What You Need to Know About Foster Care
If you’re considering foster care adoption, you must first know what it is, how it works and what questions to ask before making a final decision.
- Foster care adoption has specific differences from private domestic adoption.
- You must be prepared to navigate the complexities of foster care adoption.
- You can get more information on the pros and cons of foster care adoption and learn about private domestic adoption by contacting a professional.
We strongly encourage you to complete this online form to connect with an adoption professional if you’re considering foster care adoption. They can provide you with helpful information on foster care adoption, what is required and explain how a private domestic adoption is always an option.
Until then, let’s talk about foster care adoption and what it means for your family.
- What is Foster Care Adoption?
Foster care adoption involves adopting a child whose biological parents have had their parental rights terminated by a court.
In some cases, when you choose foster care adoption, you are not required to have been a foster parent first. Some states, however, require that you get approved to foster a child to obtain eligibility for foster care adoption.
The term foster-to-adopt describes a situation where adoptive parents foster a child first and then permanently adopt that child.
- How Does Foster Care Adoption Work?
Ultimately, the goal of foster care is to provide a child a safe environment for some time to reunite with the biological parents eventually.
Children are placed in foster care for reasons such as:
- Physical abuse
- Parental substance abuse
- And more
A judge presents the biological parents with a reunification plan, which, if met, means they can regain parental rights and bring their child home.
If the specific guidelines for reunification are not met, parental rights are terminated, and the child becomes eligible for adoption either by the foster family or another adoptive family.
Typically, relatives are first on the list for permanent adoption. If no relatives are found or are willing to adopt the child, the foster family can pursue foster-to-adopt.
If the foster family decides not to pursue foster-to-adopt, the child remains with the state until an adoptive family is found.
- What Types of People Consider Foster Care Adoption?
Because there are so many children in the foster care system waiting for a permanent home, many couples choose to pursue this type of adoption.
- Parents who have been fostering a child pursue foster-to-adopt when reuniting with the biological parents isn’t possible.
- Families pursue foster care adoption because they are open to adopting an older child or a child with special needs.
- Families who prefer to help a child in the foster care system.
- Families who may not have the ability to afford a private domestic adoption.
Foster care adoption is an opportunity for prospective adoptive parents to grow their families and help a child in need.
As discussed, the foster care system often requires a family to adopt an older child or a child with special needs.
You can find out more about how a foster care adoption is an option for you by completing our online contact form.
- What is the Age Range of Foster Care Children?
You’ll need to ask yourself how old do you want your adopted child to be? In many cases, prospective adoptive parents hope to adopt an infant.
In the foster care system, infants are uncommon. Most foster care children fall between the ages of 2 and 8 years old.
There is also a wide range and variance of race, gender and medical complications with foster children. In many cases, biological parents cannot provide safe environments for a child with special medical needs.
So, when considering foster care adoption, you must be open to adopting children of older age and potential medical needs.
If you prefer to adopt an infant, fill out our online form to connect with a professional to discuss working with an experienced adoption agency to find a birth mother placing her unborn or infant child for adoption.
- Are There Requirements I Must Meet for Foster Care Adoption?
State adoption laws will dictate specific requirements for adoption. However, there are general requirements you must meet before applying for foster care adoption.
- Age: You may be required to meet a minimum age or be a certain number of years older than the foster child.
- Marital status: Typically, single parents can pursue foster care adoption. If married, you will need to adopt jointly.
- Sexual orientation: Your sexual orientation doesn’t prevent you from pursuing foster care adoption. Same sex couples and members of the LGBTQ community are more likely to foster and become adoptive families.
- Residency: Some states require you to have obtained a legal residence before you can adopt a child.
- And more
Once you’ve met your state’s requirements, you will participate in a home study to determine your overall readiness for adoption, including determining that your home and environment are safe and suitable for raising a child.
- Can I Put the Child’s Needs Before Mine?
This is an important question only you can answer. Now that you know foster care children can be older and potentially have medical needs, you must decide whether or not you’re ready to parent a child under those circumstances.
The needs of a child must come first. Before committing to foster care adoption or private domestic adoption, you must know you’re ready to make the necessary sacrifices to parent a child.
- Can I Care for a Child Temporarily?
Knowing the primary goal is reunification with the biological parents is vital when it comes to foster care. Ask yourself whether you’re ready to care for a child for three months, six months or a year, knowing they may eventually leave your family.
If you feel that fostering a child knowing a permanent adoption isn’t guaranteed is too difficult, complete our form to connect with a professional to get information on private domestic adoption.
- Can I Support the Biological Parents?
Because the primary goal of foster care is reunification, the biological parents will want support and communication while working to meet their reunification plan’s requirements.
Journals, photos, updates and support while they work towards getting their child back can be difficult. It’s important to ask yourself how far you’re willing to go to support the biological parents and keep them engaged in their child’s life.
- Do I Have the Support I Need?
Having a strong support system, no matter what type of adoption you pursue is of the utmost importance.
Foster care adoption can require a different level of commitment and sacrifice, and knowing your friends and family support you positively impact your experience.
It’s also important that you work with a professional that can provide you with adoption services and support to help guide you through the process.
- Is Foster Care Adoption Right for Me?
Taking inventory of where you are in life and what path you’re ready to travel to add a member to your family is the most important question you can ask.
Assessing your readiness based on your current family life, career and other personal factors can help determine whether foster care adoption is realistic.
Furthermore, deciding which type of adoption is right for you is essential before making a final decision.
What do you envision for your adoption journey?
If you dream of raising a newborn, foster care adoption isn’t right for you, as newborns are uncommon in foster care because the biological parents are given different opportunities to correct their environment.
If you’re looking for the chance to give an older child or a child with special needs a safe and loving home, even temporarily, becoming a foster family with the hopes of foster-to-adopt may be right for you.
You can always connect with an adoption professional to get more information on your options, including working with an adoption agency to match with a wonderful birth mother looking to place her unborn or infant child with a beautiful family like yours.
You have adoption options, and your dream of growing your family through adoption can become a reality when you complete our online form and connect with a professional today.