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Types of adoption

child holding her parents' hands

There are several different types of adoption that you may wish to consider. The main categories are outlined below and would be happy to talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

  • Domestic adoption

    In this case, adoptive parents work through the application process and seek to adopt a child or children who are resident in the UK.

    If the adoptive parent is approved, they will then be awarded permanent, legal responsibility for the child or children and will accept legal rights and responsibilities as if the child was born to them.

    Children of all ages, cultures, religious and ethnic backgrounds may need a family for life through adoption. Primarily children in need of a permanent family are between 2 – 10 years old and many are part of sibling groups (brothers and sisters who wish to stay together and grow up in a family unit).

    Most children who need an adoptive family are in foster care. The most common reasons for this are neglect, or abuse (physical, sexual or emotional), their parents may have addiction problems, poor physical or mental health, or simply lack the skills and knowledge required to parent their child. Each of these children deserve to be loved, to feel secure and to grow up in a family where they will be nurtured and encourage to develop in all areas of their life.

  • Step-parent adoption

    If you or your partner have a child or children from a previous relationship then you are a step-family.

    When a step-parent is already taking full responsibility for the day-to-day care of a step-child, they may wish to share legal responsibility with the child’s parent; their partner.

    Step-parent adoption is a legal order to give shared and legal responsibility to the parent and step-parent who have the day-to-day care of the child. It takes away all legal rights which the other parent has for the child.

    Please click here to view the step-child adoption booklet.

  • Intercountry adoption

    If you are considering adopting from overseas, the Regional Intercountry Adoption Assessment Service (RIAAS) will provide you with the necessary information and expertise.

    The RIAAS is responsible for preparation, assessment, and pre-placement reviews of anyone in Northern Ireland wishing to adopt from overseas.

    An inter-country adoption can be both rewarding and life changing. It also necessitates a lot of preparation and awareness of aspects such as dual country legislation, placement waiting lists, limited placement information, and the long-term impact on children who are adopted from overseas.

    For more information contact RIAAS:

    Tel: (028) 9448 8285