About Adoption

What is adoption?

Adoption is a way of providing a new permanent family for a child who is not able to be brought up within their birth family.


An Adoption Order permanently ends the legal relationship between a child and his/her birth family and the adoptive parent(s) become legally responsible for the child. Adoption creates a new life-long, caring relationship between a child and his/her new adoptive family.

Adoption on the Isle of Man

For 70 years, it was Island practice to place Manx children in need of adoptive homes with adoptive parents elsewhere in the British Isles, unless they were adopted by their Foster Carers. However, in 2014, the Department of Health and Social Care made it policy to wherever possible keep Manx children on the Island.


It is now recognised that children should have the right to maintain their Manx identity and heritage unless there are very clear reasons why a child cannot safely remain on Island.


Over the last 30 years there has been a significant change in the circumstances in which children are placed for adoption. Most children today are adopted from the care system because birth parents are unable to care for their children adequately or have posed a significant risk in the past.


Children placed for adoption today may be older, have siblings and, as a result of their early life experiences, need to know that their birth parents are safe.


Letter Box Exchange

It has been recognised that some open information exchange can benefit an adopted child, their adoptive parents and the birth family. This has a two-fold purpose – to provide adoptive parents (and thus the child) with up to date information about the birth family, and to provide birth family members with information about the child and how they are progressing. Those families who make positive use of this “letter box exchange” find that they can answer their children’s questions as they are asked, rather than the child or young person having to wait until adulthood before they can seek detailed information about their family of origin.