Adoption Order for a child

These can be made by the High Court, County Court or Magistrates Court, the application must be at the court in the district where the child lives.

In the case of the County Court or Magistrates Court, where an application is made for a placement order the application can be made in district or area of any parent / guardian of the child.

Only the High Court can hear an adoption application if the child is not actually in Great Britain at the time the application is made.

The Magistrates Court cannot hear any applications relating to adopting children from abroad.

No order can be made without the child attending the hearing, (unless there are special circumstances). An adoption order gives parental responsibility to the adopters and the child is treated as if born to the adopters in marriage.

Each parent / guardian must be "joined" as a party ("respondents") as well as the adoption agencies or local authorities or the voluntary organisation who has care of the child.

The child must attend the hearing unless there are special reasons. The court must only give consideration to the welfare of the child.

Adoption documents are confidential. If the adoption is refused the child must be returned to the adoption agency within 7 days of the order. The agency will try and find another suitable placement.

Instead of making an adoption order the court can make a short-term order which gives parental responsibility to the applicants for a period of not more than two years. In this way it gives more time to decide whether the applicants are suitable to adopt.

The court can attach conditions to orders, such as allowing the natural parent to have contact with the child, or conditions about the child's religious upbringing.

Conditions for adopting a child

Adoption Law