impact that any health-based lifestyle issues could have on a child you adopt. That’s why part of the assessment process is a full medical check-up that explores and interprets this type of information in more detail.
Your smoking habits -
If you smoke or live with someone who smokes, please discuss this with us so we can explain our policy and what it may mean for you if you want to adopt a younger child. It is Hampshire’s policy children under the age of five, or any child that has health concerns such as asthma or who has a disability that limits their mobility cannot be looked after in a smoking household. If you have just stopped smoking, you will need to have stopped smoking for a year (and be able to evidence this by having been to your GP or participated in a recognised smoking cessation programme), before you can have a child placed with you.
Your family situation -
We know and understand that the process of infertility treatment can be an emotional rollercoaster, and that it takes time to adjust to news about your fertility and the plans you had to start a family. If you have recently received infertility treatment we will talk to you about this, and expect you to have taken some time - up to twelve months - between ending any treatments and applying to adopt.
If you have children of your own already and wish to expand your family through adoption, its normal to have a gap of at least two years between the youngest child and any new adopted brothers and sisters, and sometimes Hampshire recommends a bigger gap (of up to four years). It depends on your family situation. This is something we will talk to you about individually, therefore.
Your working life -
We don’t mind where you work or what you do - but we do need to talk to you about how you are going to support a child and what your plans are about working in the future. Many employers offer Adoption Leave, and it is Hampshire’s expectation that an adoptive parent is able to take up to a year off work to help a child settle into family life (though this could take longer, depending on the needs of the child).
Money matters -
It does not cost anything to adopt a child with Hampshire County Council, but we will need to make sure you are able to offer a child a secure home life. Adoptive parents are entitled to apply for universal benefits for which they are eligible (for example, Child benefit, child tax credits).
For some children, such as older children, brothers and sisters being placed together, or for children with learning difficulties, special needs or a disability, some financial assistance may be available depending on the needs of the child.
Your experience of children -
You will need to have some experience of looking after children - from looking after any birth children you already have, taking care of nieces, nephews and neighbours children or even from a professional role. You could also have gained experience through volunteering with children (for example through sessions in a children’s centre, helping with organisations like Scouts and Guides, helping at your local youth club etc). This experience is invaluable in helping you understand more about families and children in a range of circumstances - and help you understand how you could help a child who has had difficult early life experiences.
Finding the right homes for Hampshire children is our only priority. We regularly review the list of Hampshire children who are waiting for new families, and make sure first and foremost that applicants will be able to meet their needs and support the children waiting. This can mean that sometimes applicants who do not have particular skills or experience may need to wait a little longer than other applicants who are able to support those needs. Priority will always be given to adopters who are able to care for sibling groups, children with disabilities, learning difficulties or special medical needs.
Making the right decision
Adoption is a big decision, and we are happy to talk to you about it. Hampshire’s Adoption Recruitment team are happy to discuss your personal situation with you, in confidence and support you to make the right choice at the right time for you. Contact us using the details on the right hand side of this page.
Find out more about Adoption
Tel: 0845 6035620