Pre-stage One Exploration

Pre-stage One

Finding out about the road ahead

Next Step

As you begin to decide if being an adoptive parent is right for you, you will want to find out as much information as possible about the nature of adoption and the adoption process. We imagine that’s why you are here! Thankfully there is a lot you can do at the beginning of your journey to understand the road ahead.


There is a lot of information available explaining the adoption process and talking about what it is like to be an adoptive parent. Read our explanation of the adoption process, along with first-hand accounts from people who have become parents through adoption. We have also compiled a handy guide to adopting Becoming an adopter: Step by step. If you’re looking for books on adoption, take a look at our list of recommended publications.


Reading about parenting, about being an adoptive parent and about the adoption process will help you feel prepared for the road ahead. When you have questions, call our information line advisors (many of whom have adopted themselves) on 0300 222 0022 or contact an adoption agency. Remember, everyone involved in this process will want to help you decide if being an adoptive parent is right for you.

Online Resources

Take a look at our interactive guide to help you understand if you meet the initial criteria. We have also developed some elearning modules – First Steps to give you a deeper understanding of the rewards and challenges of adoptive parenting.

There are plenty of other resources on the web too: CoramBAAF have a great selection of resources. Adoption UK, a membership organisation for adopters run by adopters, also has a range of resources for people at all stages of their adoption journey.

Contact adoption agencies

Even if you are not at all sure you are ready to apply to be an adoptive parent you should think about contacting an adoption agency or two (or even three or four). Adoption agencies hold information meetings explaining adoption in detail and they also give you opportunities to meet with adoptive parents.

I enjoyed the groups, particularly meeting other prospective adoptive parents. I really felt I understood the areas to follow up over the home study.

These meetings are a great opportunity to find out about parenting, about adoption and about the children who who need adoptive families. Go along to a few meetings. Ask questions, both of yourselves and of the agencies. Chat to social workers and to parents who have gone before you. Most prospective adopters find this very helpful in helping them make their decisions.

Shop around

At this stage you can contact as many agencies as you like. You can adopt through your local authority or voluntary adoption agency. Each can supply you with information and invite you to meetings, but many will also invite you to informal conversations with social workers to understand your desires as well as the strengths you would bring to being an adoptive parent.

We would encourage you to contact several agencies at this stage because it is very important that you feel comfortable with the agency you go forward with. The adoption process takes time and involves you and your social worker looking at all areas of your life, to make sure that you can provide the right love and support to a child in need of a home. You will find the process much easier if you have a good rapport with your adoption agency.

As you contact different agencies, be aware that each have their own needs and priorities. If you are discouraged by the first agency you contact that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt! Speak to another agency or two, or give our information line a call if you have any questions or concerns.

Once you have found an agency you are happy with, you are ready to make a formal application.