Adoption provides a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their own parents. It's a legal procedure where all the parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters.
Once an adoption order has been granted it can't be reversed, except in extremely rare circumstances. An adopted child loses all legal ties with their birth mother and father, becoming a full member of the new family, usually taking the family's name.
Children who need adopting
These children are from a great variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Many of these children are of pre-school age and sometimes in sibling groups of brothers and sisters who need to be placed together.
There are children with disabilities and children whose future development is unclear.
Also some children may have been abused or neglected, may have experienced moves and uncertainty, and sometimes their behaviour can be challenging.
Adopting a relative or step-child
Adoption by step-parents or relatives can offer permanency and security to a child – find out more about adopting a relative or step-child.