Adopting a child is one of the most important decisions many people will make in their lives. Adoption is a complex legal process, and it can be emotional and stressful at times. That is why it is important to work with family lawyers who you trust.
Here at Miller Samuel Hill Brown, our Family Law Experts are here to provide sensitive and effective support and advice as your family grows. We will take you through the legal aspects of the adoption process, ensuring each step is carried out correctly and answering any questions you have along the way, both fully and quickly.
In Scotland, adoptions are carried out under the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007. Where the court grants an Adoption Order, the adopter becomes the child’s legal parent. In essence, this means that at the end of the process, the adoptive parent(s) has all the rights and responsibilities relating to the child that come with being a legal parent. The Order is permanent and irreversible, and the child’s birth parents no longer have any rights or responsibilities in respect of the child.
To be eligible to adopt, you must normally be 21 years of age or over. Couples can apply as long as they are living together in an “enduring relationship”. Where one person in a couple is the parent of the child that is to be adopted, the parent must be at least 18 and the adopter at least 21. Single people and people who are divorced can apply to adopt a child.
Past convictions (unless involving an offence against children) will not necessarily prevent you from being able to adopt. However, the local authority or adoption agency will investigate and make a decision based on its findings.
It is not necessary that you be currently employed to be able to adopt, although the agency or council will want to see that you have sufficient resources to support the child.
As part of your application, a medical report will be prepared on your health. If you suffer from a serious illness, it is unlikely that you will be accepted.
There is no legal requirement for children to be placed with parents of the same race. However, racial, cultural and linguistic factors are taken into account.
The adoption process may seem lengthy and thorough. However, this is necessary to ensure the best outcome. Our highly responsive and proactive solicitors are committed to keeping you informed throughout.
There are two ways of arranging an adoption:
If approved, unless you have applied to adopt a specific child, it may take some time to find a suitable adoptee. Your details will be added to the national adoption register. This register contains details of all the children waiting to be adopted in Scotland, and each local authority can use your application to find a match.
If the child is aged 12 or over, the child must agree to the adoption. If under 12, the child’s views must be taken into account if the court feels they are mature enough to have a view.
Adopting a child from overseas can be particularly complicated. It is first necessary to check if the country you wish to adopt from allows cross-border adoption. Where this is possible, you will then need to be assessed and approved.
If you are considering adoption, you should seek advice from experienced Family Lawyers who regularly work with potential adopters. Our specialist Adoption Law Solicitors can provide you with the assistance, guidance and representation you need, helping to minimise the stress involved. The process can be complicated but we can provide the support and advice you need throughout, from considering adoption, applying for adoption or appealing a rejection.