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I never got a letter about adopting children. When I go to the Honorhall Orphanage the girl keeps running around saying "Mercy!" because I killed Grelod the Kind. Can I still adopt children?

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Do you have the Hearthfire DLC installed? – SevenSidedDie Mar 10 '13 at 19:42

4 Answers 4

In addition to adopting from the orphanage in Riften, you can also adopt some children in other cities as well:

  • Alesan in Dawnstar
  • Blaise in Solitude
  • Lucia in Whiterun
  • Sofie in Windhelm

See the Elder Scrolls Wiki for more information.

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But will they be able to do it without the letter that is delivered when Hearthfire is installed? – ヴァイシャリ Mar 11 '13 at 1:55
@desaivv I'm not sure. I just remember when I was playing, I couldn't adopt in Riften, but I was able to adopt the girl in Whiterun. I can't remember if I got a letter or not. – Adeese Mar 11 '13 at 21:11
In my experience, only the children in the orphanage require you to make any progress in the Dark Brotherhood quest line. Orphaned children in other cities are more than happy to be given a good home at any time. So all you really need are beds & storage for your children. I'm personally fond of Sofie & Blaise, but that's just me. I'll likely have already purchased all of Sofie's flowers before I've been able to give her a home... – tjd Jul 22 at 14:41

You need to

  • have the Hearthfire DLC
  • install the kids bedroom in one of your city houses or
  • have one of the houses that you build yourself in Hearthfire

To calm down the kids in the orphanage you can use a calm spell or shout.

See more information here.

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It isn't the kid who needs to calm down, it's Constance. – Jim Nov 11 at 23:56

I believe that the Hearthfire DLC, purchasing the child's bedroom and receiving the letter of adoption are all necessary prior to the adoption dialog options appearing when in conversation with children.

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Go and wait a few days for Constance to calm down, otherwise, do the below.

Following Children to Adopt Besides the Orphanage

1.Dawnstar: Alesan

2.Whiterun: Lucia

3.Windhelm: Sophie

4.Solitude Katla's Farm: Blaise

Additional Details

  1. if you are buying a house you want to build, build the bedroom wing or use the bedroom upstairs. In the wing, you need 2 child's beds and chests. In the second floor, add 2 single beds and a drawer. If you bought a already made city house, buy a child's bedroom from the steward of a palace.

  2. You can adopt up to 2 children. The Multiple Adoption Mod allows you to adopt more than one child. If you are staying at your land where your house is, you need to have both the bedroom wing built and furnished and also the second floor bedroom furnished too.

Orphanage Problem

You said you killed grelod the Kind in order to adopt children and Constance is still hostile [I don't mean the NPC is attacking, I mean madness]. As I explained first in my answer, to wait a few days for her to calm down. You don't need the letter to adopt from the orphanage, but you do need to wait for her to calm down. if this still occurs, download the Unofficial Hearthfire Patch to fix this.

Anyways don't worry about the orphanages lady Constance, go to the 4 cities and talk to the kids. And if you're new the the DLC, here's a good video for you:

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