If you are a resident of Ohio and are interested in growing your family through adoption, you might have asked yourself what it would be like to adopt a child through the Ohio foster care system. For most, the process is unclear, and they have many questions about whether this family-building path is right for them.
We’ve created this guide to give you the information you need, and point you to the most helpful resources for foster care adoption in Ohio. If you’re still looking for the right type of adoption for you, make sure to read the rest of our guides to your adoption options in Ohio.
About Foster Care in Ohio
Children in the Ohio foster care system find themselves there through no fault of their own. At any given moment, there are over 16,000 children being cared for outside their homes through the foster care system in Ohio, and approximately 2,600 who are eligible for adoption.
When a child is placed in a foster care, the primary goal is the reunification of a family unit. In most cases, this is the best situation for the child. But, for some, it is determined that the ideal next step is to locate a permanent home for the child with a new family through adoption.
There is an serious need for adoptive families who can offer the safety and love of an adoptive home through public adoption. A decision to adopt through foster care in Ohio is one of the most beautiful ways to build a family because it has the power to change the course of a child’s life.
Why You Might Adopt through Foster Care in Ohio
People come to adoption from all different walks of life. While your story is unique, there are some common reasons that people choose to adopt through foster care in Ohio.
Foster care adoption is ideal for the following people:
- Those who are ready to adopt an older child or a sibling groups: The average age of a child in foster care is eight years old, so couples who are considering foster care adoption in Ohio will need to be prepared to enthusiastically welcome an older child into their family. When multiple children from the same home are eligible for adoption, it is often in the children’s best interest to stay together. For some families, this might be an exciting opportunity to expand their family even more.
- Families who want to change the life of a child: Children enter Ohio foster care for varied reasons and, unfortunately, many have had traumatic experiences that contributed to their adoption eligibility. There is a great need for parents who are ready and willing to offer the kind of love, attention, and support that these children deserve. What you have to offer a child in Ohio foster care could greatly increase their opportunities in life.
- Those who are already fostering: There are many already fostering children through Ohio foster care who know firsthand the particular rewards and challenges of nurturing relationships with children who have been placed in care. For these couples, adopting through Ohio foster care might be more attractive than pursuing other forms of adoption.
- Couples looking for a cost-efficient adoption process: Not only are costs minimal with Ohio public adoption, there is also financial assistance associated when one chooses to adopt through public agencies. Depending on qualifying subsidies, an adoption could even be free.
How to Adopt a child through an Ohio Foster Care Agency
There are two distinct pathways to adopt a child from an Ohio foster care agency:
- Foster to Adopt in Ohio: Many families with the desire to adopt from an Ohio foster care agency begin their journey by becoming foster parents first. Foster parents are temporary caregivers for children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment and who need a safe and loving placement. For most foster parent, the end result is not adoption, but the reunification of the child with the biological family. However, there may be times when a reunification plan falls through, and the foster parents are asked to consider moving from fostering to adoption.
This first major step towards adoption can provide adoptive parents with experience parenting and more time to bond with a child they could eventually welcome into their family permanently.
- Adopt from Foster Care in Ohio: Adopting a child from Ohio foster care without first fostering is often referred to as “straight adoption,” and can only be pursued when the parental rights of a child have been terminated. In this case, the hopeful adoptive family looks at profiles of eligible children on Ohio’s Photolisting website and then applies to adopt through an Ohio agency.
Often, the children who are waiting for a permanent, loving home will be referred to as having “special needs.” This simply refers to circumstances that make it more difficult for a child to be placed. Examples of children classified in this way are:
- An older child
- A child of a certain race or ethnic group
- A part of a sibling group that must be adopted together
- A child who has a medical condition
- A child who has a disability
Ohio Foster Adoption Requirements
Like anything, there is a process involved in gaining approval to be an adoptive parent in Ohio.
Since the majority of children in the Ohio foster care system have experienced trauma, there are required trainings for anyone hoping to foster or adopt through foster care agencies. These trainings will prepare you for common obstacles and equip you with strategies and resources to nurture a healthy relationship between you and your child.
As in any adoption, you will also be required to complete a home study in Ohio. Home studies are used to assess the quality of life offered to a child in a particular home and consist of background checks, financial evaluations, interviews, and home visits.
Foster parents in Ohio must be at least 21 years old, and foster care adoptive parents in Ohio must be at least 18. Other requirements to adopt in Ohio may vary depending on the agency or adoption professional you work with.
To find out more, contact the following adoption specialists in these Ohio Foster Care Agencies:
- The Ohio Adoption Photolisting Website
- Northeast Ohio Adoption Services Adoption Photolisting Site
- Caring for Kids, Inc. Adoption Photolisting Site
- Kids Count Too, Inc.
- Lighthouse Youth Services, Inc.
- Oasis Therapeutic Foster Care Network, Inc.
- The Twelve of Ohio, Inc.
- LifeStart Inc.
- The Bair Foundation Child and Family Ministries
- Youth Advocate Services
If you are still unsure which type of adoption is best for you, you can contact us today to be connected with a helpful adoption professional.