Adoption From England – Step By Step Guide

Are you looking to adopt a child from England? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about adoption from England including how to apply, process of approval, legalization, and details such as travel cost and overall adoption costs.

Do you know that around 135,000 children are adopted every year in the U.S.? While some adoptive parents prefer to adopt children within the country, many U.S. citizens have shown interest in intercountry adoption. 

Intercountry adoption is the process through which one can adopt a child from another country by meeting legal requirements. It gives you permanent lawful means to bring the child to your own country and live with you permanently. 

This article will give you valuable information if you are a U.S. citizen looking to adopt from England. So, go ahead, and give it a thorough read. 

Adoption From England - Step By Step Guide

Who Can Adopt?

When a U.S. citizen wants to adopt a child from England, it comes under the process of intercountry adoption. The supervising authority, in this case, is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

However, the law clearly states that to adopt and bring a child to the U.S., prospective adopters must be eligible to adopt under the U.S. federal and state law and the country’s law from where you are seeking adoption, in this case, England. So, who can adopt a child from England?

Federal Laws

Under U.S. Federal law, a prospective adopter must meet the following requirements to adopt a child from overseas.

  • The adopter must be a citizen of the United States.
  • You need to be at least 25 years old if you are unmarried.
  • As a married couple, you need to adopt the child jointly. Your spouse needs to have a legal status equivalent to a U.S. citizen or be a citizen themselves. The application has to be for a joint adoption, even if you are legally separated.
  • You shouldn’t have a criminal background to be able to apply for adoption. 

State Laws

Under U.S. state law, you should be able to fulfill specific requirements put forth by your home state. The direction can be different under each state, so there is no one adoption rule under this law. You can, however, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway to learn more about the requirements. 

Adoption From England - Step By Step Guide

Laws Specific To England

Finally, to be eligible to adopt, you will also have to meet the adoption law of England or other foreign countries. Thus, the adoptive parents of the child must meet the following requirements to adopt U.K. law.

  • The age of adoptive parents must be at least 21 years at the time of adoption. The U.K. doesn’t have a statutory upper age limit. However, the state law or local council has the power to consider the age perspective about the child’s best interest. 
  • The adoptive parents who intend to adopt an English child in the U.S. should apply to a U.K. court under section 84 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. It confers the responsibility of parenting (of the concerned child) on the applicant and removes the child from the adoption list or purpose. 
  • There are no specific income requirements mentioned in the U.K. adoption law.
  • Married or single doesn’t matter when you can apply to adopt an English child. Adoptive families should adopt jointly, while an unmarried couple cannot adopt the child in the same manner. Adoption by gay/lesbian couples is permitted under U.K. law. 

You might also like to read: How To Adopt A Family Member In Haiti?

Who Can Get Adopted?

Since the U.K. follows Hague Adoption Convention, there are specific requirements to be fulfilled for a child to be adopted by U.S. citizens. 

  • Apart from the cases where the consent is/may be waived, the child’s birth family must consent to the adoption. The same should also be declared by a U.K. court displaying the child’s adaptability.
  • The child must meet the requirements/definition of Convention adoptee under the U.S. Immigration Law and  Form I-800, must be filed on their behalf while they are still under the age of 16.
  • A person can adopt a child who is under the age of 19. HOWEVER, the U.K. adoption authorities should receive the application before the child reaches 18 years of age.
  • There is a mandatory waiting period of 10 weeks before adoption for U.S. citizens. 
  • Sibling adoptions and medical needs do not have a specific legal requirement under the U.K. law, but the same can be discussed under the state laws.
  • Children must also go through a stringent immigration process to be eligible for adoption by U.S. citizens. You can learn more on the same here
Adoption From England - Step By Step Guide

How To Apply for Adoption?

Both UK and the U.S. follow the adoption process referred to in the Hague Adoption Convention. Below is a summary of how to apply for adoption in the U.K. 

You can send your application (through a voluntary adoption agency located in the area where the child resides) to the Department for Education since it is the central authority for the Hague Adoption Convention. 

Department of Education will issue a Certificate of Eligibility to adopt and send it to the relevant authorities and other documents and legal proofs. Once matched with the child, you will be visiting the country where they reside and confirm the same in writing that you have seen them and want to proceed with the legal adoption.

You will then need to go through the adoption process of both countries before you can bring the child home. 

How to choose an adoption agency? 

It would help if you chose an adoption agency in the U.S. that has been accredited to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. You should also make sure that the agency has been approved and authorized by the government of the United Kingdom to operate in the country. You can learn more about choosing an adoption agency here. 

You might also like to read: What Countries Can You Adopt From?

Process of Getting Approved

You must remember to complete the following steps to meet the legal requirements of adopting a child from the country.

  • Always choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to send the application. 
  • Check with USCIS to learn if you are eligible to adopt a child from the U.K. 
  • Apply to the U.K. authorities to learn about your suitability and eligibility to adopt from the country. You shall also apply to check if you match with the child you intend to adopt. 
  • Check with the USCIS to learn if the child would be eligible to immigrate to the U.S. as a convention adoptee.
  • Receive the U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption.
  • Obtain legal custody of the child for adoption and immigration from the U.K. authorities.
  • Obtain a U.S. Immigrant Visa for the child to bring them home.  
Adoption From England - Step By Step Guide

What if you don’t get approved to adopt?

If you don’t get approved, you can challenge the decision by writing to the authority in the case; they do not list the reason for disapproval. You can apply to the Independent Review Mechanism if your agency says you cannot adopt the child to look into the matter. 

You can also apply for adoption again, but you will have to go through the entire process again. However, it is recommended to choose another agency for the procedure. 

How Is the Adoption Legalized?

Once the applicant’s eligibility is approved by the adoption agency and Department of Education in the U.K., the parents travel to the country to spend at least ten weeks with the matched adopted child.

Once they approve to proceed with the adoption further, the court order is approved, and all the responsibilities and parental rights of the birth mothers and birth parents are relinquished. An adoption certificate is issued after the rest of the formalities are completed. Thus, adoption is legalized since the adopting parents are legally given the right and responsibility of the child.

You might also like to read: What Questions Are Asked In A Home Study For Adoption?

Do I Need To Travel to England?

Once your adoption agency matches you with a child ready to be adopted, you will have to travel to England and meet them for the next step. You will then have to give it in writing that you visited the child and want to proceed with the adoption. 

How Much Does It Cost To Adopt From England?

Intercountry adoption from England can approximately cost a U.S. citizen somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000. It involves the agency fee, home study, and other additional expenses. 

Adoption From England - Step By Step Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to adopt in the U.K.?

The intercountry adoption process in the U.K. is lengthy and involves police checks, home study, references, approvals, immigration process, and several other formalities. Thus, a few can consider a complex approach to adopting a child from the U.K.

Can a foreigner adopt a U.K. child?

A foreigner can adopt a U.K. child if they fulfill the requirements mentioned in their federal and state laws and the U.K.’s adoption laws. 

Can you choose the race of your adopted child?

You can specify the child’s race you wish to adopt, and your agency will try to match the same. A reputable adoption agency in the U.S. can certainly help you with it. 

Final Words

It might seem like a challenging process to adopt a U.K. child and bring them to the U.S., but it is, by all means, worth it. 

There is nothing more beautiful than adopting a child and giving them a life they truly deserve to live. So, if you consider adopting a child from England, you must go ahead with it, no matter the time it takes to process your application and adoption. 

Thank you for reading, we hope we covered everything in detail. If you have further doubts, do reach out to us in the comments.