FAQs

Am I too old?

There is often a misconception that people are too old to adopt.  There is no specific upper age limit, however, legally you do need to be at least 21 years old.  There are many children of different ages who are waiting for families and we therefore require many families of different ages and with different skills and experience.  Age is just one factor.  What is more important is that you are fit, active and can offer a child the love, stability and patience that they require.

How long does it take?

There is no specific timescale.  There are a number of steps in the process and timescales may be different for each family.  Typically, once you have attended preparation groups your home study assessment will take around 6 months.  It is after this time that we can begin to look for the right children for you.  Your worker will keep you updated on your individual timescales during your home study.

How do I apply to adopt?

Full details of the adoption process can be found in our Interested in Adoption Section.  If you are interested in adopting please contact our office and ask to speak to the duty worker.  They will take your details and arrange for a worker to call and talk you through the process.

Can we adopt a baby?

Adoption has changed over the years and there are now very few relinquished babies (those who are voluntarily placed for adoption by their birth parents).  There are still some babies or very young children placed for adoption.  To be considered for the adoption of a baby we would normally ask that at least one adopter is aged 40 or below.  At St Margarets we do not assess families solely for the purpose of adopting a baby.  We would therefore ask that you can consider adopting a child up to age 5 years.

Where do the children being placed for adoption come from?

Very occasionally at St Margaret’s we may have a relinquished baby, whereby the birth parent wishes to place the child for adoption.  However, the majority of children are placed for adoption as Social Work Services and the court system have deemed that their birth parents cannot provide them with the care and protection that they require.  Children have therefore often had difficult starts and could have experienced of a number of issues such as parental substance, domestic violence

At St Margarets we work local authorities throughout the United Kingdom.  The children being placed can therefore come from any area in the UK.

Can I adopt a child from overseas?

We do not cover overseas adoption at St Margaret’s.  Any children placed through our agency are from the United Kingdom.  If you are interested in adopting from overseas your Local Authority should be able to give you information.

I was adopted through St Margaret's. How do I find out about my adoption?

We offer a service to adults who were adopted through St Margarets.  We hold a file for every child who has ever been adopted through our agency.  Many people contact us looking to access information from their file.  We also offer support for adopted adults who wish to trace their birth family.  This service is free of charge.  Full details of our service can be found in our Other Services (Service for Adopted Adults) section.

I placed my baby for adoption many years ago. Can I make contact with him / her?

If your baby was placed for adoption through St Margarets then we offer a service where we can try and make contact with them on your behalf (as long as they are now in adulthood).  This can be a difficult process as not all adopted people feel the need to have contact with their birth families.  In other cases we are not always able to trace the person.  You will be allocated a worker who will support you through this process.

This service is free of charge.  Full details of our service can be found in our Other Services (Service for Adopted Adults) section.

Who can apply?

St Margaret’s Adoption Society is established to promote (irrespective of creed) the welfare of
children, whose interests are paramount to foster the stability of family relationships and to assess the suitability of applicants as adoptive parents all in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Whilst we consider applications from all interested parties, as a Catholic adoption agency, St Margaret’s is not only regulated by statutory law but also by the teachings of the Catholic Church (Canon Law). St Margaret’s is bound by civil law to operate in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Faith. As a result of this St Margaret’s describes the services it offers as “adopting within the framework of the Catholic faith.”

To articulate the subsequent requirements of our faith based service St Margaret’s operates a “preferred criteria” in assessing whether or not enquirers can go forward for full assessment.

 We will give preference to:

  1. Catholic Married Couples who wish to adopt within the framework of their faith.
  2. Married couples, where one of the Parties is Catholic and they wish to adopt within the framework of the Catholic faith.
  3. Other Married couples ( i.e. non Catholics) who wish to adopt within the framework of the Catholic faith.
  4. An individual who may wish to adopt within the framework of the Catholic faith.

 Quite often people assume they will not be able to adopt for many reasons. You may be worried that you are too old, that you have a health condition, do not earn enough money or do not own your own home

This is not the case. We are keen to hear from families from all walks of life.

What you have to offer materially is not overly important. We are more interested in looking for families who can offer a child the unconditional love, care and support that they will require through to adulthood. The special qualities we would look for are that you are open and honest, adaptable and willing to learn. You should also have an understanding of the needs of children together with abundance patience, tolerance and, most importantly, the time, energy and love that all children need.

