Adoption and Fostering

There has never been a law preventing lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals from adopting children

Adoption and Fostering in England and Wales

In November 2002, the Adoption and Children Act passed into law and for the first time allowed unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to apply for joint adoption. The Adoption and Children Act came into effect on 30 December 2005

Any unmarried couple, including a same-sex couple, wishing to adopt will need to be able to demonstrate that their partnership is an ‘enduring family relationship’.

In addition to this laws have been in place since 2007 which make it unlawful for providers of goods and services – including adoption and fostering services - to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. This law continues to be enforced under the Equality Act 2010.

Adoption process in England and Wales

Applications for adoption or fostering must be made to an adoption or fostering agency. These may run by the local authority or an approved agency.

The adoption assessment is lengthy and very thorough. If you are a couple applying to adopt you will both be assessed and will need to demonstrate the stable and enduring nature of your relationship.

If the initial assessment is favourable the application is referred to the Adoption Panel. If you are approved by the Adoption Panel a child or young person may be placed with you and depending on the success of the placement an application can be made to the court for an adoption order, when further reports will be placed before the court.

People applying to become foster parents will experience a similar process which takes about 6 months.

You will find some helpful links to the right where you can get further information about fostering and adoption. Contact Stonewall on 08000 502020 if you have any questions about this page.


  • Click here for Stonewall's new parenting guide, Pregnant Pause: A guide for lesbians on how to get pregnant.
  • Click here for Stonewall's new parenting guide for gay men, A Guide for Gay Dads.


I just wanted to say thanks for the message, it has made me ever hopefull that adoption is the right thing for me to do in a few years. Take care of your self and your parents. Matt x

matt, 01 February 2010

My Dad & Papa

HeyHeyss! I just wanted to say that I highly recommend adoptiopn if you are same sex parent because I know that people do shy away from it, my dad & pops adopted me when I was younger and I'm now 15 and am so glad I was adopted! I love my parents so much & they mean the world to me! We get on really well and my brother and I have had no trouble at all with the fact our parents our gay so there are know problems, adoption is a great process that makes lives better and its something I want to be part of when I'm older. So yeah just wanted to say that its really good if peoples were looking for an opinion from someone who's been through it! :p Good Luck! Kt x

Kt, 21 January 2010

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