If you have Hearthfire installed, you can adopt up to two children in Skyrim. You do not have to be married to adopt. Children can only be adopted if you have a child's bedroom in your house or extra beds and containers in your self-built houses. Once you have adopted a child, they will live in your house and call you Papa or Mama. You may have various interactions with your children, such as playing games, giving gifts, and asking them to do some chores. They will also have some unique activities, such as keeping a pet, giving you a gift, asking you for an allowance, and playing games with other children in the city. Giving gifts or allowances to your children will grant you the Gift of Charity bonus. If you sleep in the same house as your children, you receive the Mother's Love or Father's Love bonus (unless you are a werewolf), which makes healing spells and potions more effective.
 Adopting a Child
 Honorhall Orphanage
When Hearthfire is installed and the quest Innocence Lost is complete, a courier will deliver a letter to you regarding adoption. If you decide to adopt from the orphanage, go there and ask Constance Michel if you can adopt a child. You must first complete the quest Innocence Lost, or Constance Michel will apologetically decline your request to adopt. However, once Innocence Lost has been completed, she'll be delighted and reply "Why, yes! Yes, of course! What a wonderful surprise!" Ask her what you need to do and she'll ask your name and what you do for a living. Depending on your progress in the game, you may have a variety of responses to choose from:
|"I'm the Dragonborn."||"What? If you aren't going to be... wait. Shor, you're serious! Well, I... all right then."|
|"I'm the Harbinger of the Companions."|
|"I'm the Archmage of the College of Winterhold."|
|"I'm an Assassin."||"What? What kind of a joke is this? Look, don't waste my time. Come back when you're ready to discuss this for real."|
|"I'm a Thief."|
|"I'm an Adventurer."||"Mmm-hmm."|
|"I'm a Mercenary."|
Constance will then ask where your child will be living. If you have an appropriate home—including a child's bedroom—a list of eligible homes will appear. Choose one, and she'll congratulate you: "Very well. That's all I need from you. Congratulations! I think you'll make an excellent parent. Go meet the children and decide who you'd like to adopt. Once you've made a decision, I'll collect their things and be sure they make it over to your house." This will complete the quest and remove it from your journal. If you linger or approach her again, she'll encourage you: "Go on, speak to the children! I'm sure they're eager to meet you."
However, if you do not have the required property and furnishing options for a child, she will tell you "...Look, let's be realistic. You're an adventurer. It's not exactly a safe or reliable profession. I need to be sure your child will have a safe, stable home to grow up in. Show me that you can support a child. Buy a house. Furnish it. Then come back and we'll talk." If you linger or approach her again, she'll repeat herself: "I'm sorry. Until you own a home with a room for your children, I can't allow you to adopt anyone."
From here, you may go speak to the orphans living in the orphanage, ask them to tell you about themselves, and offer to adopt them. You can also leave the orphanage and find any other children in some cities and towns to adopt.
 Adopting Other Children
When speaking to orphans that you encounter in towns or cities, you will have an opportunity to learn about them via dialogue and speak to them about adoption.
Adoption dialogue is generally the same for children in Riften's orphanage and homeless orphans found elsewhere; the only notable difference being that you cannot speak to the children in the orphanage about adoption if you do not have an eligible home.
- "I could adopt you, if you want."
- "Really? Do you... do you have a place I could live?"
If you do not have an eligible home:
- "I have a house, but not room for you."
- "...Oh well. Thanks anyway, I guess."
- "...Oh well. Thanks anyway, I suppose."
If you have an eligible home:
- "Yes, I've got a house in <Alias=Location>."
- "Oh, wow! Are you... are you sure? You really wouldn't mind?"
If you do not have an eligible home, you will not be able to adopt the child, and the conversation ends. If you do, you can tell them where your home is, or change your mind. If you change your mind, they'll have the same dialogue as if you did not have an eligible home. If you select a home for them to live in, they'll reply:
- Girl: "Yea! Thanks! I promise I'll be the best daughter ever! I need to get my things and say goodbye to everyone. I'll meet you at home. Thanks! Thanks so much!"
- Boy: "Really? You mean it? Wow, thanks! I promise, I won't be any trouble at all! Just... just let me get my things and say goodbye to everyone. I'll meet you at home. Thanks! Thanks again!"
