Why Adopt a Foster Child?: A Guide for Hopeful Parents
If you’re a hopeful adoptive parent considering your options, you might be asking yourself, “Should I adopt a child from foster care?” You may have faced many challenges on the road to building your family, and foster care could be the solution. But, there are some important questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before deciding to adopt from foster care. In this guide, we’ll explore some common reasons to adopt a foster child, as well as signs that this path may be a good fit for you.
Should I Adopt a Foster Child?
With the growing need for foster parents across the country, many hopeful parents wonder if it’s the right choice for them and ask, “Should I adopt from foster care?” The truth is that there’s no singular answer to this question. Every hopeful parent has their own reasons for building their family through foster care adoption, and what works for one family might not work for yours. Ultimately, this will be your decision to make; only you can decide if the reasons to adopt from foster care align with your goals for adoption. However, as you ask yourself this question, it can be helpful to understand some of the common reasons families have for choosing this option.
Why Do Some Parents Adopt or Become Foster Parents?
A common question that hopeful parents hear is, “Why do you want to be a foster-adoptive parent?” There are many factors that make hopeful parents gravitate towards foster care. Here are some of the most common reasons to adopt a foster child. If any of them speak to you, that may be a good sign that you should adopt kids from foster care.
1. You Want to Change a Child’s Life
If you’re considering adopting a foster child, you know that there are many children who grow up without a safe, loving environment to come home to everyday. Many older children, especially teenagers, are unsure of their future and what their life will look like if they age out of the system. Sadly, there aren’t enough homes for every foster child. Many of them have experienced trauma or are living with special needs, something not every parent is equipped to handle. But, if you know you were always meant to help a child waiting for a loving home, foster care could be the right option for you.
2. You’re Ready to Adopt an Older Child
The average foster child is about 8 years old. Although there are opportunities to adopt an infant or a newborn, it’s not as common. Couples who are interested in adopting and parenting an older child or a teenager and feel that it’s the best fit for their family often make great foster-adoptive parents. These families know that the benefits to adopting an older child significantly outweigh any potential drawbacks.
3. You Want to Give a Child the Gift of a Family
Foster care is normally intended as a temporary solution for an unsafe situation. Most of the children in foster care have a family waiting for them once all of the reunification requirements are met, but not every child can be reunited with their biological family. Deciding to adopt from foster care is one of the best gifts that you can give any child, and could be just what they need to succeed.
4. You’re Looking for a Cost-Efficient Adoption Process
Foster care adoption is, by far, the least expensive type of adoption. In fact, foster care adoption costs are usually minimal, and many times, any expenses incurred will be reimbursed by the state.
With other types of adoptions costing tens of thousands of dollars, this makes foster care adoption a popular option for hopeful parents who do not have a large adoption budget. If you want to grow your family, but don’t have the financial means for a private adoption, this can be a reason to consider adopting from foster care.
5. You’re Already a Foster Parent
If you’ve already welcomed a foster child into your home, and that child has become legally available for adoption, you might have spent time asking yourself, “Should I adopt my foster child?” If you already have a child in your care, and you’re not ready to say goodbye, choosing adoption (if and when their birth parents’ rights are terminated) seems like the next step. Of course, this is another very personal decision to make and will take some hard work. But, with the right preparations, it can be a wonderful way to provide permanency to a child you love.
Of course, these are just some of the reasons why parents adopt from foster care. Whatever your reasons for choosing this option, it can be a rewarding experience that forever changes your life and that of a child.
How to Know if You Should Adopt from Foster Care
There are plenty of great reasons to adopt a child from foster care. But how will you know when you’re finally ready? When you’re first getting started, you might be ask, “Is foster care adoption right for me?” We’ve listed three signs that you’re ready to adopt a child from foster care.
1. You’re Not Afraid of Hard Work
Parenting is not an easy job — and neither is adoption. When you adopt a child from foster care, you’re taking on a huge emotional and financial commitment to be the best role model you can be. If you understand this, and you’re ready to handle the ups and downs that come with raising a child — especially a child who may have special needs or a history of trauma — then you might be ready for your new role as a foster-adoptive parent. There may be some difficult days ahead, but feeling excited about the journey and your new relationship is a sure sign that you’re ready to adopt from foster care.
2. You’ve Done Plenty of Research
Foster care isn’t like a private domestic or international adoption, and it’s not always easy. Every child’s case is different, so you need to be aware of the potential outcomes. The truth is that foster care adoption is not right for everyone. Start by reading as much information as you can on topics such as your state’s eligibility requirements, trauma-informed parenting, and the pros and cons of foster care to have a better idea if this type of adoption is right for you.
3. You and Your Partner are on the Same Page
When you’re adopting as a couple, there are a lot of things the two of you will need to think about together. Do both of you plan on working? Are the two of you sure about adopting from foster care instead of another type of adoption? How will you meet the needs of a foster child? If one or both of you is having second thoughts about your decision, now is the time to discuss them before bringing a child into your home. If you’re on the same page about your parenting styles and adoption goals, then that’s a sign you’re on right track toward adopting a foster child. But, if only one spouse is ready for adoption, it might be a sign that you’ll need to wait.
The Next Steps
If these reasons to adopt from foster care speak to you, and you feel ready to take the next step on this journey, it’s time to contact a foster-adoption professional near you. We know the adoption process can be overwhelming, but remember that an adoption professional is always available to help if you have any questions.