Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page, if you have a question which is not listed here please do not hesitate to get in touch, you can contact us by calling 0191 561 2221, by emailing us at, you may also request a call back by clicking here. You may also ask us a question by filling out this website enquiry form.

Who can adopt?

Single people over 21 years can adopt and married and unmarried couples (including same sex couples) both over 21 years can adopt jointly. You may adopt regardless of your sexuality, ethnicity or religious beliefs, employment status or how many children you currently have.

What is the difference between adoption and fostering?

Adoption is permanent; when a child is adopted the rights and responsibilities of their birth parent(s) are legally removed. These rights and responsibilities are given to the new adoptive parent(s).

How long does the process typically take?

Stage one typically lasts 2 months, stage 2 typically takes 4 months, so usually 6 months, however this is the average and the actual time may vary.

Do I have to own my home to adopt?

No, as long as you have a permanent residence, which can be rented, owned or mortgaged, you can adopt.

Will I receive support after I adopt?

Yes, we provide support before, during and after the adoption process. More details can be found on our support page, located here.

What if I have a criminal conviction?

People with certain criminal convictions, (typically offences against children or violent crimes) aren't able to adopt, however other convictions may not prevent you from adopting.

What if I smoke?

You may still adopt even if you smoke, however you will be ineligible to adopt a child under the age of five however, you would also be unable to adopt a child that has certain medical conditions, for example asthma.

Can I adopt if I have pets?

Yes, however an assessment will be done on the pets to ensure that they are safe to be around children.

Are you paid for adoption, or will I have to pay to adopt?

You do not get paid for adopting and you will have to pay a fee of £170 when you apply for to the Court to adopt, however Together for Children Adoption Sunderland will reimburse this amount.

Can I adopt if I have a disability?

Yes. You may adopt if you have a disability.

Will I get to choose the child?

We want to ensure that the child you are matched with is a good match, therefore you will be heavily involved in the matching process to work towards this being the right match for both the child and you.

Is there contact with the child's birth family after adoption?

The majority of adopted children have indirect contact with significant birth family members through the postbox service. This is typically an annual letter. Birth siblings who are adopted by different families can have ongoing contact. All contact arrangements are made in the best interests of the child.

What qualities should adopters have?

Adopters don't have to be superheroes but they should have some special qualities!

They need to be:

  • Patient
  • Flexible
  • Child centred
  • Warm and kind
  • Have a sense of humour
  • And lots of determination to stick to their commitment to a child, even when there are difficulties

In short, just like most parents need to be, but with an added dimension that helps them commit totally to a child not born to them.

Can I still apply if I don't live in Sunderland?

Yes, it doesn't matter where you live, as long as you aren't too far away for us to do your home study, give you support and for you to come to information sessions and training courses.

Adoption - Ask a Question

Your name
Your home address
How would you like to be contacted?
(Please tick all that apply)
How did you hear about us?


More in Families

Here you can find a list of useful resources that can help aid learning in...

When three young brothers and sisters were taken into care due to neglect and a...

We are all going through these difficult times but our team are still available to


We became foster carers because I had relocated from Cardiff to Sunderland and I was...

In partnership with