Useful information about adoption and what is involved including information on child adoption laws, adoption agencies and statistics relating to adopting a baby.
Adoption is a way to provide a new family for a child when it is no longer possible to live with his or her own family. Adoption provides the opportunity for the child to start again, for many it may be their only chance to be part of family life.
Nearly always these children have had a poor start in life or have had to deal with difficulties that most young children never even have to think about. Many have been abused or neglected or have parents who are unable to take responsibility for them. Some may have physical or learning disabilities. A few may have been orphaned, given up at birth or abandoned. For many youngsters separated in the long or short term from their natural parents, their best hope in life is to find replacement families to give them the love, care and support they need. To be eligible for adoption the child must be under the age of 18 years and for whom returning home to his birth parents is not possible.
An Adoption Order cuts all legal ties with the birth family and transfers parental rights and responsibilities to the new adoptive family. The birth parents no longer have any legal rights over the child and they are not entitled to claim him or her back. The child then becomes a full member of the family; he or she takes your surname and assumes the same rights and privileges as if he had been born to you, including the right of inheritance. Bringing up a child can be mutually rewarding and great fun, as well as being hard work and a big responsibility, this is especially so when you choose to bring up a child who was not born to you.
In 2002, out of the 3,400 adoptions, 2040 were of children aged between one and four and a further 1000 were aged between five and nine.
The chances of an adoption failing get higher as the child gets older.
Many adoption agencies now use an 'open' adoption approach which means that often adopted children maintain some form of contact with their blood relatives. Special arrangements may be made for an adopted child to keep in touch with their birth family. In other cases agencies may take the view that it is not in the interests of the child for them to stay in contact with their birth family.
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