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What rights do adoptive parents have?


Adopting a child is a big legal decision (Picture: Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

Adoption can be one of the most life-changing decisions you can make, for you and your new child.

Your adoptive child legally becomes yours, as if they were your own biological child – and it is important you know your rights.

To mark Adoption Month, Metro.co.uk is running a series of articles breaking down the process and sharing stories from those who have gone through it.

Here, we look at the rights of adoptive parents.

Rights of adoptive parents

Adoptive parents have all the same legal rights and responsibilities as biological parents, as the child is yours in the eyes of the law.

The child usually takes the adopted parent’s surname and is automatically entitled to inheritance.

Your adoptive child legally becomes yours in the eyes of the law (Picture: Getty)

Parents have the right to raise the child in line with their own religious and philosophical beliefs.

Adoptive parents, similar to biological parents, also have certain responsibilities that they are obligated to fulfill, such as housing and feeding the child, giving them medical treatment, financially supporting them and paying for their upbringing, providing them with schooling, and giving consent for a child to leave the country, whether for a holiday or permanently.

Additionally, adoptive parents have the right to the following:

Counselling

You also have the right to receive counselling services before, during and after the adoption placement.

This is to ensure that you feel comfortable and supported in big leap to becoming a parent.

YouCanAdopt have listed some counselling and therapy services on their website.

Adoption leave

Like maternity or paternity leave, you are entitled to adoption leave when you adopt your child, no matter their age.

If you qualify for adoption leave, you can take up to 26 weeks’ ordinary adoption leave, followed immediately by up to 26 weeks’ additional adoption leave.

Additional adoption leave is available to those who want to take more time off work than just the standard 26 weeks of adoption leave. You are not obligated to take this extra leave. Normally, you will only be paid for the first 13 weeks of additional adoption leave (the same as Additional Maternity Leave), but you will have to contact your employer to check.

You can choose to start your adoption leave from the date of the child’s placement or on any date up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.

In order to be entitled to adoption leave and pay you must have a child matched and placed for adoption through an adoption agency.

You are entitled to Adoption Leave (Picture: Getty)

Statutory Adoption Pay

You may also be entitled to up to 39 weeks Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP).

SAP is payable for up to 39 weeks at the flat rate of 90% of your average earnings for the first six weeks, then the statutory rate of £151.20  (April 2020 – April 2021) for the remaining 33 weeks or 90% of your average weekly earnings where that is less than £151.20.

In order to qualify for SAP, you must have been employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the end of the Matching week, and earned at least £120 during this time.

Unfortunately, self-employed people are not entitled to adoption pay.

Benefits

You do not pay to adopt a child in the UK, and you may also be eligible for a range of financial support, including:

  • Adoption Allowance
  • Settling-in grant
  • Adoption Support Fund (ASF)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Carer’s Allowance

MORE: Can you adopt if you have a dog or other pets?

MORE: Can you choose the age of the child you adopt?

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Adoption Month

Adoption Month is a month-long series covering all aspects of adoption.

For the next four weeks, which includes National Adoption Week from October 14-19, we will be speaking to people who have been affected by adoption in some way, from those who chose to welcome someone else’s child into their family to others who were that child.

We’ll also be talking to experts in the field and answering as many questions as possible associated with adoption, as well as offering invaluable advice along the way.

If you have a story to tell or want to share any of your own advice please do get in touch at adoptionstories@metro.co.uk.

Here is a selection of the stories from Adoption Month so far:





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