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Can I adopt?

What do we look for in prospective adoptive families for our children?

Prospective adopters have to meet the eligibility list below:

  • You must be over the age of 21
  • You must have a bedroom for a child
  • You must not have any serious criminal convictions including sexual offences, violent offences and/or cruelty to either adults or children

The vast majority of those considering adoption have no trouble meeting these criteria. 
Just as important are personal factors, such as:

  • Liking and enjoying children and young people as well as having an interest in learning more about them
  • Patience, adaptability empathy and resilience - some of the children we need you to parent may be unpredictable because of their earlier life experiences
  • Ability to provide a stable and caring environment for your child to grow up in
  • A willingness to work with us throughout the process of adoption and your child’s life
  • A sense of humour!


Adoption Myth Busting

We need a wide range of people to meet the many differing needs of our children.

Below are some of the common myths that we have heard over the years alongside the truth:

Get in touch

Call us:

020 8313 4193

Duty service - open five days a week, 8.45am to 5pm

Email us:


Come and see us

Prior registration is required before coming along to one of our events - please get in touch.

Online form

Complete our online information request form [external website]

Write to us

Adoption Team, London Borough of Bromley,
Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH

I need to be in Employment to adopt

You may be in employment, at home with caring responsibilities or may be on state benefits.

Whatever your position, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you can financially support yourself and the basic needs of a child placed with you both now and, as far as is foreseeable, until the child’s adulthood.

We will help you to get all the benefits to which you are entitled and in exceptional circumstances financial assistance may be available where it is considered that an adoption would not otherwise be possible for the child.

You can find more information on adoption pay and leave entitlement on the Government's GOV.UK website [external website].

I need to be in a relationship to adopt

You could be single or in a stable and permanent relationship with another person of any sex (married, civil partnership or living together).

There is no specific requirement for a particular kind of relationship or arrangement, as long as it is stable.

You should discuss any concerns with us as soon as possible.

I don’t live in Bromley, so I cannot adopt through Bromley Council

Generally you need to live within about one hour's travel time from Bromley, so we can work with and support you.

I need to own my own home to adopt

You can own your home, be buying on a mortgage or be renting accommodation in the private or public sector.

Whatever your living arrangement, it needs to be secure and you need to have a bedroom available which is not shared with any other child.

It is not essential to have a garden either.

I am too old to Adopt

You need to be at least 21 and whilst there is no specific upper age limit, single applicants and at least one partner in a couple should be no more than 45 years older than any child they seek to adopt.

Aside from this you must be able to demonstrate that they possess the health and energy to meet the many and varied demands of children throughout their childhood and into their young adulthood.

I need to be in perfect health to adopt

We will ask you to undertake a medical examination, through your GP, which will be considered by our Medical Advisor.

If you think there may be physical, emotional or mental health issues in you or your partner's background, you should discuss these with us as soon as possible.

If I smoke I will not be able to adopt

Applicants who smoke will not be approved for babies or children under five, or for children of any age with breathing difficulties or health related issues that could be aggravated by passive smoking.

We will encourage and help all people who want to adopt to give up smoking, not just for the impact on the child’s health but also for the model presented to children and the known impact of smoking.

I can't have any Criminal convictions to be an adoptive parent

There are a range of specified offences against children which automatically disqualify anyone from becoming an adoptive parent and you, your partner and any other adult members of the household will need to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service check (what used to be called an enhanced Police Check).

Further information about the Disclosure and Barring Service can be found at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service[external website].

There are also other offences that would need careful consideration; if you or your partner or other members of your close family have been cautioned or convicted of any offences, please discuss this with us as early as possible.

I can't have pets and be an adoptive parent

Most children love animals, but if you have pets they need to be safe for children to be around.

You also need to be aware that a child could be allergic to some animals, this could be an issue to resolve in some cases.

You will be asked to complete a Pet Questionnaire, this is to assess whether your pets have health and safety implications.

If this may apply to you, please speak to us as soon as possible.

My failed infertility treatment will have a negative impact on the adoption process

We recognise that fertility investigations and treatment can be emotionally draining, we need you to be psychologically ready to move on before applying to adopt.

In view of this, we will usually advise you to wait for six months after the end of treatment but you are welcome to come to our information events.

I can’t adopt if I have had or I am going through major life events

Major life events such as bereavement, moving house, redundancy, etc, may also be very distressing and/or disruptive and we will need to discuss the implications of these events with you.

I can't adopt if I already have children

If you already have a child or children, you should carefully consider their needs and whether they are supportive of your decision to adopt a new brother or sister.

Usually, any adopted child should be the youngest with at least a two year gap between the youngest child in your family and the adopted child.

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