Before you start you'll have chance to speak to our staff about adoption and whether it's the right time for you to proceed.
Once you're ready you'll complete a Registration of Interest form and when we receive this Stage 1 begins.
Stage 1 takes around two months and you will undertake training and preparation whilst we carry out checks and references.
During Stage 1 you'll be asked to attend an adopter preparation group where you'll learn more about adoption, the children waiting and their background and needs. The group runs every month over three days and is led by our experienced staff with contributions from adoptive parents, foster carers and other professionals.
We hope this preparation stage will help you make an informed decision about whether adoption is right for you and if you are ready to move on to Stage 2.
Stage 2 normally takes around four months and our aim at this stage is to assess whether you are suitable and ready to adopt. Your social worker will provide you with a plan for this stage including what you can expect from us and what we will expect from you in order to complete your assessment.
Your social worker will meet with you a number of times to work towards preparing a "Prospective Adopters Report" or PAR which will be shared with you and presented to the Adoption Panel.
Adoption Now Adoption Panels meet weekly and they each have an independent chair. All the members of the panel have knowledge of adoption through personal or professional experience. A legal and medical advisor may also be present. There are usually between five and eight panel members.
The role of the Panel is to recommend whether or not you should be approved as an adoptive parent and they will let you know their recommendations on the day. Their recommendations go to an agency decision maker who will make a formal decision within seven days of receipt of the panel minutes. You will then receive confirmation of your approval as prospective adopters in writing.
The outcome of that panel should not be a surprise to you. By that stage you would know if there were any reasons why the panel may not recommend your approval.
Once you're approved we can start talking to you about children that might be matched with you. There are no rules about how long this might take and the priority is finding the right family for each child. You may be matched with children from other areas in England. In Adoption NoW we ensure that we work very hard to ensure that children and families are matched quickly and we will be very pro-active on your behalf to ensure that your information is available across the country so that you can be considered for a wide range of children. We also encourage adopters to attend such things as Activity Days and Exchange Days (events where adopters can spend time talking to social workers about children in more detail or even meeting children waiting at social events) but again will support you in doing this.
Once approved, waiting for a child to be placed can be hard but our social workers will stay in touch with you and discuss progress with you regularly.