If you have adopted one child and are attempting to adopt a second, you will not have the option to send the second child to any one of your eligible homes, but rather will be forced to keep all of your children together in the same home. You can choose to move your entire family later by speaking to a family member at your home.
 Adoptable Children
The following children can be adopted on the spot or from Honorhall Orphanage:
|Name||Race||Home||City or Town|
|Blaise (HF)||Breton||Katla's Farm||Solitude|
|Francois Beaufort||Imperial||Honorhall Orphanage||Riften|
|Runa Fair-Shield||Nord||Honorhall Orphanage||Riften|
The following children will become available for adoption if their parents are killed. They will be moved to Honorhall Orphanage in Riften and can be adopted from there provided the player hasn't already adopted two children. Grelod the Kind must also be dead, and the courier needs to have delivered the letter from Constance Michel about adopting in Riften. Note that some parents may be essential and unkillable until after certain related quests have been completed.
 Houses and Bedrooms
In order to adopt a child, you must own a house with child's bedroom. Talk to a steward and purchase the appropriate upgrades.
|Breezehome||Whiterun||250||Replace Alchemy Lab with a Child's Room||Storage loss|
|Honeyside||Riften||550||Replace Enchanting Lab with a Child's Room||Storage loss|
|Vlindrel Hall||Markarth||700||Replace Alchemy Lab with a Child's Room||Storage loss|
|Proudspire Manor||Solitude||3000||Purchase Children's Bedroom||Entirely new room, minimal disruption|
|Hjerim||Windhelm||1250||Purchase Children's Bedroom||Redesign the space near secret room, with minor storage loss|
All three player-built homes have the same options for a child's room. After building the Main Hall, you must add 1-2 single beds (depending on how many children you wish to adopt) and a dresser for their clothing and toys. It is not necessary to build the Bedrooms addition on the west wing of your home; however, if you do build it, you must build both the child's beds and child's chests in order to adopt even one child; your children will then move into the bedroom.
When you first meet your child at home, he or she will be impressed with your beautiful house:
- Girl: "It's... it's everything I could have hoped for. I... I know it's not much, but... I've found a few pretty things. They're in the chest in my room. If you see anything you like, please, take it! You've done so much for me. It's... the least I can do."
- Boy: "This is... this is great! It's everything I could have asked for! I... I know it's not much, but... I've found a few little things. I've put them in the chest in my room. If you see anything you want, take it. You've done so much for me... it's the least I can do."
Your child will often comment on his or her new home:
- Girl: "Braith is a big meanie. She keeps telling Lars'n me what to do. I don't wanna play with her anymore."
- Girl: "I played with Lucia in the park today. I feel sorry for her." (Only available if Lucia hasn't been adopted.)
- Girl: "That big tree in the park looks so sad... I feel sorry for it." (Only available before the quest The Blessings of Nature.)
- Girl: "I like it here. The tree in the park is so pretty!" (Only available after the quest The Blessings of Nature.)
- Boy: "Dragonsreach is so cool! All the kids there are mean, though."
- Boy: "Lars is such a milk-drinker. He can't even stand up to a girl."
- Girl: "Do you think I could be a Bard? I really like singing."
- Girl: "The Palace looks so pretty. I wish they'd let me inside..."
- Girl: "I saw a Thalmor the other day. He was really scary!"
- Boy: "When I grow up, I wanna join the Legion!" (Only available before the quest Battle for Solitude.)
- Girl: "The Argonians at the docks say they can breathe underwater. I wish I could do that..."
- Girl: "Rolff says I shouldn't go to the Grey Quarter anymore. He said it's not safe there."
- Boy: "I'm gonna join the Stormcloaks. They're the best!" (Only available before the quest Battle for Windhelm.)
- Boy: "Grimvar said a boy used to live in that abandoned house, all alone, 'til the Dark Brotherhood came 'n got him. Scary, huh?"
- Girl: "I climbed all the way up to the temple, but they said I wasn't old enough to get in. They're just mean."
- Girl: "Banning said I could come play with his dogs. I want a dog."
- Boy: "Aicantar let me see his museum. It's really nice."
- Boy: "I hate Markarth. There's nowhere to play! It's all just rocks. Rocks rocks rocks."
- Girl: "Maramal said I could visit the temple whenever I wanted."
- Girl: "There are lots of scary people here, Mama. Promise you'll keep me safe?"
