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Adoption FAQs

Answers to common questions about adopting. Also see the steps involved in becoming a permanent carer.

What rights do birth parents have afterwards?

Once an adoption order has been made, birth parents have no legal rights to the child and cannot claim him or her back.

Will the child still see their birth parents or other relatives?

The child may well benefit from continuing to see (or to have ‘letter box’ contact with) other important people in their lives. For a small number of children it will be important for them to see periodically a birth parent, brothers or sisters, grandparents or previous foster carers. This is something we will discuss fully with you before a child or children are placed with you.

Will I be told about the child’s background?

It is very important that you know as much as possible about the child’s past. By law we must give you information about the child, which includes details about his or her background, time in care, school history and any medical needs.

This knowledge will help you understand the child when they come to live with you, help the child understand the circumstances of their adoption or fostering and help you find the best way of supporting them in the future.

Do I need to become a foster carer before I adopt a child or children?

Yes, you will be dual approved as a foster carer and a prospective adopter. All children will need to be placed with adoptive families on a fostering basis until the adoption order is granted. However, you will not be expected to foster other children.

Do you have LGBT adopters?

The City of Edinburgh Council approved our first LGBT adopter way back in 2005. We now have a large group of LGBT adopters as part of our wider City of Edinburgh adopter community.

Can I be single and adopt?

We know adoption can be challenging but our single adopters also tell us how us how much joy they get from being a parent.  The City of Edinburgh has a support group specifically for single adopters and people have found it invaluable.  However you should try to build up a strong support network of your own beforehand and raising children can be expensive so think about your finances carefully.

Will I be paid?

You are expected to meet the general living costs of a child you adopt, just like any parent. However, you may be eligible for an adoption allowance, which depends on the identified needs of the child.

What support will I get afterwards? 

A child you adopt is entitled to the same range of universal services and other support, based on their need, as any child. This could be, for example, special educational and medical services, as well as advice. We have a committed staff group who are there to support you and we offer adopter and child theraplay groups as well as individual support from theraplay informed practitioners.

Adoption UK offers support and information before, during and after adoption. It is a parent-to-parent network of more than 3,500 existing and potential adoptive parents.

How do I take the next step?

Contact our team on 0800 174 833 or email Our experienced staff will be pleased to answer your questions and provide support and advice about taking the next step.

More information

Have a look at our profiles of Edinburgh children waiting for adoption. For more detailed information on adoption and permanent fostering please read our guide to becoming an adoptive parent (PDF) which takes you through the steps to becoming an adoptive parent and has an easy to read question and answer section.

You can also contact our adoption team on 0800 174 833. Our experienced social workers are ready to take your call.