Today marks the beginning of Adoption Week Scotland 2023, which is an annual event that seeks to promote understanding and support of adoption experiences. The theme of this year is "Listening to and supporting the experience of adoption in Scotland."

Adoption as a pathway to parenthood

Adoption continues to be a common pathway to parenthood for many individuals and families in Scotland. 

There are two general routes to adoption in Scotland – either by a local authority pursuing a permanence order with authority to adopt, or by a prospective adopter or prospective adopters pursuing a direct adoption.  

We address some frequently asked questions about who can adopt and a little more about the process on our FAQ page

Adoption statistics 2023

To understand contemporary adoptions, and thus supporting the experience of those involved adoption in Scotland, it is useful to consider the Care Inspectorate Fostering and Adoption 2022-2023 Report. This report aids our understanding of trends and thus improves our knowledge of the realities of adoption in Scotland.. This report confirms that since 2018, there has been an overall decrease in the number of children and young people being adopted.. There were 286 adoption orders granted in Scotland in 2018 compared to 193 adoption orders granted in 2022. Interestingly, the number of households approved to adopt infants has generally been decreasing since 2018. More infants are approved for adoption compared to 2 to 5 year-olds, which means that more children are moving towards permanence at an earlier age. The statistics also, unfortunately, indicate that children continue to experience delays in being approved for adoption, in being matched with an adoptive family and in becoming legally adopted. This suggests that more work requires to be done in Scotland to improve the time it takes for children to be placed permanently with their forever family. On a more positive note, the number of adoptions which are noted to have broken down in 2022 has decreased to 12, from 37 in 2021. This is said to be in parallel with an increase in support provided to adoptive families as services recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which period the number of households that were provided with support was low.

Adoption stories

Listening to the experiences of those who have gone through the adoption process is vitally important for professionals involved in this area of law. There are many resources which provide real stories from those who have such experience. Andrew Askew Blain, Senior Associate in our Real Estate practice area, recorded a podcast with Garry Sturrock, Senior Associate in our family law practice area about the experience of him and his husband in adopting their son. There are many other resources for listening to adoption stories available at Scottish Adoption stories and Barnados.

At Brodies LLP, we have a number of solicitors across Scotland who can provide expert legal advice on adoption. 


Garry Sturrock

Senior Associate