Here’s How Foster Care Adoption Works and How to Get Started
by Matthew Gilligan
There are different avenues people can consider if they want to become parents. In addition to the traditional adoption route, there is also foster care adoption.
There are more than 100,000 children and teenagers in the foster care system in the United States and it’s definitely worth looking into if you’re thinking about becoming a parent.
Adopting children from foster care is similar to regular adoption, but there are some differences. Chances are pretty good that will not be adopting a baby from foster care. The median age for kids who get adopted through foster care is 8-years-old and most foster care adoptions can be anywhere from 8 to 21-years-old.
Another very important thing to keep in mind is that it costs little or no money to adopt children from foster care.
Here are the steps involved in foster care adoption.
1. Do the initial legwork.
The absolute first steps required are up to you.
Do your research, check the laws about foster care adoption in your state, and get in touch with a local social worker who can answer all your questions about the process.
2. A lengthy process.
It takes a while to get started in this process and people should expect to spend between 9 and 18 months dealing with the initial inquiry, orientation, and preparation classes.
3. Study up
There are home study requirements that parents must complete in order to be considered for a foster care program and ultimately the foster care adoption process.
4. Back to school
You would need to take specialized classes that detail how to understand what these kids have been through and how you can help and support them.
It’s important to realize that most kids in foster care have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives.
5. Foster before making the big decision.
Many states encourage people to be foster parents before they make the decision to adopt. This way, both parents and children can take the time to see if the situation will be a good fit.
A very difficult reality of the foster parent experience is that courts can and do sometimes decide to return children to their birth parents and foster moms and dads need to be prepared for that to happen.
Obviously, fostering children and adopting them is a huge decision, so you would want to go into this life-changing situation with all the facts and everything else you need to be prepared.
If you do choose to go this route, we commend you because you will be making a huge impact on a young person’s life and changing it for the better.