Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Adopted children.

Adoption is a feature in The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire that allows the Dragonborn to adopt certain children.


In order to adopt a child, either a house with a children's bedroom, or a homestead furnished with a bed and a chest is required.

In a homestead, a child's bed can be fitted in the Bedrooms or a single bed fitted in the Main Hall. When in the Main Hall the dresser in between the two single beds counts as a chest for both possible children. Otherwise, if there are two child beds, there must be two child chests. If there are two beds but one chest, adoption will still not be allowed. Additionally, even if there are more than two beds and two chests available (as with multiple homes), a maximum of two children can be adopted by the Dragonborn.

Adoptable children

"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!"
―Adopted boy[src]

Children may be adopted either from cities, where they can be found roaming the streets, or from Honorhall Orphanage in Riften.



Lucia, an adoptable child in Whiterun

Adopting a child from a city simply requires asking them about their circumstances. After this, they can be asked if they would like to be adopted. If the prerequisites are met, they will display their gratitude and arrange to meet the Dragonborn back home.

Children who can be found in cities are:

Honorhall Orphanage

Adopting a child from Honorhall Orphanage is only possible if the quest "Innocence Lost" has been completed and the headmistress, Grelod the Kind, is dead. Constance Michel takes over and sends out a letter urging people to consider adoption.

If choosing to adopt from Honorhall, she will be pleased but is required to first ask a few questions, one of which is what the Dragonborn's occupation is. The following answers are possible:

Replying as Dragonborn, Harbinger or Arch-Mage will result in disbelief and eventually amazement from Constance. Thief and Assassin results in her complaining about wasting her time and Adventurer and Mercenary are met with indifference.

She then asks where the child will be living. If a suitable home is owned, including a child's bed and chest, then it will appear as a possible reply. Choose a home and she'll congratulate the Dragonborn on becoming a parent. She then asks that the Dragonborn can go meet the children and decide who to adopt.

The children who are available by default are:

If the prerequisites are not met, she will refuse adoption, mentioning that the life of an adventurer is not exactly a safe or reliable profession. She needs to be sure the child will have a safe and stable home to grow up in. She finishes by urging the Dragonborn to buy a house and furnish it, and then come back.


Other children from across Skyrim are sent to Honorhall Orphanage if their parents die. Once they are at Honorhall, they can be adopted. Alternatively, one may be able to adopt them on the spot before they're sent to the orphanage. These children include:

Name Location Required NPC deaths
Aeta (♀) DR Skaal Village Oslaf, Finna
Braith (♀) Whiterun Amren, Saffir
Britte (♀) Rorikstead Lemkil
Clinton Lylvieve (♂) Dragon Bridge Azzada Lylvieve, Michel Lylvieve, Julienne Lylvieve
Dorthe (♀) Riverwood Alvor, Sigrid
Eirid (♀) The Frozen Hearth Haran, Dagur
Erith (♀) Left Hand Mine Daighre
Frodnar (♂) Riverwood Hod, Gerdur
Gralnach (♂) Heartwood Mill Grosta
Hrefna (♀) Darkwater Crossing Tormir, Sondas Drenim
Knud (♂) Katla's Farm Katla, Snilling
Minette Vinius (♀) The Winking Skeever Sorex Vinius, Corpulus Vinius
Sissel (♀) Rorikstead Lemkil
Skuli (♂) Old Hroldan Inn Eydis, Leontius Salvius
Svari (♀) Solitude Greta, Addvar

If the child's parents are killed by the Dragonborn and the crime is noted by the guards or observed by the child, adoption may not be possible. Children may be "aware" that their parents were killed by the Dragonborn even if the crime was committed while hidden, rendering adoption impossible.

It is possible, however, to guarantee adoption after killing a child's parents. Immediately after committing the crime, by bribing the guards and Calming the child for a certain period, it is possible for children to reach the "acceptance" phase, when it becomes possible to open dialogue with them again. They say things such as "(sigh)," and "What...what am I gonna do?" and at this point, it becomes possible to adopt them.

It seems there is limited space in the orphanage, it can hold eleven children altogether, including the four that have always lived there. If the orphaned child doesn't show up at Honorhall within a few days, they likely are still in the place they originally lived.

Aventus Aretino, Grimvar Cruel-Sea, Lars Battle-Born, Assur, Bottar, Haming, Joric, Sond, Virkmund, Nelkir, Frothar, Dagny, Agni, Adara, Fjotra, Kayd, Mila Valentia, Babette, Helgi, and Little Pelagius cannot be adopted.


