Can you adopt from Scotland? 

In this blog post, we will answer all your queries relating to the process of adopting a child from Scotland. All questions– from the definition of adoption, its procedure, and the status of adoptive parents, to the possible FAQs you might have– shall be answered through this blog post. 

Can you adopt from Scotland? 

Yes, you can adopt from Scotland. However, here will dive deep into all things adoption. Let us begin from scratch. 

What is adoption

Adoption is a formal legal process that transfers all rights and responsibilities regarding a child to adoptive parents. When a court issues an adoption order, you, the adopter, become the legal parent of the child. 

It is the process of establishing a new parentage with the adoptive parents after severing the legal parentage with the birth parents. 

There is no set formula for why people adopt – in-laws who have been involved in the child’s life for many years, couples who want to provide the child with a safe and loving home.

The process of adoption has various nuances regarding the procedural aspects of it that might be difficult to comprehend. Here are a few basic things you need to know about adoption:

  • The biological parents of the child no longer have any duties or rights to the child.
  • Except in extremely rare circumstances, court orders are permanent and cannot be revoked.
  • Children are usually given your surname.
  • Adoption is only available to children under the age of 18 who have never been married or entered into a civil partnership.

Adoption differs from foster care in that a child is placed somewhere other than with their birth parents. Care can be short-term or long-term, and it is usually not necessary to obtain a court order. It is not always intended to be a permanent location.

Marital Status

Couples who are married can apply for adoption together. This includes married couples who are in a “permanent family relationship,” as well as life partners and couples (including same-sex couples). 

An ongoing family relationship is one that resembles that of a spouse or civil partner and does not include two platonic friends or her two siblings living together. 

You don’t have to have been in a relationship for a certain amount of time to adopt as a couple. Still, adoption agencies prefer couples who can demonstrate a stable and long-lasting relationship. 

They have been together for at least two years, according to evidence. To adopt, you can be a single person or a related couple. “suitable couples” are referred to in the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007. 

Husband and wife, life partners, or life partners who live together as husband and wife or are in a permanent family relationship are all examples of this. Adoption is also a possibility if the parties are not related.


Prospective recruits must meet residency and habitual residence criteria. 

If an eligible couple applies for adoption, either one of the couples must reside in a part of the British Isles, or each member of the couple must have had a habitual residence in a part of the British Isles for at least one year. 

Your application should be dated.

If the adoption is by a related couple, both the child’s parents and one of them must have lived or been habitually resident in any part of the British Isles for at least one year prior to the date of application.

If the adoption is made by a single person who is not a member of the couple in question, that person must have lived or ordinarily resided in the British Isles for at least one year prior to the date of application.

The adoption procedure

How to Request an Adoption Evaluation

Adoption agencies are responsible for ensuring that people seeking adoption meet certain legal and other requirements. When a prospective adoptee is approved, the agency makes an effort to match them with a child in need of adoption.

Adoption agencies should make public the criteria they use to determine whether or not to accept you for adoption evaluation. Find out what their requirements are and if they accept new applications. Please give it to me.

You can make your inquiry by phone, letter, or e-mail, and you must include your:

  • age 
  • ethnic origin 
  • occupation 
  • religion (if applicable)
  •  information about any other children (if applicable) 
  • length of relationship (if adopting as a couple).

You should specify the type of child you want to adopt, such as a baby or an older child. The more children you are willing to consider, the more likely you will be accepted as a prospective adopter. 

You can also apply to adopt a specific child, such as one advertised by an adoption agency. In this case, you would normally only be considered for that child’s adoption.

Cross-country adoption provision

Adoption from another country can be legally complicated. If you want to adopt a child from another country, you must go through the same evaluation and approval process as surrogate adoption. You should get in touch with your local government or registered adoption service. Check to see if the country from which you are adopting allows international adoptions.

Visit the Intercountry Adoption Center (IAC) website for more information and advice. has useful information about international adoption, such as guides to international adoption, links to detailed information about the process in various countries, and contact information for local adoption agencies in Scotland.

