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Book on an information event

1. Book on an information event

We run monthly information events to tell you little bit more about adoption.

The events are open to everyone, no matter what stage of the adoption process you're at.  Event times are 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Make sure you arrive by 6:15pm to give yourself time to grab a tea or coffee!

If you would like to speak to someone before coming, please call 01494 586 349. If you are unable to reach us on our landline number, please call 07540 310 281 or email adoption@buckscc.gov.uk.

 

Upcoming information events

To attend one of the information events, please follow the link to book a space:

Green Park Centre, Stablebridge Road, Aston Clinton, HP22 5NE

Chesham Town Hall, 14 High Street, Chesham, HP5 1EP

 

Parking

Visit the Parkopedia website to find the nearest car parks. For parking in Aston Clinton venue, there are many spaces on site.

 

2. Getting ready for adoption

Using our simple adoption readiness tool is a great way to learn more about adoption.

By answering a few simple questions you’ll get a personalised readiness plan to help you prepare to take the next step.

The tool is anonymous and takes less than ten minutes to complete. Using the tool will help you learn about:

  • who can adopt
  • what’s involved in adoption
  • the training and support you’ll receive
  • what steps you can take to get ready

Try the adoption readiness tool now.

3. Who can adopt - myth busting

There are many myths around who can and can't adopt.  Here are some of the most common myths:

Can I adopt...

 

If I am over 40?

We do not operate an upper age limit, but you need to be fit and healthy enough to see your adopted child safely into adult life.

 

If I am under 21?

The youngest age at which you can adopt is 21.

 

If I'm not married?

Single people can adopt a child and in some cases, this is a positive choice. However, it is important that you have a strong support network around you. Those in a long-term relationship who aren't married can also adopt, including same-gender couples.

We would usually expect that couples can demonstrate a strong and stable relationship to ensure security for the child. This would usually mean that you should have been in your relationship for at least 3 years.

 

If I'm currently undergoing fertility treatment?

We would expect you to have finished any infertility investigations or treatments before you can start your assessment. At the initial assessment stage, we would explore how resolved you feel about your infertility. We encourage people to take up the counselling offered by many clinics.

 

If I'm unemployed?

We approve people from every walk of life regardless of employment or financial status. An adoption allowance may be considered for some children who meet the criteria i.e. those with emotional or behavioural difficulties, those with a disability or children in a sibling group who need to be kept together. This is based on a financial means test.

 

If I work full-time?

As long as you can provide space and time to meet the child's needs. This is especially important when children are young and for all children in the early stages of an adoptive placement. We would usually expect one consistent carer available to care for pre-school children.

Statutory adoption pay and adoption leave are available for adoptive parents. You can find out more from the Directgov website
 

If I don't own my home?

As long as you have a secure tenancy it doesn't matter if you don't own your home. You'll need to show that you have enough room to care for a child or children, in a safe and secure environment, whether you rent or own your home.

 

If I'm gay or lesbian?

We are firmly committed to ensuring that no one is discriminated against because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or disability. 

The New Family Social website is a great resource for Bucks LGBT adopters. We recommend taking a look at what support they offer, from social meet ups to online forums. You may have seen our information sessions advertised on their social media pages as we are a member agency.  If you choose to be assessed as a prospective adopter through us you will get free membership to New Family Social.

 

If I have a disability and/or a health problem?

Everyone who applies to adopt will need a health assessment as part of the approval process to make sure that they are able to care for a child. If you are disabled or have a medical condition these factors are taken into consideration and recommendations made on your suitability.

We need to ensure that a child will not experience further loss so you will be asked to show you have a healthy lifestyle.

 

If I smoke?

Yes - but it is unlikely you will be selected for a baby, very young child or a child with a medical condition e.g. asthma. You would be asked to consider your long-term health and associated health risks.

 

If I have a criminal conviction?

You will not be considered as a prospective adopter if you or another adult in your household has been convicted of a "specified offence". These are predominantly offences against children. If you have convictions or cautions for any offences, tell us and we will advise you whether they will prevent an application.

 

If I already have children of my own?

Yes - your own children would be included in the approval process too.

