Adoption by Relatives
The term "step-parent" in this chapter was revised to read "partner" in March 2014.This chapter is currently under review.
There is no restriction on the placement of a child with a relative for adoption. The term 'relative' for this purpose includes a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, and aunt whether of the whole blood or half-blood or by affinity and also where the putative father and any person who would be a relative if the child were a child of his mother and father.
An application to adopt by a relative, while appropriate in some cases, can raise a number of specific issues. It can lead to difficulties for the child and confusion of relationship within the family; e.g. if the child is adopted by his birth grandparents, his mother becomes his sister by adoption. The adoptive parents may have difficulty giving the child information about his background. Relatives do however have the right to apply to adopt if they wish to do so in spite of advice to the contrary. The court must then decide whether adoption is in the child's best interests or whether the matter would be better dealt with by the making of Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order.
Where the applicants, or one of them is a relative of the child or the child was placed in pursuance of an order of the High Court, an Adoption Order cannot be made unless the child is at least 6 weeks old and at all times during the preceding 10 weeks has had his home with the applicants or one of them.