Adoption in Scotland

Adoption is designed to ensure that a child is placed with a loving family. It is a fairly robust system that can be difficult to navigate. If you are considering adopting a child into your family, Thorley Stephenson has a specialist team of family solicitors which can help you through the adoption process.

Adoption Lawyers Edinburgh & East Lothian, Scotland

Adoption is a very important legal process that involves the transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to their adoptive parents. Parental rights and responsibilities are incredibly important and give adoptive parents complete control over a number of things, and their transfer has significant consequences.

It will be for the adoptive parents to determine how a child will be raised. In turn, they are responsible for that child’s growth and development. To reflect the importance of adoption, an adopted child will in most cases take the surname of their new parents as their own.

Furthermore, it is important to be aware that in choosing to adopt a child, you are making a choice to give that child a permanent home with you. Adoption is not the same as fostering, which tends to be a more temporary arrangement.

Can I adopt?

The act of adopting a child into your family can be a very exciting, as well as anxious, time for everyone, both the parents and the child. It is important that you think about your ability to meet the changing needs of that child as they grow and develop.
Generally, the law allows for most people to make themselves available to adopt a child, and to give them a loving home. However, the realities of adopting a child often demand some level of adjustment for both parties – the parents and the child. In law, there are certain areas where some restrictions are imposed to make the transition easier for both parents and child.

Limitations on age When Adopting

There is no upper age limit in terms of who can adopt a child. However, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old before they can begin the process. Furthermore, there are different age restrictions where you are party to a couple that is considering adoption but one of you is the child’s biological parent: in these circumstances, the biological parent must be at least 18 years old, while the adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old. 

Marital Status and adoption

The law does not differentiate between couples in different kinds of relationship. Everyone will be considered equal, where they are attempting to give a child a loving home.

The only major factor in determining whether or not a couple can adopt is the availability of evidence that they are in an enduring family relationship. Such evidence is needed to demonstrate that the couple will be able to offer long term stability for their adoptive child. 

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Adding to a family where there are other children

The law does not make a distinction between families that already have children, and those who do not: its primary concern is to place children with adoptive families that can offer a loving, and stable home. In certain cases, the presence of other children may help to ease the transition process for an adoptive child.

Adopting a child and employment situations

People who aspire to become adoptive parents need not be in a particular occupation, or earn a certain income to be considered to adopt a child. However, they will be need to provide evidence they are holding sufficient funds to care for a child as it grows.

The adoption process in Scotland

The adoption process is very linear, and can take some time before it is completed. The placing of a child with an adoptive family is hoped to be a permanent arrangement, which is why it cannot be rushed.

The first step in the process normally involves approaching an adoption agency. In most cases, the local authority will have a list of all agencies that operate in your area. Importantly, whichever agency you approach to arrange an adoption must be registered with the Care Inspectorate. Depending on the agency that you approach, they may use certain criteria in placing a child with prospective adoptive parents. They are obliged to publish this information, and will make it available to you on request. 

The next stage in the process is for the adoption agency to consider your application to become adoptive parents, which involves consideration of your reasons for wanting to adopt. This can take up to eight months to complete. If your application is approved, it will then take some time to match you with an adoptive child. This will normally involve your working with the agency and the local authority. Where your application is rejected, you are entitled to find out the reasons why.

Contact our Adoption Solicitors Edinburgh & East Lothian, Scotland

The adoption process can be very long and complicated. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is the only way to ensure that prospective adoptive parents are well suited for the important role of taking responsibility for a child. If you are considering adopting a child, then you should seek the advice of an experienced solicitor who regularly works with people hoping to adopt.

At Thorley Stephenson, we have a dedicated team of family lawyers who have a range of expertise.  Many of our lawyers have been instructed to help clients navigate the adoption process, who are now very proud parents. We take our job very seriously, and will work in partnership with you and answer any questions that you may have. Our team will advise you on every step of the adoption process, and will also be able to take responsibility for some of the administrative details in facilitating your adoption application. Contact us now or call 01315569599 find out how we can help you.

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