Adoption is a way of providing a child with new legal parents beyond childhood into adulthood. When a child is adopted, it ends the legal relationship between the parents and the child and establishes a new one with the adoptive parents.
Adoption transfers all the parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents.
Adoptions are made legally binding by the Court.
Adoption can only be arranged by approved Adoption Agencies. Highland Council is an approved Adoption Agency.
When and adoption application is being heard by the Court, the Council must be satisfied that you, the birth parent(s) who have parental rights and responsibilities and all guardians of your child agree fully and unconditionally to the Order being made.
You give your consent in writing.
The Adoption Agency will want to ask your child too about what he or she thinks about adoption. Indeed, children over the age of 12 years must give their own consent to adoption.
If you do not agree to the plans to have your child adopted and do not give your consent, there is a legal process called "Freeing for Adoption" which the Adoption Agency will use. A leaflet entitled "Freeing Children for Adoption" is available from the Adoption Agency and explains fully what will happen.
In the past Adoption usually meant the end of all contact between you and your child. Nowadays this need not necessarily be the case.
Adoption has now become more open and you are encouraged to be involved in plans for your child’s adoption.
Adoptive parents understand the importance of talking to their adopted child from an early age about their adoption. This means that your child will grow up always having known about their start in life. Most adopted people would agree this is better than the shock of finding out about their adoption in adulthood.
Many adopted people are anxious about their origins and ask lots of questions. This is to be expected.
It helps if you can give the Adoption Agency as much information as possible about yourselves. Even if you are unmarried the Adoption Agency will encourage you to involve your child’s father in the plans for adoption.
All the information can be passed to the adoptive parents, when your child in later years begins to ask questions.
You are also asked to give permission for medical information to be passed on so that your child can get the best medical care.
The Adoption Agency will encourage you to help in the selection of a family for your child and every effort will be made to take into account your child’s medical, cultural, religious and linguistic background.
The Adoption Agency will give you information on a number of families - without identifying the families’ addresses. Your preference will then be considered in deciding which family is the most suitable for your child.
You may wish also to meet the family which has been chosen for your child. The Adoption Agency will arrange a meeting wherever possible. The meeting usually takes place before your child has joined his/her family and the most likely place for the meeting will be the Social Work Office. Such a meeting gives everyone the chance to share information and have a clearer understanding of each other.
Every case is different, so it is not possible to give an exact answer to this question.
In the most straightforward of cases of new born babies the timescales might be very short. Legally, your child must have been looked after by the adoptive family for at least 13 weeks continuously and be at least 19 weeks old when the Adoption Order is heard in Court.
For most older children, however, the legal process is much longer, particularly so when a Freeing Order is required.
Many adoptions now include an agreement that once a year the adoptive parents will send you a letter telling you about your child’s progress. They may even agree to sending you photographs of your child. You may wish to write back to the adopters too in an exchange of information.
All the correspondence is sent via the Adoption Agency and we call this a "post box" service. If you move and do not notify us of your change of address, any letters, photographs etc can be kept safe at the Adoption Agency until you choose to collect them.
Many older children who are adopted remember living at home and have memories of their family. If your child has been accommodated with foster parents you may have had contact with your child during this period. In some cases, it may be possible for your contact with your child to continue after the Adoption order has been made.
Where brothers and sisters are being adopted every effort is made to find an adoptive family where they can grow up together. If, in exceptional circumstances, the children have to be separated the Agency will consider how to help them stay in contact after the Adoption Order has been made.
When the Adoption order is granted, a new birth certificate is issued. This records the name of the child and the names of the adoptive parents. The original birth certificate is stored at New Register House, Edinburgh. You, of course, will have your own copy of your child’s original birth certificate.
All children in Scotland at the age of 16 years have the right to a copy of their original birth certificate. They may also have access to their adoption records held by the Court that grants the Adoption Order and the Adoption Agency that arranges the adoption.
The information your child has access to could make it possible for your child to trace you.
If you are considering adoption for your child or the Adoption Agency has decided on this plan with or without your consent, it is important to seek early advice from the Adoption Agency. You may also wish to contact a Solicitor.
Your Social Worker will explain the legal process and the steps that have to be taken before an Adoption Order can be granted.
Your Social Worker is there to help you with any queries and to offer counseling and advice about all available options. Your Social Worker can offer support throughout the process and following adoption.
Should you require advice and guidance about the adoption of your child from someone other than your Social Worker, then contact:
BRITISH AGENCY FOR
ADOPTION AND FOSTERING
40 Shandwick Place
Tel: 0131 225 9285
21 Castle Street
Tel: 0131 225 6441
PARENT TO PARENT INFORMATION
ON ADOPTION SERVICES
Tel: 01327 60295
ST ANDREWS CHILDREN’S SOCIETY
113 Whitehouse Loan
Tel: 0131 452 8248
ST MARGARET OF SCOTLAND
274 Bath Street
Tel: 0141 332 8371
SCOTTISH ADOPTION ADVICE SERVICE
45 Finnieston Street
Tel: 0141 248 7530
Fax: 0141 222 4739
NATURAL PARENT NETWORK
10 Alandale Crescent
Tel: 0113 286 8489