Children

Adopting a New Born Baby

Adopting a new born baby or a very young baby allows you to provide a loving, stable home right from the beginning of a child’s life. At Crisp & Co, our friendly adoption solicitors can help you give a child the very best start in life.

There are a few ways you can adopt a new born baby, including:

  • Adopting directly through a local authority or an adoption agency where a pregnant or new mother has decided to give the child up for adoption
  • Concurrent planning – where you foster a new born baby or toddler under 2 years old who will very likely need to be adopted but where the local authority hasn’t decided whether to push forward with care proceedings
  • Fostering for adoption – where you foster a new born baby or toddler under 2 years old after the local authority decides adoption is in the child’s best interests. The court will also need to agree that you should adopt the child

We can provide expert advice about all the legal aspects of adopting a new born, including advice about parental responsibility, the birth parents’ rights, and finalising the adoption.

We understand how exciting but stressful this process can be, particularly if going through a process like concurrent planning where the result might be that the child goes back to live with their birth parents. We are also here to provide all the emotional support you need to get through this experience.

Our lawyers are family law experts and have received the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation for our skills. We are also members of Resolution for our commitment to helping people find positive resolutions to any disputes that arise during the course of the adoption.

Get in touch with our friendly, practical new born baby adoption solicitors today to discuss your needs. Alternatively, please complete our simple online enquiry form and someone will be in touch shortly.

 

    How do you adopt a baby?

    Who can adopt?

    In the UK, almost anyone can adopt. Equality laws mean that you don’t need to fit the ‘nuclear family’ archetype. You can adopt regardless of characteristics such as marital status, sexuality, gender, age and religion. The only firm criteria you need to meet are:

    • You must be at least 21 years old
    • You must have been a UK resident for at least one year
    • You should not have any previous convictions or cautions for certain serious criminal offences, such as offences against children (a criminal record in general will not prevent you from adopting)

    Adopting a baby directly through an agency or local authority

    You can adopt through two types of organisation:

    • Your local authority
    • An independent voluntary adoption agency

    Whichever option you go through, you will need to be assessed to ensure that you can provide a child with a safe and supportive home. For an in-depth explanation of how the adoption process works, visit our Adoption Solicitors page.

    Being approved for adoption is a huge step, but it won’t be the end of your adoption journey. Next, the search begins for the right child for you. It is common for prospective parents to create an adopter profile that sets out key information about you, your partner (if you have one) and the child you would like to adopt, such as their age. Agencies can review this profile when they are looking for adoptive parents for a particular child.

    Your social worker will usually discuss possible children with you and try to find a perfect match. Young children and babies under 3 years old tend to be in-demand, so you may need to prepare yourself for a long wait. However, most adoptive parents match with their child within 6 to 12 months. It is worth speaking to your social worker if you are concerned about time frames.

    Usually, you will not be able to meet the child or the pregnant birth mother until a match has been formally made - you may be able to meet the birth mother or communicate with her prior to the baby being born, however, there is a chance she may not want to.

    Once the baby has been born, they may be able to come straight home with you. However, if the adoption process is not yet at that stage (e.g. you still need to be formally approved), the baby may go to live with temporary foster carers until you are able provide them their forever home.

    Sometimes, adoptive parents can also be approved as foster parents so the new born baby can come home with you from the moment they are born, even if the adoption process isn’t at the right stage. See our information on early permanence below.

    Early permanence fostering and adoption

    Early permanence is the term used to describe the two types of fostering and adoption methods:

    • Fostering for adoption
    • Concurrent planning

    Fostering for adoption

    Fostering to adopt is when you are approved as both a foster carer and an adoptive parent. This means that your baby can come to live with you while you are still going through the formal adoption process, providing them with a safe, stable home and preventing them from being unnecessarily moved between carers.

    As a foster carer, you won’t have the same rights as a legal parent. Usually, the birth parents (and sometimes the local authority if the child is looked after) will still have parental rights.

    Fostering to adopt usually happens where the local authority has decided that a child (born or unborn) should be adopted, but they have not yet completed the formal process to place the child for adoption. Typically, the birth parents need to consent (they can only consent once the child is at least six weeks old) or the local authority needs to obtain a Placement Order.

    This sometimes means that the adoption doesn’t work out, even if a child is placed with you while local authority placement proceedings are ongoing.

    Concurrent planning

    Concurrent planning is similar to fostering to adopt except the local authority may not have decided whether the child should be adopted yet because there is a chance they could be reunited with their birth parents.

    Your role would be to foster the child while the local authority makes its decision about whether to ask the court to have the child adopted. This process can be stressful because of the uncertainty. We are happy to provide support in relation to the legal aspects of the adoption process.

    Adoption Orders

    No adoption is official until the court has made a final Adoption Order. Once the Adoption Order has been made, you become the child’s legal parents and you will have parental responsibility for the child. This means you will have all the legal rights and duties as if you were the child’s birth parents, including inheritance rights and financial obligations to support the child.

    We can provide detailed advice about applying for an Adoption Order as well as handling the entire process on your behalf.

    Will the birth parents keep any parental rights?

    Once the adoption is final, the birth parents will lose their parental rights, including parental responsibility. This means they will no longer be able to make decisions about the child’s future care and do not have certain rights, such as inheritance rights.

    However, depending on the situation, you may choose to stay in touch with the birth parents. This can be arranged through your adoption agency.

    Can the birth mother change her mind about adoption?

    Yes, the birth mother can change her mind even after the child has been born and is in your care. Until the final Adoption Order has been made, she is still the legal mother and has parental responsibility for the child, so she has the right to make decisions about whether the adoption should go ahead.

    However, birth mothers are usually given counselling and advice before making the decision to go ahead with adoption. So, in most cases, the mother completely understands the process and whole-heartedly supports the adoption.

    Can the birth father block the adoption?

    A birth father who has parental responsibility for the child must agree to the adoption before it can be finalised. Usually, a father will have parental responsibility if they are married to the birth mother, their name is on the birth certificate, or they made a parental responsibility agreement with the birth mother.

    If the birth father has parental responsibility and does not want to consent to the adoption, it may still be possible to proceed if the court believes that  it is in the best interests of the child to be adopted by you. However, you will likely need to go to court and the process could be long and expensive – it is possible for the child to live with you while court proceedings are ongoing.

    We can provide expert advice and support if you are worried about the birth parents changing their mind or objecting to the adoption.

    Get in touch with our new born baby adoption solicitors

    Get in touch with our friendly, practical new born baby adoption solicitors today to discuss your needs. Alternatively, please complete our simple online enquiry form and someone will be in touch shortly.

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