If you decide that being placed for adoption is right for your child, or just want some help with considering it further, you should inform your local authority.
Adoptions are arranged by adoption agencies but are made legally binding by the court making an adoption order. Once granted an adoption order is final and cannot be overturned.
Preparations for the adoption can begin before your child is born, however, nothing will be definitely arranged until after the birth.
When your baby is at least six weeks old, the social worker will arrange for you to be interviewed by a Cafcass worker. Their role is to make sure that you have received all the important information about the process, and have thought through all of the issues.
They will ask you to sign a formal document consenting to your child’s placement for adoption. You may also give advance consent to an adoption order being made when the adopters apply for it.
The Cafcass officer will then send the signed consent forms, along with confirmation that consent was given freely and unconditionally, to the local authority. This will be used as evidence that the parent(s) has agreed to placement, and possibly to adoption.
Once the child has been placed with potential adopters and has lived with them for 10 weeks, they can then apply for an adoption order.
Once an adoption order is made you will no longer have any legal relationship with the child.
You will be encouraged to see a specialist adoption worker to assist you in making your decision but there are also services available for birth parents after their child has been adopted.
There are many agencies who provide support groups and workers who know a lot about adoption. You can ask the social worker for details about this and other support services available.
Local authorities also provide support to everyone involved in adoption throughout a child’s childhood and beyond. They will be there to assist if any difficulties arise in relation to contact with your child or if you have any queries at all.