We appreciate that deciding to adopt is a huge life changing decision and you may have lots of questions. Below are a list of frequently asked questions, but we recommend reading the information pack which can be downloaded by clicking the link at the top of the screen, and giving us a call to discuss your individual circumstances. Our experienced staff team are waiting to hear from you.

Who are St David's Adoption Service?

St David’s Adoption Service is known as a VAA (Voluntary Adoption Agency), this means that we are a not-for-profit registered charity and that our service is independent from social services within a local authority. We are the longest serving adoption agency in Wales.

Our sole focus as a VAA is to recruit, assess and support adoptive families. Regional Adoption Services not only do this, but also work directly with the children whose permanency plan is adoption, as well as work with the birth families, facilitate any arrangements for contact between the child and the birth family, and also complete assessments for stepparent adoptions and inter-country adoptions.

We are a supportive, responsible agency that build long lasting relationships with families and professionals. We are dedicated and reliable in offering expertise in our service delivery across Wales.

What is adoption?

Adoption gives a child a new family when living with their own family is not possible. There are many reasons why people choose to adopt, some people choose to adopt and the process is the same for everyone.

Adoption is a legal procedure in which the court transfers all parental rights and duties from the birth parents to the adoptive parents. This gives the adoptive parents the same rights as if the child was born to them.

The National Adoption Service in Wales has put together this legal framework for prospective adopters so that they are aware of the law relating to adoption.

Why is adoption needed?

Many children are unable to live with their birth family. These children will have come to the attention of the Local Authority because their families struggled to care for them.

Who can adopt?

St David’s positively welcomes applications from:

  • Married couples or couples in a civil partnership
  • Single people
  • Unmarried couples
  • The LGBTQ+ community
  • Individuals and families with or without children
  • Families whose children are grown up
  • Disabled people
  • People of all racial backgrounds
  • People of all or no religious faith
  • Employed or unemployed
  • Homeowners or tenants with an assured tenancy
  • Adopters must be 21 years of age or over. Although there’s no upper age limit, there is an expectation that an adoptive family will be able to parent a child at least until the child is 18 years of age.

This is not an exhaustive list, St David’s are an inclusive agency and we welcome enquiries from across the community that represents the diverse needs of children in Wales. Please contact us or come along to one of our ‘Introduction to Adoption’ workshops to find out more.

What if I have any criminal convictions?

It is really important that we do talk to you about any convictions, cautions, or anything that you think that might come up in an enhanced DBS check or in any other references/checks undertaken.

We will fully explore any offenses or things that you might be worried about as a potential barrier to your application. Many offences will not necessarily prevent someone adopting, but any offences against children would rule out an application. Our aim is to ensure that children are placed in safe and secure homes and for this reason we must take up DBS checks and a range of other references for all applicants and anyone in the home over 18 years of age. You should always tell us about any allegations made against you or enquiries pending. It is much better to be open with us from the beginning.


What about our health?

We are looking for adoptive parents who have the time, energy and capacity to care and support a child or children throughout their childhood. You will be required to have a medical which will comment on your physical and mental health as well as lifestyle issues such as weight, smoking and alcohol use. Any risks identified will be discussed with you, including how you may have resolved any problems with such issues in the past.

We would recommend speaking to your GP or specialist first if you have had treatment for a serious illness, to get their view on the timing of application to adopt.

Similarly, with any mental health problems or treatments you may have had or having, it may be useful to speak to your doctor about this. It will be covered within your adoption medical and through conversations with your social worker.

Adoption medicals are completed during Stage One and our Medical Advisor will complete a summary from your medical and we will discuss this with you.


I am planning some work on my house, will this affect my application?

When preparing to bring a child into the home, often this coincides with thinking about your home and potential work that needs to be done to improve your living arrangements. For big projects such as extensions or any building work that will take a significant time, we would like these to be completed by the time you submit your Registration of Interest so that any delays with the work, will not affect your assessment.

All applicants are subject to a health and safety check of the home to ensure that it is suitable and safe for a child or children to live in.

You may also be thinking about moving house, and as above, we would require you to be living in the property that you envisage having children placed in, by the point of submitting your Registration of Interest.

It is not unusual for birth children to share a bedroom, but is not considered to be appropriate for children who have not lived with you from birth, therefore we require a spare bedroom for the child. If you are adopting siblings, sometimes, they can share a bedroom, if it is deemed suitable for them.

Who are the children waiting for adoption?

The number of children waiting for an adoptive placement varies in Wales from year to year.

St David’s is a key part of the National Adoption Service and provides placements for children across Wales and we focus on finding families that can parent the needs of the children that are waiting. We know that the children that wait the longest are sibling groups, older children, and children with more complex medical or developmental needs.

The National Adoption Service (NAS) runs the Adoption Register for Wales (ARW) which is a family finding tool and data service to help adopters to find the right match.


Can I afford to adopt?

At St David’s we look for adopters who can first and foremost meet the needs of the children waiting, and income should not be a barrier to adopting. However, we understand how stressful financial difficulties and managing debt can be. As part of the assessment, we will complete a financial assessment with you to determine that any child placed is going to have their needs met without causing undue pressure on your budget. We will talk to you about the anticipated cost of child care needs and  being able to take time off work for when a child is placed with you. Typically this is a minimum of 6 months, however we find that often it takes -9-12 months to help a child settle with you home. Information on adoption leave can be found on the government website.

Whilst you do not have to pay for the assessment, there is a cost for the adoption medical, which is set individually by your GP, and for any costs accompanying any overseas checks.


Who do you get references/checks from?

There are statutory checks that all adoption agencies are required to undertake. These are:

  • DBS
  • Local Authority
  • Medical
  • A minimum of three personal references from people who know you well

Other checks that we also expected to undertake are:

  • Ex-partners and adult children
  • Overseas, where you have lived for over 6 months
  • Employer/voluntary work or accountant references if you are self employed
  • Former employer checks if you have worked or volunteered with vulnerable adults or children
  • If you have undergone any counselling in recent years, we ill talk to you about how we seek a reference from your counsellor
  • School references if you have a child already that is school age

This is not an exhaustive list, but we will be in communication with you as to who we are seeking references from and why.

If there are any difficulties in obtaining reference particular to you own personal circumstances this may impact on our ability to take forward your assessment to the next stage.  It is important to discuss any concerns you may have in obtaining these references at your earliest opportunity with your social worker.


Am I too old to adopt?

Anyone over 21 years of age has the right to make an adoption application. While there is no upper age limit on who may adopt, there is an expectation that a prospective adopter will be able to parent a child or children into adulthood.

Can I adopt my step-child or a child in my family?

At St David’s, we match adopters with children who are in the foster care system. We do not deal with adopting a step-child or with extended family who are trying to adopt a child within the family. If you want help with this, you should contact your local authority adoption team.

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Featured Updates

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13 September 2019 | Adopter Stories

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When our daughter’s social worker visited our home to see that we could accommodate the little person about to enter into our lives, she mentioned the “honeymoon period” that adopters often have.

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7 February 2024 | General News

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7 February 2024 | Press Releases

LGBTQ+ Adoption Guide

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2 February 2024 | Adoption Processes

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming launch of our LGBTQ+ Guide to Adoption! In celebration of LGBT History Month this February, we are proud to introduce a comprehensive guide highlighting the inclusive and supportive environment we provide for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples on their adoption journey.

Dan Warner
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26 January 2024 | Uncategorised

Adoption UK – Adoption Barometer 2024

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Dan Warner
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