Step 1: Adoption Introduction

The information provided here is not intended as a guide for the entire adoption process. Instead, it seeks to help prospective adoptive parents and a child’s birth parents understand the legal steps involved in an adoption, and to give guidance for both contested and non-contested adoptions. Although the role of professional parties to an adoption (for example, the adoption agency or the local authority) are discussed here, if you are involved in an adoption in this regard you should seek specialist advice.

In particular, this information does not deal with international adoptions.

Although single individuals are legally permitted to adopt, the advice given here refers to the prospective ‘parents’ (plural) of the adopted child. Additionally, a child is referred to as ‘he/him’.

There is plenty of information available in multiple formats to guide you during the beginning stages of the adoption process. Specific websites or helplines which may be of use include the following:


BAAF Adoption and Fostering: / 0207 421 2600 Adoption UK – / 0844 848 7900

The UK government: