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Can I adopt?

Adoption - Chance to play again poster

You will naturally have lots of questions. The only way to get all the answers about your own particular situation is to have a discussion with one of our advisors.

Many people who contact us are concerned that their life-history hasn't been perfect and that they may not be accepted because of this. On the contrary, challenging experiences often give people strength and insights that can help them care for troubled children. Remember one thing - we want you to adopt. There are children who are waiting right now for someone like you to come forward.

Here are the top ten most frequently-asked questions, and our answers to them.

Can I adopt if I'm over 40?

Yes. There are no hard and fast rules about upper age limits. People of all ages can, and do, successfully adopt. You do have to be over 21 though. We are looking for people who can provide a stable home for a child, or children, throughout their childhood and beyond.

Can I adopt if I have my own children?

Yes. Many people successfully parent both birth and adoptive children together. Usually we would only place children who are younger then your birth child by at least two years. We particularly want to hear from people interested in sibling groups.

Can I adopt for you if I live outside Leicester?

Yes. We are looking for people wanting to adopt who live in the East Midlands region. And, occasionally, slightly beyond. You should live within reasonable travelling distance of Leicester City Centre for training, meetings, and introductions.

Can I adopt if I am single or unmarried?

Yes. We welcome applications from all people regardless of their relationship status. We have approved single adopters and unmarried couples. The Adoption and Children Act allows unmarried couples and couples who have formed a civil partnership to adopt.

Can I adopt if I have had - or am still having - fertility treatment?

Yes. Ideally you should have finished your last cycle of treatment, and we ask that you have left a gap of at least six months before considering adoption. But if you are currently undergoing, or have just finished treatment, we will be glad to talk to you and help you plan.

Can I adopt if anyone in my household smokes?

Yes. However we are unable to place a child under the age of five with anyone who smokes. We’d obviously prefer you to give up smoking for the health benefits to you and the child. If you do want to quit - we can provide details of where to go to get help.

Can I adopt if I am gay or lesbian?

Yes. We are committed to equality of opportunity and we are primarily interested in the skills and ability that you have to offer. Gay and lesbian people can just as easily provide a stable home for a child as anyone else.

Can I adopt if I am not well off?

Yes. We would need to be sure that you can provide a good standard of life for a child, but many people who are unemployed or in low paid jobs successfully adopt. You would need to show that you have enough room in your home to care for a child or children, in a safe, stable environment. But it does not matter whether you rent or own your home.

Do I need to pass a medical to adopt?

Yes. Applicants need to have good physical and mental health. All applicants will be asked to have a medical with their own doctor. If you have an existing health concern, you will need to speak to your doctor about your adoption plans. However, please don't rule yourself out unnecessarily; being a 'bit overweight' will not prevent you adopting; nor will a disability or physical or mental health condition that is well controlled.

If you have any concerns about medical conditions, please contact us for an informal chat. We have access to a medical adviser who can also offer advice: 0116 454 4540

Can I adopt if I have a criminal conviction?

Yes. Having a conviction or caution does not automatically prevent you from being considered as an adoptive parent. Much depends on the seriousness of the offence, how long since it was committed, and how you have lived your life since. You must be prepared to talk openly about this during your assessment.

There are some specified offences which will prevent you becoming an adopter. These include all convictions for violent or sexual offences against children.

Anyone wishing to adopt, and members of their household aged over 18, must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

If you have a criminal conviction or caution and are concerned about how this may affect your ability to adopt, please contact us for a confidential chat on 0116 454 4540.

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No matter how trivial your query might seem to you - it's important to us.