Information for Birth Parents about Adoption
If your child is adopted, you won’t be legally responsible for them anymore
What adoption means
Adoption is a way of providing a new permanent family for a child who cannot be brought up by their birth family. A Local Authority acts an adoption agency and is legally allowed to arrange adoptions.
However, a Local Authority cannot make these arrangements legally binding. Only the court can do this, by the making of an Adoption Order. This ends the child’s legal relationship with the birth family and gives the child new parents. The child becomes a full member of the adoptive family, the same as if he or she had been born to the adopters.
An Adoption Order means the permanent transfer of parental responsibility. This is such an important event in a child’s life that the law requires Adoption Agencies and the courts to make sure they put the child’s long term welfare first when they make decisions about adoption.
Your rights as birth parents
If your child is adopted, you will no longer have any legal rights and responsibilities for them. You would not usually see the child again. However, we may be able to share news about the child with you, and vice versa, if it is in the best interests of the child and if the adoptive parents agree. We call this ‘indirect contact’.
If you have any concerns, your child’s social worker can help you or an adoption social worker from the Adoption and Permanence Team. You could also talk to a solicitor or with your friends and family.
Families For Children is an organisation which runs a support service for birth relatives of Bournemouth children placed for adoption. It is a service which is funded by the Local Authority but which operates independently to offer advice and support to people in your situation.
Knowing about you is important
Before the courts make an Adoption Order, the Local Authority has to find out all about you, your family and your child. All this information is needed for the court to make the decision as to whether adoption is right for the child. It is also important information for the child’s adoptive parents and for the child for the future.
Choosing a family for your child
The law requires that Adoption Agencies make very thorough checks on families wishing to adopt. All prospective adopters undergo lengthy training and assessment. They are asked all sorts of information about themselves and their family background. They are only approved after careful consideration by an Adoption Panel and a decision by a senior member of Children’s Social Care.
When your child’s social worker looks for a family, they will choose the one that is best able to meet the child’s needs. Your child’s long term welfare is the first consideration. A placement will not be made until the right family is available.
Adoption by foster carers
Sometimes when foster carers have looked after a child for a long time, they want to adopt them. In this case, the same thorough enquiries will be made as with any other adopters. It is still very important to be sure that it would be best for your child to be adopted by that family before an adoption application is made to the court.
Are you willing for your child to be adopted?
If you are willing for your child to be adopted, a social worker that works for the court will visit you and make sure that you understand what adoption is all about. They need to be sure that you are willing to agree to your child’s adoption quite freely and without any conditions. If this social worker is satisfied that you have thought about it carefully and know what you are doing, you will be asked to sign a formal document giving your agreement.
Are you unhappy at the prospect of your child being adopted?
If you are not happy about your child being adopted it is important for you to seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in child care matters as soon as possible.
After the adoption
Decisions will be made about what contact you can have with the child after they have been placed for adoption.
There are two types of contact:
- Indirect contact - You can share letters with your child’s adoptive family through the Adoption and Permanence Team. This will usually happen on an annual basis.
- Direct contact –This is face-to-face contact with the child but only if it is in the child’s best interests and the adoptive parents agree, and also the child once they are old enough to make their own decisions.