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There are many misconceptions about who can and who cannot adopt. We do not exclude anyone from consideration on the grounds of sexual orientation, race, marital status, gender, disability or employment status.

Here are the answers to the most common questions we get asked. This list is by no means exhaustive and if you still have a question that we haven’t answered below, please get in touch.

I'm currently undergoing IVF - will this cause me any problems with my application?

If you are seeking to adopt as you believe that you are unable to have a child of your own, have been medically investigated and/or have subsequently undertaken IVF, we would generally need to ensure that any of these processes had been completed before an adoption application is accepted. We would advise that a period of six months elapses between completing fertility investigations/treatment and applying to adopt.

Am I too old to adopt?

There is no upper age limit to adopt. However, age, health and wellbeing are taken into consideration, as we need to ensure that you will be able to bring up a child into adulthood.

Why do I need to explain so much about my medical history?

All applicants are required to undertake a medical examination, the findings of which will be considered as part of your formal application. It is important that your health is fully explored to ensure you are fit and well enough to meet the demands of caring for a child.

I smoke, can I adopt?

Extensive medical research has been undertaken about the effects of smoking and passive smoking. We need to ensure that babies and children we place aren't being exposed to harmful toxins that could damage their health. Many of the children in our care have underlying health conditions that could be exacerbated by the effects of smoke. As smoking also harms your health, we will need to take this into consideration as part of your medical investigation. Our team will speak to you about the extent of your smoking habits and what this may mean.

I'm single, does this matter?

All applications are assessed on their own merits, regardless of whether you are single, in a relationship or married. If you do not have a partner, it may be particularly worthwhile considering the kind of support networks you could draw on to help you care for a child.

I'm divorced and my marriage didn't end well. I'm not on speaking terms with my ex-partner. Will you need to contact them?

Being divorced does not prevent you from adopting. Previous marriages and other significant relationships will need to be taken into consideration for many reasons including residency arrangements of any children you may have together for example. Ex-husbands and wives and/or other significant ex-partners will need to be contacted. By the very nature of divorce, marriages almost always end with some animosity. We have approved many adopters who have been married previously.

I already have children of my own - will this prevent me from adopting?

Applications are always welcomed from those who already have children. However, we would normally expect an adopted child to be at least two years younger than your youngest child, in order for the natural flow of your family to remain intact. We do, however, occasionally place children who are older than your own children. Our team can speak to you about your individual circumstances.

I'm gay - will my sexuality stop me from adopting?

Everyone's suitability is assessed on its own merits, based upon skills and experience. You can be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. You might be in a relationship, single or not living with your partner. We welcome applications from all prospective parents who can offer a stable, loving home to a child in need.

I am recently widowed. Will this affect my application?

People who are widowed, separated or divorced, single people, married couples, cohabiting couples and same-sex couples can all apply to adopt. We do ask that a period of time elapses following any major life event, such as a bereavement or divorce, before the adoption assessment commences. Our team can advise you on this.

I don't have a lot of spare money. Will my financial situation stop me from being considered?

You do not need to be wealthy to adopt. However, we will need to ensure that you are financially stable enough to support a child through to adulthood. A financial assessment will be undertaken. Once you have become an approved adopter, you may be eligible to apply for certain benefits, as any other family would. In certain circumstances, financial adoption allowances are also available. Again, our team can advise you on this.

I have suffered from ill health in recent months. Will I be allowed to adopt?

Your application will be considered regardless of whether you are disabled, a smoker, overweight or have a medical condition. Health and wellbeing do form a large part of the application process and you will need to undertake a medical examination. Our health advisors will help us to decide whether you are fit and healthy enough to adopt. We will work hard to support you with this.

I'm not a homeowner - can I adopt?

You don’t need to own your own home. You may rent privately, be in a property provided by a Housing Association or the Local Authority, or own your home. It does not matter if you live in a house, bungalow, flat or other type of accommodation. Your home will need to have enough space to accommodate a child and in most circumstances you would need a spare bedroom.