Adoption Foster Care
What is Foster Care Adoption?
Foster care adoption refers to the process of adopting a child that has been placed in foster care.
Foster care is a temporary arrangement until the child can be reunited with the biological parents. When reunification is not possible, children in foster care are candidates for adoption. More than 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States. About half of these children live with foster families.
Foster Care Adoption Steps
The state makes attempts to reunite children in foster care with their natural parents. Only the attempts have failed can these children be adopted. If the reunification process fails, the state will begin trying to find a family to adopt the child. The biological parents’ parental rights will be terminated. First priority is usually given to a relative, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. If there is no relative willing or able to adopt, foster parents are usually given preference.
Become a Foster Parent
Once you have decided you want to adopt through foster care, you need to become a foster parent. The United States requires foster parents to be licensed. You can research the requirements for your state by visiting the Department of Social Services website or by researching the Child Welfare Information Gateway. States generally require foster parents to be at least 18 years old. Some states require parents to be 21 years of age or older.
The agency in charge of licensing your home, we complete a home study. The home study is an intensive process. You and your family will be interviewed and asked a number of questions about your reasons for wanting to foster children, your childhood, and your ability to provide for a child.
You will need to pass a background check. The agency will have you fingerprinted and your fingerprints will be run through a database for local authorities and the FBI.
Your home will be inspected to ensure that it is safe for children. You may have to prove that you have a working smoke detector, running water, and a place for the child to sleep.
You will need to complete a training course for new foster parents.
Wait for Placement
Once you are licensed as a foster parent, a child can be placed in your care. Realize that you may not be able to adopt the first child that is placed in your home. You should think carefully about how many children you are willing to accept, the age of the child(ren), physical and mental condition of the child(ren).
Children in Foster Care
Because the process for reunification can be lengthy, children adopted from foster care tend to be older (as against newborn and infant adoptions possible by other means). Most children available for adoption are 2 years or older. The children were may suffer from varying degrees of physical and/or mental difficulties. Many times, there are sibling groups, requiring that more than one child be adopted at a time.
Finalize Foster Adoption
Once the parental rights have been terminated, you will be able to move forward with formalizing the adoption. An adoption petition is the first step in the adoption process.