In adoption, we usually advise a minimum age gap of two years between any birth children and an adopted child. Your child would need to be at least 3 years old as most children available for adoption are toddler age and upwards. Although for some children, a wider age gap would be needed and there may be additional risks with the adoption.

 

If I don't live in Buckinghamshire?

Sometimes it is in the best interests of the child to be placed outside of our immediate area and therefore we will consider people applying from outside our county if we feel they will be able to meet the needs of our children.

We may also redirect you to your local adoption service if that is more appropriate.

 

If I don't live in the UK?

You must have lived in the UK for at least one year before applying to adopt a British child, or one of you must be a resident of the UK. 

 

Interested in exploring adoption further? 

Come along to one of our information evenings and then have a chat with a social worker.  If you would like to speak to someone before coming to one of our information evenings, please call 01494 586 349.

If you are unable to reach us on our landline number, please call 07540 310 281 or email adoption@buckscc.gov.uk.

 

4. The children who need adopting

Some of our children looking for families

The names have been changed, but the profiles below are true stories of children in Buckinghamshire who currently need a loving family, or who have recently been placed with their new family.

 

Amber

Hi I am 4 months old, I was born in the month of May. I have big brown sparkly eyes and shiny brown hair.  I live with my foster carers who take really good care of me. I was not able to live with my mummy as she had a lot of her own problems which meant she was not able to keep me safe. My mummy told the Social Workers that she didn’t know who my daddy was so I have never met him.

I have lived with my foster carers since I left the hospital when I was 4 weeks old. They take really good care of me and this makes me feel safe and happy. I really love cuddles from my carers and playing with the other children that live with me. I also like playing on my play gym as it is fun to try and reach for the toys hanging above me. There is a little mirror which I like to look in so I can see myself!  When I am in my cot I love watching my mobile go round, listening to the sounds it makes and looking at the patterns the light makes on the ceiling.  My foster carer takes me to baby groups too, which are good fun as I get to play with lots of toys and see other children.  Bath time is also fun as I love to splash around.

I am doing really well in my foster home! I can now roll over onto my tummy, but I can’t yet roll back! I am trying hard to do this as I get a bit grizzly when I am stuck on my back!  I also get a bit grizzly when I am hungry or tired.  My carer knows when I am like this and will give me some milk or put me down for a nap.   I can also sit up if someone supports me which I like as I can see what is going on around me. When people talk to me I like to smile at them and sometimes I will laugh or make a cooing sound! This makes people smile back at me and sometimes kiss me which makes me happy.

Family Finder

We are looking for a loving stable family who can care for Amber.  She is meeting her developmental milestones but we have some uncertainties for her future given her young age, we do not know whom her birth father is and thus any health issues he may have, and her birth mother’s experience of mental health difficulties.

 

Sophia

Hi. My name is Sophia and I am a four month old little baby girl from Asia. I love to have cuddles and will respond to a friendly, smiley face. I enjoy my milk and like the opportunity for more cuddles while feeding. I spent the first three months of my life in hospital with my birth mother. She was unwell and having confusing thoughts. She needed some time and help to get better and think about her future. Because she was young and unwell she was not always able to think about what my needs were and I did not always get the consistent care and nurture that I needed. Unfortunately, my birth father was not always kind to my birth mother but she loved him and chose to live with him after leaving hospital. My social worker needed to protect me so I now live in foster care with a lovely foster carer who makes sure that I am happy and well cared for. I hope that I can find a family, who can help me to grow, feel safe and know about my culture and heritage.

Family Finder

We are looking for a loving, stable household to provide a home for little Sophia. She is doing really well but there are some uncertainties in her future due to her birth parents’ learning needs and mental health difficulties. Any family would need to be able to promote and understand Sophia’s cultural needs and her heritage.

