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Adoption is the legal process of child becoming a permanent member of a new family.

Once an adoption order has been made, the child is no longer legally related to their birth family. Legal parenthood, which encompasses all parental rights, passes to the adopter. This can only happen if a court orders it.

A court will only make an adoption order if it thinks this is what is best for the child. The court has the power to order adoption even if the child’s parents do not agree.
Before prospective adopters can make their application for an adoption order, the child must be ‘placed for adoption’ with them, and then have lived with them for 10 continuous weeks.
Adoption is for life. An adoption order cannot be reversed once it has been made, except in exceptional circumstances. Such cases are extremely rare.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Fostering for adoption

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