- Girl: "Mister Brynjolf gave me an apple, Papa! He seems nice."
- Boy: "I wanna go swimming, but the guards keep yelling at me. The canal's not that dirty..."
- Boy: "Mister Brynjolf said he could teach me a lot of neat things when I'm older."
- Girl: "I like living here. The lake is so pretty."
- Boy: "I went fishing at the lake. I almost caught something!"
- Girl: "Look at all the snow! I want to go sledding! Or skating!"
- Boy: "It's so c-c-cold here! If I play outside for too long, I'm going to freeze solid!"
- Girl: "This place is scary. There are monsters in the swamp. I just know it."
- Boy: "Did you really build this house all by yourself? Wow!"
During the day, your children may ask you to play a game: "Hey, Ma/Pa! You want to play a game with us?" You can also suggest playing a game yourself if you like; your child will be quite happy and ask you to choose a game. You can choose to play hide-and-seek or tag. You may also change your mind and cancel the game. If you wake them up to play a game, they may doubt "Wha? But... but it's dark out. Is it... really okay?" If you choose to play with them, a miscellaneous quest will be added into your journal. If your children are living in a city, other children in the street will participate in the game too.
During games, children will speak some of the following lines:
- "Okay! You stand right there and count to 10... no peeking! Ready? ...Go!"
- "10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Prepared or not, I'm coming!"
- "This is a good hiding spot."
- "She/He'll never find me here."
- "He he he."
- "I found you! Na na na, na na na!"
- "There you are!"
- "Found you!"
- "Argh! You found me!"
- "You got me."
- "My turn!"
- "Okay. You're it!"
- "You can't catch me!"
- "You're it!"
- "Got you!"
- "You're too slow!"
- "Oh! You got me!"
- "Ha! You caught me!"
 Gifts and Allowance
You can give your children gifts and an allowance, and your children will occasionally also offer you a gift. You can give your children sweets, apples, clothing, dolls, wooden swords, certain books, and daggers. They will thank you and reward you with the blessing The Gift of Charity. Their older weapons, clothes, dolls, etc. will be kept in the child's chest, if they get a new one. Children will always prefer to play with their newest weapon regardless of its quality.
Occasionally, your children may approach you and ask you for a present. If you ask them "What would you like?", they will tell you:
- Boy: "Well, sweets are always good. Or a new outfit. Or... or maybe a wooden sword? All my friends have swords."
- Girl: "I'd... I'd really like a dolly. Or maybe a pretty new dress?"
You can continue to ask "Where would I get that?" Then they will tell you:
- Boy: "I'm sure the Khajiit would have one, their toys are the best! For clothes... there's a tailor's shop in Solitude. I'm sure they'd have lots to choose from."
- Girl: "Well... I heard there's a really nice tailor's in Solitude. And... and maybe the Khajiit sell dolls? They always have the best toys."
If you tell them "No, stop pestering me.", they will not ask for a gift for at least 15 days.
All acceptable gifts are listed below:
Your child may have a gift for you, including potions, ingredients, soul gems, gems, clothes, jewelry, and ores. Green Robes and Red Robes can only received as a gift from adopted children. If you have Dragonborn installed, you may receive ingredients from Solstheim from your children.
- "You're back! I got you a present, Mama/Papa! I hope you like it!"
- "You're back! Hey, I got you something. Hope you like it!"
In additon to gifts, your children may ask for an allowance:
- "Could you give me an allowance?"
- "Could I get a few gold to spend? Please?"
You may choose from the responses below. You will receive The Gift of Charity no matter how much money you give your child.
|"Sorry, I can't afford it right now."||"I understand. ...Sorry."|
|"Not right now."||"Aww..."|
|"Here's... 5 gold."||"All right. Thanks."|
|"Here's 10 gold."||"Thanks, pa/ma!"|
|"Sure. Here's 25 gold."||"Thanks!"|
|"How about 100 gold?"||"You're the best! Thanks!"|
|"No problem. Here's 500 gold."||"You're the best! Thanks!"|
|"Sure, whatever you want, 1000 gold?"||"Wha... seriously? No way... With this, I... I could buy everything in the market! Wow! Thanks!"|
Some creatures may follow your adopted children home, which they will ask to keep as a pet. They may also ask to adopt one of your dogs. You can have up to one wild pet and one dog at a time. Potential wild pets are listed in the table to the right.
