Adoption and special guardianship are two options to provide secure family homes for children who have been made subject to care orders and cannot return to their parents. The legal processes for adoption are complex and designed to meet children’s welfare needs while respecting the rights of adults. However, adoption is controversial, especially when courts override birth parents’ objections. Children often require ongoing support because of their experiences in early life and potential issues of post-placement contact with birth families. Fixed boundaries between state intervention and private family life in adoption can no longer be assumed.