Adopt a child

Adoption can provide a permanent family for a child in care, who cannot return to their birth family. Children will have been looked after in foster care. They're likely to have had troubled early years and may have been neglected or abused. They can feel rejected, angry and lack confidence or self-esteem.

Most of the children requiring adoption are of primary school age or younger. Some will need extra support with their education. They could be single children, or groups of brothers and sisters. Some may have a disability that could affect their development or mobility.

Apply to be an adoptive parent

Please contact us using our enquiry form

What happens next?

We'll contact you within 5 days to discuss the adoption process and get a basic indication of your circumstances.

If you still wish to proceed you will be invited to attend adoption preparation groups with other prospective adopters.

We will assign a social worker to undertake an assessment within your own home. This is to determine whether you and your partner are motivated, suited and committed to becoming adoptive parents. This assessment is free of charge and will normally take a maximum of 6 months from the date of formal application.

Part of this process will involve running a series of checks to ensure the safety of any child placed into your care. Checks include a full medical with your GP plus police checks (Disclosure Scotland).

Your social worker will submit their assessment of your application to our adoption panel for consideration. Once approved, a series of meetings will be arranged to match you with an adoptive child or children. When a match has been found you will be introduced to the child and get to know them gradually over a series of phased meetings. After the child has moved in with you, an adoption order can be sought from the court which will make you their legal parents. 

Smoking policy

It is North Ayrshire's policy that - children under the age of 5, or any child that has health concerns, such as asthma, cannot be looked after in a smoking household (if you have stopped smoking, this should be for at least 6 months before your application will be considered). If you live with someone who smokes, please discuss this with us.


You will be supported throughout the process by an allocated social worker.

Adoption guide

Please see our adoption guide below for more detailed information:

Further information

Adopting a child from abroad

If you are considering adopting a child from abroad, we can offer advice and guidance - Inter country adoption (PDF, 1.1mb). The Scottish Government has issued guidance.

Counselling in search of origins

People adopted in Scotland have the legal right to access information on their birth once they reach 16 years of age. We provide a counselling service to help adoptive parents and children through this process: