It’s not easy being a Dragonborn. Add being a parent to Dovahkiin’s list of responsibilities, and it’s not uncommon for the thought of a murderous rampage through Whiterun to cross their minds. However, the temporary benefits earned from having a family are well worth the stress. This guide will cover how to adopt a child in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, including all the necessary prerequisites and steps. We will also provide a list of all the children you can adopt Skyrim.
How to Adopt a Child in Skyrim
So you’ve done everything that needs to be done in Skyrim, and now it’s time to start a family. Adoption in Skyrim, you must have the Hearthfire DLC installed. The free DLC will come with any current version of the game. Hearthfire introduced adoption and homes into the game. While adoptions are self-explanatory, houses allow you to build your own home from scratch on land outside of major cities or in the middle of the wilderness.
No matter where you live Skyrim, be it your self-built home or Solitude apartment, you will need the right furniture to begin the adoption process. In your home, you will need to have one child’s bed and chest for each child you intend to adopt (you can only adopt up to two children).
Houses in big cities will need to have children’s bedrooms. If you are operating out of a homestead, you will need to build one yourself. Your best bet is to build your own home and buy a bed and chest for each child you intend to adopt. Besides, building a house is half the fun of Hearthfire.
Now that you have the right furniture, it’s time to find an heir to your estate. You can find adopted children wandering around Dawnstar, Solitude, Whiterun, and Windhelm. All you have to do is approach the child and ask about their current living situation. If the prerequisites are met, the adoption dialogue prompts. Adoption of street children is the simplest way to start your family, but it is not the only way.
You can also head to the Honorhall Orphanage in Richestre, headed by the ironically named Grelod the Kind. Grelod is anything but kind, which explains why Aventus Aretino, also known as the cursed child in Windhelm, wants her dead. Killing Grelod is the first Dark Brotherhood quest and must be completed in order to continue the adoption. After her death, Constance Michel will take over the Honorhall Orphanage, and the Dragonborn can talk to her about adoption.
There are four kids in Honorhall by default. However, the Orphanage itself has a total of 11 seats. If you kill a child’s parents while searching around Skyrim, they will end up at the Honorhall Orphanage, where you can adopt them yourself. However, if they witness you killing their parents or the guards arrest you, they will refuse to go with you for obvious reasons.
While parenting isn’t as exciting as absorbing the souls of dead dragons, it still has its perks. For starters, you can get Charity Gifts to increase your Speech by 10 in an hour (real time) by giving gifts to your adopted children. These gifts include:
- A wooden sword
- A child’s doll
- Children’s wear
- A dagger
- A dish like fruit or a sweet roll
- Children’s books
At this point in the game you probably have a lot of daggers with your name on, so give those kids something sharp to play with and get your Charity Gifts. Sleeping in the same house as your child will grant you the Father/Mother Love booster, which increases the healing potion’s effectiveness by 25%.
Your children may also give you gifts because you are such a good parent! These gifts range from clothes and jewelry to bows and magical scepters. Where your child found a Scepter of Flame is still a mystery.
Children can also appear with random animals like foxes, rabbits and fireworks and ask you to keep them as pets. While there’s no in-game benefit to having a pet, it’s better than not having a pet.
Sometimes, your child will be scared to go into the basement and assume that there is something down there. If you’re a good parent and arm your kids with daggers, they’ll fight alongside you as you fend off the pests in the basement, they’re usually just skewers. However, be careful with their pets. Killing their animal companions in skirmish (or on purpose) will make them pretty much hate you for a couple of game days.
Ultimately, children are natural explorers and need to publish their findings from time to time. Search their chests for items like food and ingredients. Hopefully we will see the whole family system improved in The Elder Scrolls: 6.
Do you have to get married to adopt in Skyrim?
You do not have to be married to adopt a child in Skyrim. All you have to meet are the prerequisites mentioned above. However, married life comes with its perks when it comes to parenthood. Your spouse will run their own store where you can buy and sell your goods. You’ll also get the Lovers Comfort buff, which boosts your experience by 15% for eight in-game hours.
Get married in Skyrim, go back to Ririly and talk to Maramal at the Mara Temple. For more information, check out our guide on how to get married in Skyrim.
As mentioned, there are a number of different ways and places to adopt in Skyrim. Here are every child you can adopt and where to find them.
Children you can find in cities
- Alesan – Dawnstar, found near the mine
- Blaise – Lonely, found just outside the city on Katla’s Farm
- Lucia – Whiterun, found near Gildergreen
- Sofia – Windhelm, in the Gray Quarter (where the Dark Elves live)
Children at Honorhall Orphanage (default)
These are the default four children at Honorhall Orphanage. Aventus Aretino was the fifth child, but he ran away to summon the Shadow Brotherhood.
- Runa Fair-Shield
- Francois Beaufort
Children whose parents were killed
The children below will appear in the Honorhall Orphanage if their parents are killed by the Dragonborn or by other NPCs. The parents of each child are quite understandable as they will share the same name, house or occupation.
- Aeta – Skaal Village
- Braith – Whiterun
- Crispy – Rorikstead
- Clinton – Dragon Bridge (town between Solitude and Markarth)
- Dorethe – Riverwood
- Eirid – The Frozen Hearth (an inn in the Winterhold)
- Erith – Left hand mine (near Markarth)
- Frodnar – Riverwood
- Ralnach – Heartwood Mill (on the waterfront at The Rift)
- Hrefna – Darkwater Crossing (mining town south of Eastmarch)
- Knud – Katla’s Farm (found during the Animal Extermination quest)
- Minette – The Winking Skeever (inn in Solitude)
- Sissel – Roriksted
- Skuli – Old Hroldan Inn (inn south of Soljund’s Sinkhole)
- Svari – Lonely