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Kansas Foster Care Adoption Guide
Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child from Foster Care in KSAre you considering Kansas foster care adoption as a way to start or grow your family? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Adopting a foster child in Kansas can be an amazing, life-changing journey. But, it’s also complicated and challenging. How can you know for sure that this is the right path for your family? We created this guide to Kansas foster care adoption to answer all of your biggest questions, like:
- How can I know if foster care adoption in Kansas is right for me?
- How does the Kansas foster care adoption process work?
- Is there an adoption subsidy in Kansas that can help?
- Which professionals will I need to work with?
Understanding the Kansas Foster Care SystemFoster care is widely misunderstood. Many people think of it as an in-between space where children go before adoption. In reality, adoption is not the primary goal of the foster care system. Most children in Kansas foster care are meant to be reunified with their biological family. Reunification — the preservation of biological families after a time apart — is the primary aim of foster care. Most foster parents do not adopt the children placed in their home. Rather, they provide vitally important care and protection for a set period of time until reunification is possible. So, where does adopting a child through foster care in Kansas come into play? There are instances where a judge deems reunification with the biological family impossible. When this happens, the biological parents lose their rights, and the child now needs to find a permanent home through adoption. A hopeful parent interested in adoption through foster care in Kansas will create a plan with their social worker to be placed with a child who is eligible for adoption.
Is Adopting a Child Through Foster Care in Kansas Right for You?There are very few choices in your life that are bigger than this one. Which type of adoption is right for you? Is it adopting a child through foster care in Kansas? We wish there was an easy way to find this answer. But, there isn’t. It’s a personal decision, and only you can truly know what is best for your family. Start here: What do you imagine when you dream of your adoption? If you think of holding a newborn in your arms, then domestic infant adoption could be a better route. If, on the other hand, you think of welcoming an older child or a sibling set into your home and family, then Kansas foster care adoption might be a great option. As you continue thinking about your adoption choices, consider these questions to get a better sense of where you stand:
- Do I feel called by the needs of waiting children?
- Am I prepared to adopt an older child, a sibling set, or a child with special needs?
- Can I be patient as I wait for the system to find a placement for my family?
- Do I believe the challenges of Kansas foster care adoption will pale in comparison to the joys of parenthood?
- Am I ready for the responsibilities that come with adopting a child through foster care in Kansas?
How to Adopt a Child From Foster Care in KansasOnce you have reached a place of peace and confidence about Kansas foster care adoption, it’s time to start the process. How does that process work? It can be confusing, and a better understanding will help you feel confident and prepared. Every situation is unique, which means the exact details of how to adopt a child from foster care in Kansas will be different for you than anyone else. However, there are some big steps that are required for each process. Here’s what you can expect from the foster care adoption process in Kansas:
Step 1: Choose an AgencyAdopting a foster child in Kansas can be a complex process. You’ll need professional support in the form of a foster care agency. Your first step is to find an agency that makes you feel confident and protected.
Step 2: Complete the State ApplicationThere are certain Kansas foster care adoption requirements that a hopeful parent must meet. Things like:
- Valid and adequate source of income
- Health records
- Criminal background check
- And more
Step 3: Complete the Home StudyWhile Kansas foster care adoption requirements are simply a baseline for eligibility, the home study is a more in-depth review of your life and living situation. The goal is to ensure that you are prepared to provide a safe, loving home in which a child can grow and thrive.
Step 4: Waiting and PlacementThis step may take days, weeks or months. Once you have completed the home study, you are well on your way to adopting a child from foster care in Kansas. Now, you wait. Your agency will be hard at work locating a placement they think will be in everyone’s best interests. At some points, you’ll get a phone call. There’s a waiting child who can be placed in your home. Before placement occurs, you’ll work with your agency to review files and, potentially, get to meet the child. Then, you’ll welcome the child into your family and home.
Step 5: FinalizationThere will be a period — typically around six months — in between placement and finalization, which is when your family is legally official. During this time, a social worker will come by to conduct post-placement visits and observe how everyone is adapting to the new placement. At your finalization hearing, a judge will issue a final decree of adoption, completing your Kansas foster care adoption process.
Foster to Adopt in KansasThe above process is known as foster care adoption. But, there’s another way to adopt a child from the foster care system, which is known as foster to adopt in Kansas. We know — it’s a bit confusing. The two terms almost seem interchangeable. There is, however, a big difference in the process. Unlike foster care adoption, the foster to adopt process begins with the intention to provide care until a child is reunited with his or her biological parents. Things may change, however, when the child instead becomes eligible for adoption. Then, the foster parents may decide to adopt the child permanently.
Adoption Subsidy in KansasOne reason many Kansans are drawn to adopting from foster care is the low cost associated with the process. While other types of adoption can range from $25,000 - $50,000 or more, the cost to adopt from foster care in Kansas is much lower. Typically, you will only pay fees to your agency, attorney and other administrative fees, with an average total cost of less than $5,000. Plus, there’s a chance you will be able to receive a Kansas adoption subsidy when you adopt from foster care. This subsidy is intended to aid specifically with the added costs of raising a child who has special needs. You can learn more about the adoption subsidy in Kansas and how much you could be eligible to receive from the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
Kansas Adoption PhotolistingOne way to begin your Kansas foster care adoption journey is by researching Kansas adoption photolisting websites. These resources are used by social workers to find the right adoption placement opportunities for waiting children. There are a couple Kansas adoption photolisting sites to begin your search:
Kansas Foster Care Adoption AgenciesReady to get started? As we said, the first step is choosing an agency. There are several private and public agencies for adoption in Kansas that might be a good fit for you. We recommend taking your time to research each option, including a phone call with a specialist from several different agencies. Here are several professionals to consider as you begin your search for an agency:
- Adopt Kansas Kids
- Wichita Children’s Home
- Ember Hope
- Pathway Family Services
- Kansas Department for Children and Families