Caritas Care

Adoption: How long will I wait to finally meet my child?

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Adoption: How long will I wait to finally meet my child?

This is a question we are asked a lot from adopters throughout their assessment period and the answer to this can vary depending on circumstances and other factors.

Before you get to this point in your journey, you will have gone through the Adoption Approval Process.  We have set out some simple steps of what that involves for you on our website, which you can see HERE 

In this blog, we will be talking you through steps 7 – 9 of the process; matching, meeting your child and moving in.

The wait time from approval to matching your family with a child can vary significantly. Ultimately, we want to ensure that the match is right for both you and the child – it is possibly the most important part of the process and one we are very keen to get right from the onset.

Here are some of the factors that can impact on the time scales:

Child’s Needs and Your Preferences: As part of the adoption process you will have discussed with your Social Worker your preferences regarding the child’s age, background, and any special needs and dependent on what these are, it can have an impact the wait time. If you are open to a wider range of children, this may reduce the time you wait.

Children currently waiting: The number of children available for adoption varies and affects wait times. There could be more children waiting for adoption in some regions compared to others or there may not be the children waiting that meet your specific needs and preferences.  We use an agency family finding tool that allows us to find and match children to families.  The advantage Caritas Care has over Local Authorities is that we are not restricted to a specific area when it comes to family finding, we have the length and breadth of England to search.  This allows us to cast the net out a wider distance to find the right child for you and your family.

Regional Variations: Some local authorities may have more children in need of placement, leading to shorter waits. We have close links with authorities across the country and so have knowledge of where the need is when we are searching for your child.

Brothers  & Sisters and Older Children: There is a great need for adopters who would consider adopting sibling groups and/or older children.  When we say older children, we are referring to children from as young as 3 years old.  In our view, these children are still very young, but tend to get overlooked for babies and toddlers. This group of children have often waited a long time for adoption. If you are open to adopting siblings or older children, it is likely that you will experience a shorter wait time.

So, back to the original question – how long will you wait?

While we can’t give you a definitive answer to the precise length of time, on average, prospective adopters might wait between a couple of months to a couple of years from approval to being matched. Some or all of the factors above can impact on this. However, if you can be open to adopting brothers and sisters, children with additional needs or older children, it is likely that your wait could be significantly shorter.

We understand that the wait can feel like an eternity with some bumps in the road, but at the end of it, you will have a lifetime with your son or daughter and you will look back and think it was all worthwhile. Our advice is to stay positive, keep up your preparations for your child coming home, keep in touch with your social work and importantly maintain a support network to help you through this period in your adoption journey.

Your child is waiting for you too!


If you have any questions about adoption, please get in touch.  We’d love to hear from you.  No obligations, no pressures, just a chat.

Get in touch by completing the contact form opposite or call us on 0800 652 6955.

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