About Adoption

Service Update:

Adopt and be the difference in a child’s life…

Are you interested in adoption and would like to find out more?

For the first time, the Isle of Wight Council is joining forces with a number of leading adoption agencies in the south. A regional information event is being held in Southampton where you can meet families who have already adopted and professional staff from six leading national and local adoption agencies.

The event will be held on Saturday 26 November 2016, 10am to 2pm at the Shaun Udal Suite, Ageas Bowl in Southampton (SO30 3XH).

There is no need to book, simply drop in from 10am.

To read more about the event please click here.

If you are unable to attend the event but would like to talk about adoption with someone on the Island, please contact our adoption team by email using our 'Send a message to service' by clicking here.

Adoption offers permanence to children who need a loving and secure family and who are unable to live with their birth parents. When a child is adopted they legally and permanently become part of the adopter’s family. Adoptions are arranged by an adoption agency that is legally permitted to arrange adoptions.  The Isle of Wight Council, as a Local Authority, acts as an adoption agency. The adoption is made legally binding by the court on the making of an Adoption Order. The Adoption Order is permanent and transfers parental responsibility from the birth parents to the adopter(s).  When children are adopted it is usual for them to take the surname of their new family.

Why are children adopted

When an informed decision is made by the local authority that it is in the best interest of a child to be adopted, this decision has been made because the child’s health and wellbeing are at significant risk.  Often the development of that child is also at risk of being hindered or irreparably damaged.

Some parents are unable to care for their children for a number of reasons. These could include domestic abuse, mental ill health, drug misuse, alcohol misuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect. Some birth parents have complex family backgrounds which have impacted on their capacity to safely care for their children and prioritise their needs.

It is essential that the local authority makes a child’s life safe and secure when it has been identified that there is no possibility of a child returning to its family. Adoption gives children stability and security and offers them the benefits of a happy home life with lots of opportunities and positive experiences.

Although children no longer live with their birth families there is often a plan for post–adoption contact with their birth family. This usually takes the form of a letter exchange once or twice a year.  In a few situations children may have face-to-face contact with both family members.

Choosing to adopt

People choose adoption as a positive choice to build a family and the reasons for this are discussed as part of the assessment process. We welcome contact from people who have children as well as those who do not. Some applicants may have considered or experienced infertility treatment as an initial option before looking to adoption as the way forward. We also have expressions of interest from single applicants and those in a same-sex relationship. Essentially we hear from a range of people who want to have children in their lives and offer them a loving home.

What to consider when thinking about adoption

Children who are placed for adoption need to have their own bedroom and if you are considering adopting two children then you should have two available bedrooms, even though it may be appropriate for the children to share a room.

Applicants need to be financially secure to the extent that they can maintain a child without incurring financial hardship. A financial assessment is undertaken as part of the assessment process.

Whilst age is not a barrier to adoption it will be taken into consideration and discussed fully. All applicants have full medical assessments as part of the process.

If applicants are undergoing fertility treatment which proves to be unsuccessful there is usually an expectation that there would be a wait, maybe for 6-12 months before an adoption assessment starts. Individual circumstances do vary and will need thorough discussion. If you or your partner has undergone treatment for infertility, we will need to discuss this with you so that we can understand how you have managed and accepted the loss of not having birth children.

If you or your partner are pregnant or already have children, please note that we would not be looking to place a child with other children that are less than 2 years older than the adopted child. If a child is placed, we ask applicants to take positive measures to prevent a pregnancy occurring for an agreed period of time.

The adoption process

  1. Prospective adopters can make enquiries with any Adoption Agency, including Adoption Services within Local Authorities.  Information about adoption is also available from
  2. If your decision is that you would like to be assessed by the Isle of Wight Adoption Servcie following your initial enquiry, an information leaflet will be sent to you within five days and either a visit from a Social Worker will be arranged within ten days or alternatively a Social Worker will telephone you for further discussion.  The purpose of this visit/telephone call is to gather information about your motivation to adopt and to answer any concerns or queries you may have.
  3. When you have found an agency that you are comfortable with, you can register your interest to become an adoptive parent and undergo the first round of checks.  This is known as Stage One and requires prospective adopters to provide factual information about yourselves and your household, such as income, occupation, health and previous life experiences.
  4. You will also be required to provide the names of three referees the agency can contact, two of which must not be related to you.  You will also be required to undergo a health assessment and a Disclosure Baring Service (DBS) check (formerly a Criminal Records Bureau check).  The agency will need to contact former partners.  These former partners do not have veto over your right to adopt.
  5. Stage One of the process is led by the prospective adopters with Social Worker support and will last for two months unless you request an extension.
  6. You will be invited to a day's training to explore the benefits and challenges of adoption.
  7. Based on the information gathered during this period, the agency will make a decision on whether you can continue to Stage Two of the process.  If the agency decides that you are unsuitable they must provide a clear explanation of the reasons why.  Should you wish to make a complaint about this decision you can make a complaint using the local complaints procedure.
  8. Stage Two of the process lasts four months and covers the "Home Study".  This involves a Social Worker making a series of visits to your home to get to know you and your family.  They will also help you to think about what strengths you could bring to the adoptive parenting.
  9. Once the assessment process is complete the Social Worker will gather all of the information together into a Prospective Adopters' Report which is taken to the agency's independent Adoption Panel.  You will be provided with a copy of this and have five working days to comment on it before it goes to panel if you wish.
  10. Once you have been recommended to adopt by the Adoption Panel and the Agency Decision Maker has ratified this decision, a suitable match with a child/children will be sought.
  11. Once this match has been made you will go to the Matching Panel in the child's Local Authority.  If the match is agreed a plan will be made for you to have introductions to the child/children.  The child/children will then come to live with you.  You will continue to have Social Worker visits up until the time that the Adoption Order is granted by the Court, at which time the child/children will legally become part of your family.