In general the following would apply:

  • Legally you need to be at least 21 years old to adopt.
  • There is no upper age limit. However, we would expect you to be fit, healthy, active and physically able to care for a child. Your own age would be taken into account in relation to the age of the child placed. Current guidelines state that the age difference between the parent and child should be no more than 45 years.
  • We consider applicants from all areas of Scotland.
  • Applicants should reside permanently in the UK and have leave to remain here.
  • Couples applying to adopt should have been in a relationship for at least 2 years.
  • If applicants have undergone fertility treatment then there should be at least 6 months between the end of treatment and beginning of the adoption process. This is important to give you time to come to terms with your unsuccessful treatment before making the shift to thinking about becoming adoptive parents. You can however, make your initial enquiry before this time.
  • Some convictions or cautions do not automatically exclude you from adoption. However, it is important that these are disclosed at the initial stage of your enquiry so that they can be fully taken into account when considering your application.
  • Many people who adopt have current health issues. Again, having a particular health condition does not automatically exclude you from adopting but we do need to consider the impact that any health issues may have upon your ability to parent. Should you have any healthy issues, please ensure that these are disclosed at the initial stage of your enquiry so that they can be fully taken into account when considering your application.
  • BMI can become an issue in adoption. It is essential that you can offer your child a fit and healthy lifestyle and some Local Authorities will not consider placing children with adoptive parents where there BMI is particularly high. We do not have a set limit on BMI, however, if your BMI is over 40 we would expect you to show a commitment to addressing this over the course of your assessment.
  • Children have the right to live in a smoke free environment. We would therefore expect you to stop smoking prior to adopting.
  • We welcome applications from families who already have children. We would expect there to be at least 2 year age gap between your child and adopted child. We would therefore look for your child to be at least 4 years old before you adopt.
  • We would expect you to have a spare bedroom for your adopted child.
  • There are very few babies now being placed for adoption. We understand that most people would prefer to adopt a child who is as young as possible. However, there are many children of different ages in need of permanent homes. We would therefore ask that you can consider adopting a child at least up to age 5.
  • Your child will require time and support to settle in your family. We would therefore ask at least one parent to be able to take at least 9 months adoption leave.

Should you have any questions or concerns with regards to any of the points above, please feel free to contact our office and speak with the Duty Worker who will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Who are the children waiting for adoptive families?

Adoption has changed significantly over the years.  Historically the majority of children were babies who were placed for adoption by their birth parents, often young unmarried mothers.  Today there are very few babies being placed for adoption.  We therefore do not assess families who only wish to consider a baby or particularly young child.

Throughout the UK there are thousands of children waiting to be adopted.  This includes children of all ages, genders, cultures and religions.  There are many children looking for a placement together with their siblings as well as many single children.  Some children may be affected by disability or have additional needs.

The majority of children are looking for an adoptive family as Social Work Services and the legal system have deemed that their birth families cannot provide them with the safety, protection and nurturing care that they need.  Some children may have been exposed to abuse or neglect.  They may have been living in birth families with a history of substance misuse, domestic violence or mental health difficulties or lived with parents who have simply not been equipped to meet their needs. Because of this, the children will be living in foster care prior to being adopted.

Children will often have very mixed feelings about adoption.  They may be feeling excited at the thought of meeting their new family, moving to a new home and all that this may entail.  At the same time they may feel confused or scared about what is happening or upset or angry at leaving their birth family or foster carers behind.   They may have had quite difficult times at home and may need some help to learn to trust the adults that are caring for them.

Every child’s background and needs will be different.  This is why we need adopters from all walks of life.  Should you decide that you wish to adopt, our preparation groups will help you understand the different experiences that children may have had and how best you, as an adoptive parent, can give them the love and stability they require to help them flourish.

Regardless of their background, every child has a birth family.  Our experience shows us how important it is that children are given age appropriate information regarding their birth family and the reasons why they have been placed for adoption.  As an adoptive parent it will be your role to help your child understand their background and adoption.

As you will see from reading through our information, there are many different aspects to adoption and it can seem like a daunting task.  However, it is also very rewarding and full-filling.  Adoption is life-long for everyone involved.  We will therefore ensure that support and advice is available at all stages of your adoption journey.

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