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If you are interested in adoption but unsure about whether you would be ‘allowed’ to adopt for any reason, please pick up the phone and speak to a member of our team. If you wish to speak to someone in person you can arrange for an office appointment with a team member to discuss your circumstances as we recognise that for many adopters there can be very sensitive issues around health, infertility and family history which may be better to discuss in person.
Adopters now come from a wide range of backgrounds and family types, with same sex adopters, single adopters and cohabiting couples increasingly being approved as adopters and being matched with children from East Ayrshire and other authorities.

Adoption Assessment Criteria


You must be over 21 to adopt a child in Scotland.

We have recently changed our assessment and approval policy to allow adopters aged over 45 to adopt children aged 0-2. This reflects the improving health of adopters of this age, and the fact that many people are now coming to adoption at an older age than in the past.

It remains the case that we will seek the ‘best’ match possible for all of our children and we are seeking to have as wide a group of people as possible to consider for children who require adoption. 


Prospective adopters should be in good health and have the capacity to care for any children placed with them at the time of placement. With adoption it is also important that applicants have a reasonable health prognosis at the time of approval.

Where there is a query regarding any health issue (for example obesity) or an underlying medical condition, an early medical check can be requested to provide the agency with a view of the applicant's suitability to adopt from a medical perspective.

You can adopt if you have a disability provided you are able to meet the needs of a child.

Prospective adopters who are smokers will be expected to have stopped smoking at the point of referral to preparation groups. Assessment will only start when applicants have stopped smoking and it will be expected that at the point of approval, applicants will have stopped smoking for at least six months.

Relationship status and family circumstances

Applicants who already have children bring with them parenting experience and skills that may help them care for an adopted child. We encourage parents who wish to expand their family to consider adoption.

If you are single you can apply to adopt and we have in recent years placed children with single adopters with increasing frequency.

We encourage adopters who are in same sex relationships and recognise that there can be a great many strengths in such families. We have placed children with same sex adopters from East Ayrshire and across Scotland and are very keen to encourage prospective adopters from LGBT backgrounds to apply to adopt.

Co-habiting couples can apply to adopt. You do not need to be married or in a Civil Partnership.

It does not matter how big your house is, provided you have a spare room for a child.

You do not have to be in employment or financially ‘well off’ to adopt. Financial support is available to meet the needs of adopted children if you are on a low income but otherwise suitable to adopt.

Contact Information

Fostering and Adoption
Telephone: 01563 554200 (Option 2)