What does it take to be an adoptive parent?

Adoptive parents need the same qualities as any other parent. Adoption offers children the love, stability and security of family life they may not have experienced before. Have confidence that you have what it takes!

You will need to give your adopted child(ren) lots of individual time, understanding and support. Children who experience unmet physical and emotional needs early in life can have their development adversely affected, perhaps requiring different parenting techniques to a birth child. That may sound daunting but we will provide plenty of support.

On a practical level, you will need to be able to support a child financially, though you don't have to be a millionaire or even be a homeowner. You can apply for tax credits and benefits to supplement your income when you adopt, and other financial help may also be available in the form of one-off or regular payments.

When you first adopt one partner will be expected to take time off work for between six and twelve months to help the child settle in.

Your child will also need your ongoing support to help them understand about their birth family and why they were adopted. You will need to be able to help discuss their history with them in a respectful way and highlight the positives in their past.

Where it is in their best interests there may be ongoing contact with the child's birth family. This can involve anything from occasional meetings with birth family members or 'letterbox' contact once or twice a year. As an adoptive parent, you will need to support your child with whatever arrangements are agreed for contact with their birth family.

"I think that's one of the things that people might find challenging because they feel they want to burn the records and start from scratch. But you need all that to fill the gap for the child, you can't have them growing up not knowing about their own story."

Adoption is a lifelong commitment requiring skill, empathy, energy, patience - and a sense of humour! But there can be no greater reward than transforming a child's life forever and building a happy, fulfilled family.