Adopting a Child: How we can help
Adopting a Child: How we can help06 March 2019 Written by James & George Collie

Family with their child

Adopting a child in Scotland is a formal legal process, whereby all the rights and responsibilities relating to a child are transferred to the adoptive parents.  Once the Court grants the adoption order, the adopters become the children’s legal parent or parents.  This decision is permanent and the child’s birth parents will no longer have any rights and responsibilities in respect of the child.

Adoptions can take place for a number of reasons, for example step parent adoptions where couples marry and one party already has a child, perhaps where the birth parent does not take an active interest in the child.  Alternatively, the local authority could have placed a child with a couple, and they wish to go ahead with the legal process of adoption.  The Courts will always base their decision in any action relating to a child on what is in the child’s best interest.  The Courts seek for children to be provided with a stable, secure and nurturing environment, where they can grow and develop into their adult life.

If you decide to proceed with a step child adoption, this is a non-agency adoption.  You must tell the local authority that you want to adopt the child.  The local authority will then investigate your situation carefully and will prepare a report for the Court, to assist them in making their decision about whether or not to grant the adoption.  If you are adopting through an agency, then the local authority will again prepare a report, as part of their process.

If you wish to adopt a child, first of all you require to be assessed.  Adoption agencies require to ensure that people who wish to adopt meet certain legal and other requirements.  After prospective adopters are approved, the agencies try to match them with children who need adoption.  Once you have applied to an adoption agency, the agency will assess whether or not you are suitable to be an adoptive parent.  When the assessment is complete, your application will be referred to the agency’s adoption panel for recommendation about whether you should be approved by the agency or not.  The assessment process usually takes around six to eight months to complete, but each individual agency will keep you informed of any delays in the process.  Once you have been approved as an adopter, unless you have applied for a particular child, it may take some time before a suitable child is found to match you with.  Once you have been approved by the adoption panel, your details will be referred to the National Adoption Register, which contains details of all children waiting to be adopted nationally.  This register is helpful for the local authorities and adoption agencies to use and they will start to try and find a match for you.  Once you have found a possible match, the social work department will become involved and work with you to help you meet and learn about the child.

In order for you to obtain an adoption order, you have to apply through the Court.  We can assist you with this process, and guide you through every step of the way.  The Court process is the same for all types of adoption.  An adoption order cannot be granted until the child has lived with you for at least thirteen weeks.  The child must be at least nineteen weeks old before the order is granted.  The Court’s main concern is to ensure that the child’s welfare is safeguarded and promoted throughout their life.  The legislation sets out a set of principles which the Court must apply when making their decision, and they must also consider the various reports provided by the adoption agency, local authority and other relevant people.

An adoption order will not be made by the Court unless the birth parents agree or unless the Court decides their consent is not needed.  If a Permanence Order has already been granted by the local authority, then the birth parents’ consent is not required.  If the child is aged twelve or over, the child’s formal consent is also required.

James and George Collie can assist and guide you through the whole adoption process - we offer a fixed fee for straightforward adoptions.  Should you wish to enquire or receive further information, please contact our senior court solicitor, Jenni Wilson, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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