 

Matthew

Hi. My name is Matthew and I am not yet born but my birth mother has already chosen a name for me. My birth mother says that she loves me very much and is making sure she takes me to hospital appointments and checks to make sure I am okay. Unfortunately, my birth mother has addictions to alcohol and drugs. She explained that when she felt down about her life and felt like she couldn’t cope drugs and alcohol would take her pain away for a little while. My social worker is trying to keep me safe and knows that as an unborn baby I need to be protected from drugs and alcohol as it can affect my growth and future development. If my birth mother is not able to beat her addictions the plan for me will be to find a special home that can provide me care from when I am born. I will need a family who can be my foster carers at first and then perhaps continue to care for me as my parents if my birth mother is still having problems. I will need lots of love and nurture and I may be very unhappy when I am born due to being exposed to drugs. No one knows what my future will look like and I may need special help with health and education; but with the right family we could all be very happy together.

Family Finder

We are looking for a loving, stable early permanence household to provide a home for Matthew once he is born. The family will act as foster carers initially while the court makes decisions about Matthew’s future. If the outcome is adoption then the family would become Matthew’s parent/s.  Whilst acting as a foster placement the family will need to be open to the fact that Matthew may not stay with them and also that he may have additional health and learning needs both short and long term due to the exposure of drugs and alcohol in utero.

 

Hi we are Ella and Rosie, we are sisters and are looking for a family where we can live together.

Ella

I am 4 years old and I love being outdoors, going to the park, having picnics and exploring in the woods.  I especially like walking my foster carers dogs and also love horses and cats.  I enjoy playing with my sister Rosie and we like arts and crafts, singing, dancing, dressing up and baking.  I like to go to school and have friends there.  I also go to Ballet and Swimming lessons and am getting really good at both of these.  I am told that I have an amazing smile and I am full of energy.  I love a cuddle and story when I go to bed so I would like to keep having these.  I would like a family that is also active and has lots of energy.  I also need lots of cuddles and reassurance when I am worried about something and someone that can be patient with me when I have wobbles.  I see a special person called a play therapist and she is helping me with my worries and wobbles. 

 

Rosie

I have just turned 3 years old and I love playing with my dolls, dressing up, climbing and being outdoors and walking my foster carers dogs like my sister.  I now go to nursery which I enjoy and am making friends there.   I have also started ballet and swimming lessons.   I am told that I have a wicked sense of humour and a great laugh.  I like to have lots of cuddles and love story time.  I like to do things by myself but will ask my foster carers for lots of cuddles and help when I am worried about something.  As I am 3 years old I can get frustrated if I don’t get my own way but my foster carer knows how to help me with this.   I would like a family who will look after me, be patient with me and give me lots of cuddles. 

We also have a brother who is going to a new mummy and daddy, we would like to keep seeing him at least once year.

Family Finder

Ella and Rosie are lovely girls who need adopters who will be caring, patient, have lots of energy and time.  Ella and Rosie have a lot of love to give and in the right home they will thrive.  Both girls have not had many routines and boundaries before coming into care and having parents who have misused substances  they have not had consistent parenting.  They have amazing foster carers who are working hard to give the girls all the attention, affection and routines that the need.  Ella and Rosie are currently having play therapy which is helping them to address the trauma they have experienced, further therapeutic input for the girls adopters will continue post adoption.  

 

Sam

Hi my name is Sam and I am 6 years old, I have brown hair, hazel eyes and I wear glasses.  I love to play football, cricket, golf and ride my bike.   I also like to play with my lego, remote control car and robot, play games on my tablet and I really enjoy reading.  If I have someone to play with then this is the best but I can play by myself too.  I am told I am really helpful as I enjoy helping my foster carers around the house doing DIY.  I am great at helping out in the garden but I may pull up your plants thinking they are weeds!  I also enjoy baking cakes as I absolutely love desserts.  I am also great at washing cars but watch out as I may soak you and myself in the process!  I like going to school but it has taken me a little while to settle in and make friends, I have started to have some playdates which I  really enjoy.  I have some help in the classroom as I struggle a bit with letter formation and comprehension but I am doing really well in Maths.  I do lots of clubs including football, swimming, reading eggs, lego and sewing.  I really want to learn how to play tennis too.

I struggle when people give me praise but I am slowly learning that this is a nice thing, I was also really worried about lots of things but my worries are getting less as I now trust my foster carers and teachers.  I would like a family that are active, like a joke and rough play and can give me time to learn to trust them.  If you have a dog then I would love that. 