If your children have found a new pet, they will ask your permission to keep it the next time you visit your home:
- Boy: "Pa/Ma! Look what followed me home! Could I... could I keep him? Please?"
- Girl: "Look, Papa/Mama! I have a new friend! Could I keep him? Please?"
You may choose to allow the pet to stay, or tell them "No. Now get it out of here." or "Absolutely not. No pets. Ever." The latter option will cause them not to ask for another pet for at least 15 days.
If they would like to keep your dog as a pet, they may have different dialogue:
- Boy: "A dog! Wow, I didn't know you had a dog! Could I... could I keep him? Please?"
- Girl: "A doggy! Mama, I didn't know you had a doggy! He's so cute... Could I keep him? Please?"
You can refuse, or give your permission by telling them "Sure. When I don't need him, he can stay with you." If you tell your dog follower to go home, he will return to the house where your children live.
Pets will follow their young masters at home and rarely go outside the house. If you kill your child's pet, your child will refuse to speak to you for a few days. If the pet dies in some other way, they may befriend a new creature later and bring it home as a pet.
 Miscellaneous Interactions
- "Go play outside, (Name)." — If your child is staying in the house, you may ask him or her to play outside. Your child may refuse to do so; you may insist or allow him or her to stay at home.
- "Time to go home, (Name)." — If your child is staying outside the house, you may ask him or her to go home. Your child may refuse to do so; you may insist or allow him or her to play outside.
- "Go do your chores, (Name)." — You can ask your child to do chores; they will begin to sweep the floor unwillingly.
- "It's time for bed, (Name)." — You may ask your child to go to bed in the evening. They may claim "Aww... come on. Just a few more minutes? Please?" or "But it's not even dark yet!" You may choose to insist or allow them to stay up.
- "It's time for us to move." — You can decide which house your family will live in if your have more than one house available. You may move them to a new house with this option. Their pets will move with them; however, they will leave the contents in their chest behind.
- Even if you don't have another house available, you may still tell them to do so, but they will reply with "Aww... stop teasing me!"
 Sibling Interactions
If you have adopted two children, they may be seen having a quarrel with each other:
- "Well, you smell like a Hagraven. And you look like one, too!"
- "You... you take that back! Waaaaaaah..."
- [Starts crying]
- "Milk-drinker. "
- "Oh yeah? Well, I've seen mudcrabs that're smarter than you!"
- "Grr... I'm gonna get you for that!"
- "You can't catch me!"
- [Starts chasing each other]
You may interrupt them at any point before they finish the quarrel, telling them "Enough. (Name), go to your room." or "Cut it out, both of you." If you stop your children from arguing enough times, they will stop fighting altogether.
One achievement is related to adoption:
- Adoption was originally developed as part of the Game Jam.
- If you have the Unofficial Skyrim Patch installed, Aventus Aretino will move to the orphanage after you complete Innocence Lost, but you will not be able to adopt him.
- You may not be able to adopt children after failing to have a room for them the first time.
- This bug is fixed by version 1.0.2 of the Unofficial Hearthfire Patch.
- Your spouse may not follow your children to a new house.
- Return to the previous house and ask the spouse to move again.
- Your children may not follow your spouse to a new house. They will have dialogue unique to the new location, but remain at their old home.
- You may actually receive nothing when your children have a gift for you.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.2 of the Unofficial Hearthfire Patch.
- Your personal steward and bard may decide to sleep in the beds for children, making it impossible to adopt.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.2 of the Unofficial Hearthfire Patch.
- When initiating dialogue with any girls after they are been adopted, they may say "I like it here. The tree in the park is so pretty!" even if they aren't living with you in Whiterun.
- This bug is fixed by version 1.1.2 of the Unofficial Hearthfire Patch.
- Your adopted child may not have the dialogue option to keep a dog which has followed you home as a pet.
- Returning with the dog some days later might trigger the adopt option.
- Even after accepting a canine, the whole family may constantly say "Stupid dog".
- Your adopted child may continue to say that they need to gather their things and bid farewell to the other children, even after they have arrived at your house. No other dialogue is possible.
- This can be fixed by moving your family to a new home. You need to have another suitable house prepared.
- Your child may follow you around, constantly forcing dialog with you.