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How do I become an adoptive parent?

The adoption process is very thorough.

Prior to starting the process you would be expected to attend an Information Event either with Bromley or with one of the partners in the consortium - Lewisham Council [external website] and Royal Borough of Greenwich [external website].

Find out more about our information events.





1. First meeting - Stage One Preparation Agreement

You will be invited to attend a meeting with us to establish a Stage 1 Preparation Agreement. This will include tasks that need to be completed, as well as suggested reading and training, and you will be provided with self-assessment forms and access to e-learning.

You will also be expected to attend a Stage One Learning Group.


2. Checks and references

It is during Stage 1 part of the process that we begin making checks and going through your references. It is natural for people to find this uncomfortable, even if they know that they will not encounter any issues.

The checks will include:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service checks (what used to be called Enhanced Police Checks)
  • medical reports
  • local authority checks (including child protection)
  • plus references from family members, friends, employers, previous partners and adult children (if you have any)

These are required by law and we are sure you will accept they are necessary to ensure children will be safe in your family.


At this point there is an option to take a six month break before commencing STAGE 2.





3. Stage 2 Agreement

You will complete a Stage 2 Agreement which will include further information on training sessions, timescales for completing the assessment, meeting dates and any further recommended reading.

During this period, you will learn some of the skills needed to parent an adopted child.

We are there to support you throughout the process, to help you develop your strengths and work with you through any issues that arise.

You will be expected to attend a 2 day Preparation Group to further your learning. 


4. Assessment Sessions

You will undertake a series of assessment sessions with your Adoption Social Worker which will take place in your home.

In these sessions we will find out more about your family background, lifestyle, your support network and your journey to adoption. There are no right or wrong answers and we don’t have a blueprint for what makes the perfect parent.

Using feedback from the Preparation Groups, information from the checks and references, and any issues that arise from your ongoing training and assessment, your Adoption Social Worker will discuss with you any areas for more learning, your expectations of adoption and your capacity to sensitively parent a vulnerable child. 

These assessment sessions, also known as Home Studies, are an opportunity for honest and open discussions with your Adoption Social Worker about all aspects of adopting a child and any worries you may have.


5. Adoption Panel

All adoption agencies must have an Adoption Panel made up of people who have considerable knowledge and/or personal experience of adoption.

Your Adoption Social Worker will complete the assessment in partnership with you, then write a report on all the relevant information that has been collected about you regarding your suitability to become an adoptive parent.

If you disagree with any of the conclusions drawn by the Adoption Social Worker, you will be able to add this to the report before it is sent to Bromley’s Adoption Panel for their recommendation.

You are invited to attend the Panel meeting, which you are strongly encouraged to do.

The Adoption Panel will then discuss this report and make a recommendation as to whether you should be approved as suitable to adopt.

As from January 2018. Bromley will have a new Adoption and Fostering Panel to consider Adoption and Foster to Adopt approvals. 


6. Bromley Council’s Adoption Decision Maker

The Panel will pass on their recommendation to Bromley’s Adoption Decision Maker, who will make the final decision. 

7. Matching Agreement 

Your Social Worker will work with you to provide continued opportunties for learning and advice.

You will be able to self refer to Adoption Match [external website] and Adoption link Maker [external website].

Your profile will be circulated within the consortium and wider agencies. 




9. Matching you with your child

We are responsible for finding adoptive parents for the children in our care, but we also work with our consortium partner local authorities - Lewisham Council [external website] and Royal Borough of Greenwich[external website] - to increase the number of children we can consider.

It may sometimes be that we have a child in mind for you before you are approved, or even from the early stages of the adoption process.


Adoption Activity Days

Together with our consortium partner agencies, we also arrange Adoption Activity Days where you can informally meet and spend time with some of our children – watch the video at the bottom of this page.


The National Adoption Register

We can place your details on the National Adoption Register, which holds information on children waiting to be adopted throughout England and Wales. 

The National Adoption Register also coordinate several exchange days nationwide which allows Local Authorities to feature children they are finding families for. These events are then attended by approved prospective adoptive parents. Local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies will also feature their families who have been approved and who are waiting for a match with a child. For more information contact the National Adoption Register to find out when the next exchange day will take place.

To find out more visit the National Adoption Register website [external website].


Other organisations

Adoption Link

Adoption Link is a live system set up and run by adoptive parents which allows adopters and family-finders to add profiles including photos and a video, and search for potential matches. Adoption Link operates across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There might be a small annual charge to adopters for membership to Adoption Link. 

To find out more visit the Adoption Link website [external website].


Children Who Wait and Be My Parent

Children Who Wait and Be My Parent are run by Adoption UK and CoramBAAF and contain profiles of children from all over the UK who are looking for adoptive parents. 

If there are potential links made with children which you want to explore further on these sites, your Adoption Social Worker and the child’s Social Worker will exchange more detailed information. You can then discuss this information in detail with the two social workers before any decision is made.

Once a suitable child has been identified, the Adoption Panel where the child is from will discuss and consider the match and recommend whether or not to proceed with it – as with all Panel recommendations, a senior manager, the Agency Decision Maker, makes the final decision.

To find out more visit the Adoption UK website [external website] or visit the Be My Parent website [external website].


Matching Panel 

Where you have been linked with a child, the Match will be presented to the Adoption Panel from where the child has been in the Local Authority care.

This will be similar to when you were approved except now the focus will be on whether this is the right match for the child.


Introductions to your child

Once the child’s Adoption Agency has given its approval, a series of managed introductory meetings are arranged for you and the child to get to know each other. If the meetings go well, they will be progressed to visits to your home. The duration of introductions vary depending on your child’s age and level of need.


Moving in

During the Introduction period there will be at least one Review of the introductions and a decision made as to when the child would move to live with their adopters.

When a child moves to live with their adopters, the adopters will share Parental Responsibility with the Local Authority and the birth parents.


The Adoption Order

While you and your child are learning to live together, an Adoption Social Worker - as well as the child's Social Worker - will continue to visit you until the time feels right to apply for an Adoption Order.

This must be at least ten weeks from when your child is placed with you. Once an Adoption Order has been granted, the child is legally adopted by you and you have full parental responsibility.

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

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