Family Finder

Sam is a lovely boy full of energy and he has a great smile and laugh.  Sam has had a number of moves between family and foster carers which has lead him to take time to trust people around him.  He has also experienced substance misuse and mental health issues within his birth family.   Since Sam was told he was not returning to his birth family he has really settled down in his placement and at school and is feeling a lot calmer about things and will regularly ask how social workers are getting on with finding him a family.  He is also having some play therapy and this will continue with transitional and life story work into any family he moves to.  Sam needs a family who have lots of time and energy to give him.

 

Michael

Hi there! My name is Michael and I am a 9 month old little boy. My foster carer always tells me I am gorgeous and I think she’s right! My favourite things in the world are playing with my musical toys, jumping in my baby bouncer, and having cuddles & snuggling with my foster carers. I have lived with them since I came out of hospital after being born but they visited me in hospital to get to know me before I lived with them. They had to learn from the doctors how to look after me properly and feed me because I have a special tube in my nose which takes my milk directly into my tummy. My foster carers are really patient and caring and even though I am sometimes really cheeky and pull my tube out, they always make sure it goes back in and give me lots of cuddles afterwards to distract me. Now that I am a big boy, my foster carer says it’s time for me to have big boy food! But, because of my tube I find this really tricky and scary, so the nice lady who talks to us about milk and food says that maybe I will have a tube put into my tummy near my belly button so that things that come near my face don’t scare me as much. Then I can start to enjoy all the yummy food I can smell my foster carer cooking! My social worker says that she is going to find me a forever family to live with because my mummy is too poorly to look after me. I hope she can find me a family who can see me for the happy, excitable and loving boy I am rather than seeing just my tube. Even though I have a tube, I can still do all of the things other babies do. I know on paper my tube might seem scary but I think it’s scarier for me than it is for any of these brave grown-ups.

Family Finder

We are looking for an adoptive family who will accept Michael for the gorgeous, joyful and sweet natured boy that he is, despite the presence of his tube. We know that his tube feeding might feel overwhelming to adopters but anyone who meets Michael always says that in person he is just like any other baby they have met. We are looking for a family who will be accepting of his additional needs, willing to deal with a level of uncertainty for Michael’s future needs and have the time to take him to relevant hospital appointments. Adopters of all ethnicities and religions will be considered and relevant support would be provided in regards to learning all about Michael’s care needs.

 

Sophie

Hi I am Sophie and I am 1 year old. I have dark brown hair and brown eyes. I am told I have an amazing giggle and smile. I love to play and am crawling, bum shuffling and standing with help. I love to play with my toys and working out what they all do. I also love the outdoors and I get excited when I see the ducks. Bath time is also a favourite time of mine and I like to kick and splash in the water and play with my toys. I love nursery rhymes and being sung to. I also like playing with the other children in my home. I am currently trying lots of new foods and will try most things. I love my sleep and have 2 naps and sleep through the night.
I have 3 siblings who I would like to keep in contact with. 2 are with my grandmother and I would like to write to them with your help and one is with adopters and I would like to see her at least once a year.

I would like a parent(s) who can spend lots of time with me, have lots of energy to go on walks and play and who will keep me safe.

Family Finder

Sophie is a lovely girl with a beautiful smile. Sophie was removed from her birth mother due to drug misuse. Sophie was born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and spent a period of time in hospital, from here she was placed with foster carers. Sophie is settled with her foster carers and displaying good routines and bonds with them. She maintains positive relationships with her foster carers and the other children in placement.
Given Sophie’s experiences in her early life she requires adopters who are willing to give her the time, patience and understanding she needs particularly through the transitional period and early stages of placement. We would like adopters who are happy to maintain a relationship with her foster carers and siblings.

 

Interested in exploring adoption further? 

Come along to one of our information evenings and then have a chat with a social worker.  If you would like to speak to someone before coming to one of our information evenings, please call 01494 586 349.

If you are unable to reach us on our landline number, please call 07540 310 281 or email adoption@buckscc.gov.uk.

 

5. Next steps for adoption

We recommend using our quick adoption readiness tool to help you get prepared for the next steps. It helps answer many common questions and creates a personalised plan to help you get ready to take the next step. 