Application for adoption

Adoption placement of a child – This happens when a child is placed with a prospective adoptee or adoptive family before a decision to adopt is made. 

If the applicant (person seeking adoption) or one of the applicants is the child’s parent, adoptive parent, or relative, or is adopted with the applicant by an adoption agency, the child has been with the applicant for at least 13 weeks prior to the issuance of the order. 

If neither of these applies, the applicant must have the child’s home with her at all times for the 12 months prior to ordering.

Step 1: 

Adoption placement occurs when a child is placed with a prospective adoptee or adoptive family before a decision on adoption is made. 

If the applicant (person seeking adoption) or one of the applicants is the child’s parent, adoptive parent, or relative, or if the child is adopted by an adoption agency with the applicant, the child has at least one parent. 

The child’s home had been with the applicant for 13 weeks prior to the issuance of the order when he was 19 weeks old. If neither of these applies, the applicant must have the child’s home with her at all times for the 12 months prior to ordering.

Step 2 

If an applicant wishes to apply to the court for an adoption order, he or she must first notify the local authority of their intended application. The local government or adoption agency will prepare a report outlining the child’s and applicant’s full circumstances, as well as whether the adoption decision is upheld.

step 3

Complete the adoption application and submit it along with the report from the local authority/adoption agency. 

The court must then decide whether or not to serve the application on the biological parents and children. Adoption requires the consent of children over the age of 12. 

A Rapporteur/Judge is appointed to prepare a separate report tasked with safeguarding the child’s interests.

FAQ relating to adoption

When is it too late to adopt?

The prospective adopter must be at least 21 years old, but there is no upper age limit in Scotland for adoption. 

However, when assessing and assigning a child, local governments consider the applicant’s age and the sheriff considers the age difference between the adopter and the child during the adoption process in court, declaring that this is a “normal” situation. 

Consider whether it is “within range.” “Parental child age parameter for determining whether adoption is in the best interests of the child.” We understand that a large age gap is not always a barrier when grandparents adopted their own grandchildren.

Is it necessary for biological parents to consent to the adoption?

Only if the birth parent has given written consent or if the sheriff determines that consent is not required will an adoption order be issued. 

The sheriff has satisfied your consent that the biological parent is deceased, missing, mentally incapable of giving consent, failing to fulfil parental responsibilities, or failing to exercise parental authority. is only required if you are unable to exercise. 

Courts can also rule that consent is not required if it is not in the best interests of the child.

How long does it take to adopt? 

This is determined by your adoption path. Non-agency adoptions, such as step-parent adoptions or other family-based adoptions, can be completed in a matter of months. 

The first step is to notify the local authority of your intention to adopt, after which they will conduct an evaluation. Following that, your solicitor can file a petition with the court, and a first hearing will be scheduled 6-8 weeks later. 

The adoption order is granted in many unopposed cases at that hearing. If the birth parents object, the process will take longer and there will be additional court hearings.

A home study is usually conducted for adoption by institutions where the child is placed for adoption by the local government or another adoption agency. A child can be entrusted in three months, but it may take up to a year. A trial will then be held.

You can learn more about agency adoptions in your area depending on where you live in Scotland. The local government in Edinburgh, for example, has a dedicated website with step-by-step instructions on how to adopt.

When an adoption order is served, can biological parents still see their child?

When an adoption order is issued, the biological parent’s legal relationship with the child is dissolved and replaced by a new parentage relationship between the adoptee and the child. 

Only if the sheriff believes it is in the best interests of the child may a biological parent contact a child after adoption.

What is the cost of going through the adoption process?

This is dependent on your specific situation, but in some cases, we can provide a fixed-price package, while in others, the costs can be covered by the local government. 

Costs may be related to the time it takes to complete a lawsuit in some cases, and costs such as court fees and professional fees may also need to be considered. 

We will discuss fees and any additional costs at the start of the case.