Who can adopt?

Who can Adopt?

There are lots of myths out there which suggest reasons as to why people can’t adopt. Most of them aren’t true!

A wide range of people can and do adopt. You can be male or female, married, single, in a civil partnership, divorced or living with a partner; with or without children; from any cultural background; employed or not; able bodied or living with a disability.

Our most important expectation is that prospective adopters show an understanding of children’s needs and are able to provide a safe and caring home. Here are some general guidelines that we follow to help you make your decision about whether adoption with Staffordshire is right for you.


You must be over 21 to adopt. There is no specific upper age limit but we do need to ensure that you have a reasonable expectancy of being able to care for the child/ren until they reach adulthood. For this reason we look at the age difference between you and the child/ren you are considering adopting.


We will look to assess the health of any prospective adopter. To safeguard a child’s health, we won't place a child under the age of 5 within a household where somebody smokes. If you decide to give up smoking you must have given up for a period of at least 6 months prior to applying to become an adopter. If you smoke e-cigarettes Staffordshire County Council will not see this as a reason to preclude you as a potential adopter, purely on this basis. Your use of e-cigarettes will be assessed in the initial visit, as well as during the full prospective adopter assessment. 

Medical Conditions
If you have a medical condition we will look into the impact that this would have on your ability to care for a child/ren throughout their childhood. We will ask for advice on this from our own doctor.

Relationship Status

You can be married, single, divorced, in a civil partnership or same sex relationship or living with a partner. If you are in a relationship we expect that you have lived together and that the relationship has been established for at least three years. This is to ensure the relationship is stable and secure before placing a child with you.


You can be employed or unemployed, although we would expect your work commitments to be flexible to meet the needs of your child/ren. For at least the first six months it is necessary for you (or one person if you are adopting as a couple) to be at home to allow for the child/ren to settle.


We welcome applications from both people without children and people who already have children.

If you are unable to have children because of fertility difficulties and are currently undergoing fertility treatment it may not be the ideal time to pursue an adoption enquiry. However, we encourage initial enquiries so you can start to explore all your options.

If you already have children we would normally look to place children who are younger than them with at least a two to three year age gap.

Criminal Offences

Certain criminal offences may prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent. These include any offences against children or of a violent nature. All offences are looked at on an individual basis and the circumstances of the offence will be taken into account when considering your application.

Our expectations

Here at Staffordshire, we very much believe in an open and honest approach – a belief we also expect our adoptive parents to share with us.

We like to support our adoptive families to talk to their adopted children about adoption. We believe it is important for children to know they are adopted and have their questions answered in an appropriate and sensitive manner.

To help achieve this we run what’s called a ‘Postbox Service’ which allows for a confidential exchange of letters and photographs between the adoptive family and the birth family. This exchange takes place through the Adoption Support Service and does not involve any direct contact between both parties. This is an on-going exchange which continues until the child is an adult and with which we expect adopters to comply. 

We also expect adopters to agree in principle to meet the child’s birth parents on a one-off basis. We believe that this way, when talking to the children in the future about their birth parents, this can be done from a more personal perspective. This also helps to reassure the birth parents about the care their child will receive. These meetings take place in a neutral venue. Feedback and previous experience have shown these to be very worthwhile from the point of view of everyone who is involved.