It is true that only employees are entitled to adoption leave. Some employers try to escape their obligations by claiming that their staff are self-employed when legally they are employees. You can even find that you are taxed as if you are employed but still denied the legal rights that an employee would enjoy.
If you are an employee, you will be entitled to take adoption leave (although to receive Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) while taking the leave, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria as to earnings and service).
Remember that either of the two adoptive parents can take adoption leave, and it is up to you to decide. If your partner is directly employed while you are self-employed or an agency worker, only your partner will be able to take the leave.
Alternatively, you may be able to share the leave between you. To take Shared Parental Leave, you must be an employee. But even if you are self-employed, provided you pass the ‘employment and earnings’ test, your partner should be able to take Shared Parental Leave if they are an employee See our Shared Parental Leave section for more information.