How to adopt a child in Scotland

We are looking for prospective adopters in Scotland to provide loving, stable homes for preschool children.

With more than 35 years' experience of supporting adoptive parents, we help children to have the bright futures they deserve.

1. Express your interest

You can register your interest by:

  • completing our online enquiry form
  • calling 0141 419 4700  
  • attending an adoption information event.

We will call you to find out more about why you want to adopt, and if we can see a potential great fit we'll arrange an informal face-to-face catch up so that we can get to know one another better. Whatever the outcome, we will keep you updated and provide feedback about our decisions.

2. Getting to know each other better

At the meeting, we'll talk about:

  • the types of children in need of adoption
  • how the process works
  • our support for adopters.

If together, we agree to continue, you will be invited to attend a training course – preparing you to become an adoptive parent.

If we decide that you are not suitable to adopt at that time, you will be sent a letter explaining why.

3. Preparing you to become an adoptive parent

By attending our compulsory training course you will:

  • understand the commitment needed to adopt,
  • learn about the needs of adopted children,
  • become better suited for adoption
  • get the chance to meet like-minded people preparing to adopt, or those currently adopting children.

If you decide to continue with the adoption process once the course is finished, you will need to complete an application and fill out a consent form so that we can conduct:

  • police checks
  • medical checks
  • financial checks
  • personal and employer references.

Once we have your application form and confirmation that you have passed all the necessary checks you will be invited to start the formal adoption assessment.

4. Assessing your suitability

You must agree to the formal adoption process before the next stage starts.  

You will be assigned a qualified, supportive Barnardo’s social worker, who will:

  • visit your home
  • discuss your reasons for wanting to adopt
  • find out more about your family background
  • spend time with your family
  • contact significant former partners
  • discuss with you the type of child you could adopt.

The information collected will become part of your Form F or assessment report. This is given to the adoption panel who will recommend if you are suitable to adopt.

5. Meeting the panel and approval

The adoption panel is a group of experts who might have experience working with children or may have been adopted as children themselves.

We will invite you to meet the panel and they will make a recommendation based on:

  • the information in your Prospective Adopters Report
  • meeting you in person
  • considerations about your circumstances and the number of children you would like to adopt.

The final decision is made by a Barnardo’s ‘adoption decision maker’.

6. Matching you with the right child

If you are approved as an adopter your social worker will work with the local authority to find you a suitable child.

The child’s social worker and the authority adoption panel must also agree that the match is right, in order for the adoption to go ahead.

7. Meeting your child

You will be introduced to your child once a match has been approved.

You will spend quality time getting to know each other with the support of social workers, including:

  • visits to the child’s current home
  • visits and eventually overnight stays to your home
  • enjoying activities and social events together.

By spending time with your child before he or she moves in, you can help to build a trusting relationship.

8. Welcoming your child

A final planning meeting is arranged before your child comes to live with you.

Your social worker, the child’s social worker and other professionals will attend to determine the best interests of the child.

An adoption placement plan will be agreed. This ensures that you and your child are fully supported. The plan gives details about reviewing the placement, and the future support provided.

Once the plan has been agreed your child will come to live with you.

9. Making the adoption legal

You must apply for an adoption order to make the adoption official.

We will come with you to court when you make the application. When the adoption order has been granted you will have parental responsibilities for your child.

10. Your life together as an adoptive family

It is important to keep in contact with you after the adoption process. Your family will receive ongoing support and training.

Your decision to adopt has the potential to change a child's life and yours.