Adoption or Fostering?

What is the difference?


Adoption is a legal process by which all parental rights and responsibilties are permanently transferred to the adoptive parents by the court. The child becomes part of the adoptive family, as if they had been born into it and the child usually takes the family’s surname.

To be adopted, a child must be under the age of 18 when the application is made and not be married or in a civil partnership.

Both birth parents normally have to agree to the adoption, unless they can’t be found, they are not able to give consent, for example, if someone has a mental disability or the child would be put at risk if not adopted.

Who can adopt
People can adopt if aged 21 or over and either single, married, in a civil partnership, an unmarried couple, the partner of the child’s parent.

Private – looked after
There are different rules for private adoptions and adoptions of looked-after children.


Fostering means sharing the care of someone else’s child or children with the Local Authority and/or the birth parents. Most often the child returns home or moves on to independence. Foster carers never aquire parental responsibility for the children they foster.

Working from home – Fostering career
Fostering is therefore the choice for most people who wish to have a part or full time career working from home and wanting to care for an open ended number of children throughout their time as foster carers.

Simply Fostering has members who are both Fostering and Adoption Agencies therefore if you are interested in adoption and would like us to contact the Agencies on your behalf, or for further information, please mention ‘Adoption’ in the contact/registration form.
Thank you!

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