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Support with giving up your child

Giving a child up for adoption is a difficult decision and there can be many different reasons behind it.

Some birth parents decide that, because of their circumstances, it’s best if their child is adopted so they can receive the care that they need. 

Support with putting a child for adoption

If you are thinking of giving your child up for adoption you will need to talk to a social worker about the decision.

There may be alternatives for you to think about such as your child being cared for within your wider family or support to help you to look after your child at home.

If you do decide to go ahead with placing your child for adoption you will receive all the information you need about the process as well as support to enable you to be involved in the arrangements for your child's future.

This could involve meeting with the future potential adoptive parents and planning for any future contact between you and your child. Contact is usually via an exchange of letters with the adoptive parents but can, in some circumstances, be face-to-face contact.

If you would like to speak to someone, in confidence, about giving a child up for adoption please call 01629 532396.

This will usually lead to a visit by an adoption support social worker and a children’s team social worker to explain the next steps. This will take place at a location suitable for you.

Adoption planning process

When a child is looked after by the local authority, a plan must be made for their future. 

Adoption is one of a range of options that will be looked at - other options could include placement with other family members or a return to the birth parents.

A child can only be placed for adoption in the UK with the agreement of the child’s birth parents or a court decision and an appropriate court order.

During the process you will be visited by a CAFCASS worker. They are independent from the council and will make sure that you are happy for parental responsibility to be transferred to us.

Professional advisors meeting for birth parents

By law, any plan for a child to be placed for adoption has to be decided by the agency decision maker on the basis of professional advice. In Derbyshire we have a professional advisers' meeting that reports directly to the agency decision maker.

The professional advisers' meeting is there to make a number of recommendations, including:

  • whether a child should be placed for adoption
  • whether prospective adopters are suitable to adopt
  • whether a child who has a plan for adoption should be placed with particular approved adopters

Birth parents do not attend the professional advisers' meeting but it is important that the panel knows your views about the proposed plan for adoption and any contact arrangements after placement for adoption.

As a birth parent you will be supported by a birth family support team worker in giving your views and opinions. Your views can be passed to the professional advisers' meeting via your social worker or by writing to:

The Professional Advisers' Meeting Administrator
Derbyshire County Council County Adoption Services
County Hall

The professional advisers' meeting will make a recommendation to the adoption agency decision maker on whether a child should be adopted.

The final decision will usually be made within seven working days of the professional advisers' meeting.

Parents will be told of this decision within two working days and will receive confirmation of the decision in writing within five working days.

Court proceedings

If we believe that adoption is the right plan for your child we will ask the court to make a care order and to agree to placement for adoption. Birth parents will be involved in the court case.

If the court does not agree, then adoption cannot happen, even if the adoption agency decision maker has said that it should.


Contact with your birth child after adoption will depend on a range of circumstances and the adoption order usually states the contact arrangements for each child.

It is now common for children who have been adopted to have some kind of contact arrangement with birth families or significant people from their past.

Letterbox exchange

Letterbox exchange is the exchange of information such as letters or cards, usually once or twice a year, between the birth family and the adoptive family. This can sometimes include photographs too.

Birth families and adoptive families do not have access to each other’s address or personal details and letters are sent to Derbyshire’s letterbox exchange service to be forwarded on.

All correspondence is checked before it is passed on to make sure it’s safe and appropriate for the birth family or adoptive family to receive.

If letter contact is agreed for a child you adopt, or for your birth child who has been adopted, you will be told by your social worker about the details of the scheme and the kind of information you can pass on.

Direct contact

For some children, direct contact may be part of the contact arrangements. This could be with a brother or sister or with a member of the extended birth family such as a grandparent. 

Sometimes, in particular circumstances, a face-to-face direct contact can take place between a birth parent and child. This is only possible where it is considered to be in the best interests of the child.

Direct contact usually takes place once or twice a year. Adoptive families and birth families are never given each other’s personal information or address details and the contact is arranged by Derbyshire’s adoption support team.
Contact arrangements may need to be flexible to meet the changing needs of the child as they grow and contact agreements will be reviewed annually.

Support for people seeking an adopted child

If you gave a child up for adoption some time ago and are thinking of trying to make contact with that child see our section on finding and contacting birth relatives.