If you call us we will take some basic details to keep track of your enquiry but we are here to answer your questions about adopting through Buckinghamshire County Council. We believe that adopters need information first to make a decision whether adoption is right for their family. This means that you will be offered information before we start learning more about you. We suggest you begin by coming along to one of our information evenings and then have a chat with a social worker.

  1. To start, call in and ask to speak to a Social Worker on 01494 586 349 or 07540 310 281 (1pm to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday; Friday 1pm to 5pm) we will book a time with you.
  2. If adopting still feels like the right thing for you then you can send in a Registration of Interest form. This will be given to you after speaking with a social worker. (Please note: if we decline a Registration of Interest we will always write to explain why; this may not be the end of your adoption journey)
  3. Adoption assessments come in two sequential parts, stage one (two months) and, if appropriate, stage two (four months)
  4. If we accept your Registration of Interest we will invite you in to plan stage one; there’s a lot to do in those two months, so make sure it is a good time for you. More detail on stage one is in the information pack
  5. Just before the end of stage one, we will meet with you and gather some information about you. We will advise you if it is appropriate to proceed to stage two or not.

 

Downloads

Adoption information pack
Privacy notice

6. Families our children need

 

Always wanted a big family?

We need adopters who can take sibling groups (2 children or more)

 

Ok to be different?

We need adopters who can care for children with medical needs, enduring conditions and disabilities

 

Not fond of the baby stage?

We need adopters for children aged 3 to 7 years

 

Diverse family?

We need adopters who can meet the needs of children who have diverse cultural and ethnic heritage.

 

Pre-school children

Interested in adopting a child aged 0-4 years but maybe not sure about Fostering for Adoption just yet. We still need adopters for this age group.

 

Early Permanence (Fostering for Adoption)

Sometimes we need adopters who can also act as foster carers for very young children - this is called Early Permanence (Fostering for Adoption).

Generally, these placements are made when it is considered very unlikely a child will return to their birth parents but legal decisions still have to be made on the best outcome for the child.

You can find out more about this on the First4Adoption website to decide if this is an option for you.

 

Interested in exploring adoption further? 

Come along to one of our information evenings and then have a chat with a social worker.  If you would like to speak to someone before coming to one of our information evenings, please call 01494 586 349.

If you are unable to reach us on our landline number, please call 07540 310 281 or email adoption@buckscc.gov.uk.

 

7. Adopters share their experiences

We asked our adoptive parents to share their key insights on their journey with us. Here’s what four of our adoptive couples had to share with people considering adoption with Bucks.

 

How Bucks assisted us in approval, match and post placement

“We found Bucks really helpful, from first enquiry, to our social worker coming to the celebration party we held after the adoption order. I loved our social worker visits and found them therapeutic and supportive. I still miss them now! We went to extra workshops run by Bucks such as a life story workshop and therapeutic play workshops which were helpful.”

“Our adoption journey started during March 2015 at an information event at Amersham town hall where we received a broad overview of fostering, adoption and the care process in general. After a period of time we then called the adoption team and began an 18 month journey to adopt our then one year old son.”

“We were lucky to have a very immediate and strong relationship with our Social Worker, and also with another social worker who believed in us and assisted us, particularly when we were having doubts about whether we should adopt. She had faith and belief in us but she always allowed us space to let our confidence grow. She presented things very equally. When the girls arrived, we were presented with their beautiful life story books. The lady who prepared these was very sweet and worked hard to personalise them to the girls. She had a lovely manner, particularly with our eldest child, who was more at an age to appreciate these things.”

“Post adoption, our social worker arranged for us to meet the birth mother of our two children.  This was a very positive experience. It was a warm, honest, heartfelt, genuine meeting. Further support has come from another worker, who arranges the letterbox contact for Bucks”.

“Bucks Adoption team and specifically our social worker were professional, efficient and really encouraging through our approval process and also when we were matched with our little boy.”

 

The qualities and attributes needed to make a great adopter

“A lot of energy, a bag of snacks, forgiveness (my youngest just wiped bogey on the wall, my eldest once used bogeys as an effective form of what she called, ‘fairy glue,’), more energy, acceptance of the fact that felt tip pens won’t have lids on them for a number of years, imagination, stamina, inventiveness. Keep snacks to hand, for you as well as the kids!”

