Adoption: Could you adopt?

What is adoption?

  • A legal procedure through which a permanent home is created for a child whose birth family is unable to care for the child or is legally prohibited from doing so. The focus should be on the welfare of the child.
  • Designed to meet the needs of a child for a permanent home and a secure loving family.
  • Designed to meet the needs of the adopters who want a child / children and who are thereby given the same rights and responsibilities as if the child had been born to them.
  • A lifelong process.

Who is eligible to adopt?

  • Legislation requires that adopters should be 21 years or older, except in step parent adoptions.
  • Regional Adoption Policies and Procedures state that there should be no more than 45 years between the age of the child and one of the adoptive parents.
  • Applicants should reside within the geographical area of the Trust.
    Applicants are expected to attend an Adoption Preparation course.

Same Sex Adoption

Following the Court of Appeal Judgement in 2013, unmarried couples, including same sex couples and those in civil partnerships, can apply to adopt. 

Statistics – same sex couples

  • 14 same sex couples approved by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
  • 8 Adoption orders granted by the court
  • 11 same sex couples have children placed
  • Average waiting time from approval to a child being placed is 3 months
    (Statistics correct as of 8.5.19)

If you would like to speak to us about adoption please contact or visit

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