Step 1: Enquiry and information pack

Call 0161 770 6605 for an information pack or complete the Ask about becoming an adopter online form.

If having read the pack you would like a visit, fill out the 'Request a Visit' form in the pack.

Step 2: Home visit

Once we receive your form we aim to come and see you within 10 working days. The visit is your chance to find out about adoption and ask as many questions as you like.

Step 3: Registration of interest

After we have been out to see you, and if you still want to continue, fill out the Registration of Interest form that we'll give you when we visit.

Once we have received and accepted your Registration of Interest form, you have formally registered your interest to adopt with Oldham Adoption Service.

Step 4: Stage one – the pre-assessment stage

Step 4: Stage one is about finding out if adoption is right for you and whether or not you want to proceed to the assessment stage.

Prospective Adopter Stage One Agreement

All prospective adopters are given a written agreement that sets out everyone’s role and responsibilities during Step 4: Stage one.

Checks and references

All prospective adopters have to undergo police checks and have a full medical examination with their GP.

We will also ask you to provide details of three referees, two of who whom should not be related to you.

Where appropriate, we may also need to seek references from significant ex-partners or grown up children.

Preparation groups

You will be invited to attend training, along with other prospective adopters. This will help you find out about adoption in a lot more detail and will give you the opportunity to meet adoptive parents, and find out about adoption first hand.

Pre-assessment decision

Once you have completed your training we will make a decision on your suitability to adopt. Don’t worry; it is very rare that we turn anyone down at this stage.

We will write to you with our decision and if suitable, you will need to inform us of your wish to proceed to the assessment stage within six months.

We aim to complete stage one within two months of accepting your registration of interest

Step 5: Stage two – the assessment stage

Step 5: Stage two is about intensive training and assessment.

Assessment plan

The plan will give you information about the assessment process, dates for meeting/visits, agreed training and any further information required.

Home study and the Prospective Adopters Report

All adopters have to undergo an assessment (home study).

An adoption social worker will make several visits to your home and ask you questions about your family background, your childhood and present circumstances.

If you are a couple we will need to see you together and individually.

The assessment is about getting to know you, finding out about your strengths and your capacity to parent.

This will be done via the home visits, e-learning and training opportunities.

The information gathered will be used to write a report called the Prospective Adopters Report. Once the report is complete, you will have chance to comment on it. The report is then sent to Oldham Adoption Panel.

Oldham Adoption Panel

The panel is made up of adoption specialists, including social workers, adopters and other professionals. They will consider your report and make a recommendation on your suitability to adopt.

You will be invited to the panel, along with your social worker, and you will be able to contribute to the discussion.

Agency Decision

Based on the panel’s recommendation, the agency decision maker will then decide whether or not to approve you as an adoptive parent.

We aim to complete stage two within four months of receiving your notification to proceed to the assessment stage.

Step 6: Post approval

Now the exciting part…

Matching you to a child

The information in your report and recommendations made by the panel will then be used to help match you with a child. How quickly you are matched depends on factors such as the profile of children you are approved for.

We work closely with other agencies within the North West and nationally via the Adoption Register to try and find you a child.

Before the matching process starts, we will give you a Prospective Adopter Matching Plan. The plan will include information about the process and everyone’s roles and responsibilities.


Once a child has been identified as suitable, you will be provided with information about them and their background. You will then be able to decide whether you wish to adopt them.

If you would like to adopt the child, the match will be formally agreed at the child’s adoption panel.

We will then arrange a gradual period of introduction to help you and the child get used to each other and the changes that this may bring to your day-to-day life. Your social worker will be there to support you and help you deal with any issues.

Once the introduction period is complete the child will come and live with you and be part of your family.

The Adoption Order

This is the last step in the process. When your adoptive child has settled down in your family you will be able to apply to the court for an Adoption Order to be made.

An Adoption Order ends all legal ties the child has with their birth family. The child takes your surname and becomes a full member of your family. You cannot apply for an Adoption Order until the child has lived with you for at least ten weeks.

Post adoption support

There is a lot of help available for everyone involved in adoption.

Adoption is a life long commitment, which can throw up different issues at different times. We will be here to help and support you when you need it, along with a range of other services.