“You need patience and empathy and to be prepared to deal with conflicting emotions. The day the child or children move in with you is so exciting for parents but is also another loss/ move for the child or children. You need to be prepared to put your children first and we took time off work - I took eight months, husband gave up completely and is only thinking of going back this time next year when the children will have been home for five years - to help you all adjust as a family. You don't need lots of money but lots of love.”

“To have a sense of humour!  Adopting is serious it could be so easy to get ‘bogged down in it. Try to remain ‘light’ with it.  Although, it is by far the biggest thing that you are ever likely to do in your life - it is also the absolute very best and the most rewarding !!”

 

The Joys come every day!

“Little joys are cuddles first thing in the morning, seeing the children enjoy playing, hearing them say they love you, reading bedtime stories. And bigger joys - going on an aeroplane for the first time, seeing them ride their bike without support, watching their love of dinosaurs/ princesses grow. Seeing the wonder on their faces when you take them somewhere like the natural history museum or Disneyland! The biggest joy of all is when the adoption order comes through and attending the celebration hearing.”

“In our experience the joys of adopting have over and above exceeded our expectations and so the ‘joys’ are many. Our little boy has completed our family perfectly and he is totally the ‘right match’ for us.  He has an amazing sense of humour, an infectious personality and is somebody that is great fun to be around. He is an incredibly loving little boy”.

 

The Challenges also come every day

“Most are challenges you would have with a birth child, such as dealing with two itchy children with chickenpox, combing nits out of hair or staying calm whilst an exhausted child has a meltdown at bedtime! But challenges also include explaining that they didn't grow in my tummy, dealing with the extreme grief and loss they felt for their foster carer - although we meet up with them regularly and they love seeing how the children are developing. Dealing with other people can also be a challenge, such as those who ask about their 'real' parents.”

“Once approved being ‘matched’ to the right child can take time and more questions will need to be asked and answered to make sure that you understand the realities of what the future may hold in years to come.”  

“The most important fact is that adopting our two children is the best thing we have ever done.”

 

Interested in exploring adoption further? 

Come along to one of our information evenings and then have a chat with a social worker.  If you would like to speak to someone before coming to one of our information evenings, please call 01494 586 349.

If you are unable to reach us on our landline number, please call 07540 310 281 or email adoption@buckscc.gov.uk.

8. Early Permanence

Sometimes we will place young children (usually younger than two) in our care into ‘early permanence’ arrangements with specially trained carers. This will be done if the child is likely to be adopted but there is still a chance they may return to their birth parent(s), or their families. The court will make the final decision on the child’s future. We try to only use Early Permanence when it seems likely the child will not return to their birth family, but there is always a chance they will.

Benefits of early permanence

Early permanence placements help some of the most vulnerable babies and children in care, by:

  • reducing the number of times the child is moved from one home to another
  • providing the child with constant and consistent care
  • allowing time for the court to decide on the best future for the child, by assessing their birth family in detail
  • helping the child to develop a relationship with the foster parents who may eventually adopt them, as early as possible

How to become an early permanence carer

Early permanence carers need to be approved foster carers as well. If you are interested in early permanence, we can offer some fostering training alongside your adoption training. Then we will carry out one assessment to approve you as both an adopter and foster carer at the same time.
Being an early permanence carer can be a really rewarding experience, as you will provide stability and care to a child who needs it. However, you will need the right skills and strength to live with the uncertainty of whether the child may be returned to their birth family.

Support available for early permanence carers

If you decide to become an early permanence carer we will support you with advice and practical support:

  • two social workers will support you through the whole process – one for the adoption side and one for fostering. They will be with you all the way through to adoption panel, or if the child leaves your care
  • you will get a fostering handbook with guidance, information, and details of support groups and courses
  • a weekly fostering allowance will be provided to you while you are fostering the child, which will end if you adopt them. You can take adoption leave at the same time as the early permanence placement

If you would like to talk further about early permanence, contact us on 01494 586349 or adoption@buckscc.gov.uk, or book on to one of our information sessions to hear more.