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Adoption myth-busting... #YouCanAdopt

This week marks the launch of the 2020 national adoption recruitment campaign... #YouCanAdopt. Here we are, along with some familiar faces and other diverse families in this year's You Can Adopt film (tissues at the ready - it's emotional).

There's an enormous demand for potential adoptive parents here in the UK, however research shows eligible adopters often assume they don't qualify. This applies particularly to diverse parents; BAME, LGBTQ+, disabled, single people, people with their own children already and people from religious backgrounds who could make fantastic, resilient adoptive parents. To make matters worse, there are several unhelpful misconceptions and untruths about the adoption process that hold people back.

So, we've joined forces with other diverse adoptive families and some wonderful celebrities to bust some adoption myths and share the message... YOU CAN ADOPT!

Who can apply to adopt?

In the UK, to qualify to apply for adoption you need to be:

  • living in the UK

  • 21 or over

  • able to accommodate a child at home

  • ready for an adventure

...and that's it. If you can tick those boxes, there's every chance you could change a child's life for ever.

The misconception

Over the last century, films, TV and Hollywood celebs have given adoption an antiquated image which is far removed from reality. For many people, the word 'adoption' throws up catholic orphanages with dorms lined with metal-framed beds (The BFG, Despicable Me, Annie), ostentatious movie stars travelling to Africa and the Far East to adopt (Madonna, Angelina and Brad) and the occasional viral horror story of disrupted placements that inevitably stifle all the thousands of wonderful success stories.

Sophie's dorm from The BFG movie
Sophie's dorm from The BFG - Photo by Doane Gregory ©2016 Storyteller Distribution. All rights reserved.

Well, we're here to tell you to forget all that.

In reality, children who are waiting for adoption are looked after by amazing foster carers in private homes.

Adoptive parents are assessed and matched with their children based on the child's fundamental needs. Most adoption placements are successful because adoptive parents are well prepared and approved by a panel of esteemed professionals.

So, let's bust some myths!


Myth: Single people can’t adopt

Wrong! Single people absolutely can adopt. Not only that, resilient single people make wonderful adoptive parents.

Myth: Gay people can’t adopt

Wrong! People who identity as LGBTQ+ can adopt. In fact, many LGBTQ+ people have unique skills and resilience from overcoming challenges from their own childhood.

Myth: You can’t adopt a child from a different ethnic background

Wrong again! Social workers place children with parents who can best meet their fundamental needs. Did you know, Tom’s brother and his fiancé are a fantastic example of a mixed-heritage adoptive family!

Richard and his son, Al

Myth: The adoption process takes forever!

Wrong! In recent years, the adoption assessment process has been streamlined and can take as little as six months, from the initial enquiry to being approved as an adopter. But, don’t worry, if you feel the process is moving a little too quickly, you’re in control.

Myth: People with disabilities can’t adopt

Wrong! People with disabilities are assessed in the same way as anybody else – to ensure they’re able to meet the most important needs of an adopted child.

Myth: The adoption process is too complicated

Wrong! Although it's an epic journey (Tom and I can testify to that), the adoption process is regulated by Ofsted and broken down into four key stages, each taking just a couple of months or less. You'll be guided through the whole process by a friendly social worker.

Superdad Ben navigated the adoption process four times!

Myth: You need to have a lot of money to adopt

Wrong again. The adoption process itself is free in the UK. Adoption agencies are free to use, too. But, when you're placed with children, you (or your partner if you're in a couple) will be expected to take statutory adoption leave for at least a few months. During the adoption assessment, your social worker will discuss your finances and explain more about adoption leave.


When you adopt, you change a child's life, forever. To find out more, with no obligation or expectations, visit where you can read and watch more adoptive families' stories and locate your nearest adoption agency.


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