Once a child has been adopted, they will tell the Dragonborn that they will go to their new home. Once there, there are a few possible interactions that can be made with them. These include:


Occasionally, an adopted child may give their parent a gift. These include:


  • If a child has a chest near their bed, they will store ingredients, food and other items that the Dragonborn can take.
  • Sometimes, an adopted child may show up with a small animal such as a fox or a skeever, asking if they can keep it as a pet.
  • If the Dragonborn brings a dog follower (such as Meeko or a stray dog) when visiting an adopted child, the child may ask to adopt the dog. However, it is not possible to adopt Barbas, a death hound, or a non-canine animal follower such as an armored troll.
  • An adopted child with a dagger or wooden sword will use their weapon on a practice dummy, if one is available.
  • If two children are adopted, they will sometimes play with each other or argue, in which case they can be scolded.
  • An adopted child may say that they are afraid to go down into the cellar as something is down there.
  • An adopted child may ask for an allowance. The options presented are to give a varying amount, from 5 Gold up to 1,000 Gold. The child's response differs depending on the amount given.
  • Adopted children have unique comments for each of the Hearthfire homes and the houses in the different cities. They will comment on local children they have played with, or places in the city they have visited. They will also comment on whether or not they like the house or city they are living in. The only house all children openly love and have no complaints about is Lakeview Manor.
  • If The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn is installed and the Dragonborn has a Riekling as a follower, adopted children will comment on it, saying they seem really tough or really scary.


An adopted child can be moved to a different home. The dialog option "It’s time for us to move" is used which opens a list of eligible homes. The child will respond with "Okay, I'll meet you there," when the new location is selected (if the move is cancelled, the child will respond with "Aw, stop teasing me."). The child will be at the new home when it is next visited. Any pet the child has will also follow.


  • An armed child may follow the Dragonborn down to the cellar whenever the house has skeever infestations and help kill the creatures. If the child has a pet, such as a fox, the pet may also follow, but it may get killed.
  • If Aeta is adopted, it will not be possible to move her back to Solstheim, as no child beds are present at Severin Manor.
  • When the Dragonborn sleeps in the same house as their child, either the Father's Love or Mother's Love bonus is received, depending on the gender of the Dragonborn. This bonus yields a 25% additional effect when using healing potions.
  • If the Dragonborn is married, they will get both the Father's/Mother's Love bonus and the Lover's Comfort bonus.
  • Having children live at Honeyside in Riften allows a mass game of tag to be played with all of the children at Honorhall Orphanage. The game begins near Honorhall, where one of the Dragonborn's children should be tagged, after which the Dragonborn runs into the orphanage. If all of the children inside don't join in, this can be corrected by waiting until the game is over and then beginning another game inside the orphanage.
  • With the addition of The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, children may gift alchemical ingredients from Solstheim such as scathecraw, which is quite a feat since no merchant in Skyrim sells them.
  • If the Dragonborn is not given the option to adopt a child when speaking to them, the following can be done on PC using the console to fix this. After selecting the child in the console to see their ID, typing "setrelationshiprank [Child ID] 4," followed by "setrelationshiprank player 4," "addfac 3004290 1" will cause the option to adopt them to appear when speaking to them.
  • Children are considered their own race in the console, with names such as "NordChild."
  • If the received gift from a child is supposed to be some gold there is a 10% chance to receive nothing.


This section contains bugs related to Adoption. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  360   When requesting permission to adopt children from Constance Michel at the orphanage, it may be possible to send children to live at an owned house without a children's bed and cupboard.
  •  360   It may not be possible to move children to an eligible house.
  •  360   PS3   When a child is given new clothes, they may un-equip all clothing items in their inventory, leaving boys wearing only shorts and girls wearing their two-piece under garment.
    •  360   A less drastic version of this bug involves the child removing all of their current clothes, but still equipping the clothes they are given. This means that children will wear their new clothes, but will also take off their shoes when doing so. As children cannot be given footwear, this leaves them permanently barefoot.
  •  360   The Gift of Charity is sometimes not granted when a child is given a gift.
  •  PS3   If the Dragonborn closes out the dialog of their child before they are finished, the child will follow them and keep bringing up dialog every time the Dragonborn goes home to the child.
  • Upon entering the house, an adopted child may ask to keep the Dragonborn's dog, even if they have none. Allowing the child to keep it may prevent giving a real dog to it.
  •  PC   If "The Blessings of Nature" quest is completed, any adopted girl may say "I like it here. The tree in the park is so pretty!" even in other home locations than Whiterun.
  •  PC   It may not possible to adopt Mila after her mother is killed.


Main article: Achievements (Hearthfire)
Proud Parent
Adopt a child
Points 10 Gamer points
Bronze trophy