Young Person`s Guide to Adoption
This is a guide for children and young people about adoption. If you would like this leaflet
in an alternative language or format, please phone 01706 924761.
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Informacje na temat adopcji przeznaczone dla dzieci i młodzieży.
Aby otrzymać tę ulotkę w innym formacie należy zadzwonić pod numer 01706 924761.
guide to adoption
What it’s all about for you
By Rochdale Borough Council
What is adoption?
The family you were born into when you were a baby is
called your ‘birth family’.
In your birth family you might have a mum, a
dad, brothers and sisters, aunties and uncles and
Some birth families cannot look after children for lots
of reasons. Some parents find it difficult to look after
children properly. Some parents have troubles of their
own which get in the way. Other parents sometimes
hurt their children and this is not okay because children
should not get hurt.
This booklet has been written to help you
understand what adoption is about and answer
some of the questions that you might have.
You may want to read this guide on your own or
ask an adult, such as your social worker or your
foster carers, to go through it with you.
You can ask them anything you don’t
understand or tell them how you feel, now or at
There are even some birth families that know they
cannot look after their children and agree that it would
be better if they did not live with them.
Some families don’t want their children to stop living
with them even though they cannot look after them
and keep them safe. When this happens, social workers
and a judge may decide that it is better for the child not
to live with them.
When the judge decides that children cannot live with
their birth families it is sometimes agreed that a child
should have a chance to belong to a new family.
This is what adoption means. Adoption is where you
will go to live with a new family who will look after you
until you grow up.
When you are adopted you will belong to your new
family and they will belong to you. The grown ups
in your family will become your parents and if there
are any children in the family, they will become your
brothers and sisters.
What happens to my birth family?
Who is a social worker?
A social worker is someone who as part of their job
helps people when they have problems.
If the judge decided you were to be adopted into a new
family, it doesn’t mean that you have to forget about
your birth family.
Sometimes they can help to make things better at
home. When they are worried about children, they may
find a foster care family for children to live in, just like
the family you are living in now or have lived with in
Sometime’s it’s okay for you to keep in touch.
Sometimes this means that you can see your birth
family. But sometimes it’s just too upsetting for children
to stay in touch with their birth families or it just
Who is a judge?
A judge works in a building called a court where lots of
important decisions are made. The judge also tries to
sort out problems and make decisions about children to
make sure that they are looked after properly and that
they are kept safe.
One of the decisions that the judge made was to decide
whether you should live with your birth family or not.
A lot of the adults in families who adopt send letters to
birth families, and the birth families can send them back
if they want.
Your social worker will decide what’s best for you but
you should also tell them how you feel.
Sometimes they might decide on something that you
might not want, but if this happens they will explain
What about my brothers and sisters?
You might have a brother or sister living with you and
the plan may be for you to stay together. Sometimes it
is not possible to keep brothers and sisters together.
If you cannot go to live in the same family, your social
worker will try and make sure you stay in touch.
If a social worker is worried about you staying in touch
with your brother or sister, they will explain to you why
they think it’s not a good idea.
You can ask questions about your birth family at any
time even if you are not in touch.
Who are the families that adopt?
There are families who would really love to have
children come and live with them and be part of their
family. These families are all very different.
Some might already have children, others don’t. In
some families there is a mum and a dad. In others there
may be just a mum or a dad. Sometimes there can be
two mums or two dads together.
No one may know what your new family might look like
just yet but social workers will work very hard to find
the right family for you.
How long will it take to find my new
Will I be adopted when I go to live with
my new family?
Sometimes it takes a short time. Sometimes it may take
a little longer. You can talk to your social worker about
what is important for you about your new family while
you are waiting.
You will not be adopted straight away. Your social
worker will visit you in your new family. Then, once you
have lived with your family for a while and everyone
feels you are settled, your new parents will go to see
the judge again to see if they can adopt you.
When your social worker thinks that they have found
the right family, they will tell you all about them. They
should also have some pictures to show you.
Your new family will then come and see you and you
will spend time getting to know one another before
you go to live with them.
How am I going to feel?
You might feel happy or you might feel worried or
confused at first. You should tell your social worker or
foster carer how you feel. Talking can sometimes help
you feel better.
It is important that you let someone know how you
Some questions that you might have
Will I still go to the same school?
It really depends on how far away your new family lives. Most children have to change
school but everyone will make sure you are okay and will help you settle.
Will I still be able to see my friends?
Again, this will depend on where you live.
If everything seems fine, the judge makes something
called an Adoption Order. This means that you will then
become part of your new family by law and that you
belong to them, and they belong to you.
You may be able to keep in touch with some of your friends and
you’ll get lots of help to make new ones.
Remember you don’t have to forget about your birth
family and they don’t have to forget about you. You
can ask questions and talk about them with your new
You can ask as many questions as you like at any time.
The next pages in this booklet are for you to write down what you
think about adoption. You can write questions or draw pictures
here if you like.
You can also use the pages to say some of the things you might like
or what is important to you.
This is what I think about adoption
These are some of my questions
These are some of the things I like
What if I don’t feel happy?
•The Children’s Rights Director
If you do not feel happy then it’s important that you
talk to someone.
This person will spend lots of time listening to what
children have to say.
There are lots of people who you can talk to at any
time, including your social worker, your foster carer,
your new parents and even your teacher.
Office of Children’s Rights Director,
125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6SE
If you don’t feel like you can talk to people you know
or if no one is listening, there are other people you can
• Your Independent Reviewing Officer
Phone on: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Things I would like in my new family
These are some of the things I don’t like
•Rochdale’s Children’s Rights Services
A service for children in Rochdale which can also help
if something is not right. Contact on:
This will help everyone affected by adoption.
Phone 0800 528 0731.
Other people who make sure adoption
is right for you.
Every three years a government agency called Ofsted
talks to everyone who knows about adoption in
One of the papers the inspector looks at is the
Statement of Purpose.
It’s quite long but it helps the inspector to make sure
that everyone is doing the best to help children who
need to live with an adoptive family, or who are already
living in an adoptive family.
The Statement of Purpose also explains the things that
Rochdale Adoption Service thinks are important for you.
•Finding the family that is best for you
•Making sure that your new family will look after you
and keep you safe
•Listening to your wishes and feelings about being
•Making sure your new family is helped to look after
you until you grow up
We understand this may be an
unsettling time for you. We are here
to help you and to make sure you are
Rochdale Adoption Service