There are many reasons few people adopt from the foster care system. It is a world filled with myth and confusion. So many people believe it is impossible. Others simply believe it is far too difficult for them to handle.
There are over 125,000 children waiting to be adopted through the foster care system here in the United States. Each year more than 25,000 of those children age out of the system, becoming adults and never having a family of their own.
In reality adoption through foster care is not a scary or as difficult as you might think. Let’s take a moment to consider why 5 of the common myths about Adopting from Foster Care are simply not true.
- It is too expensive to adopt from foster care. In reality, adoption from foster care is not expensive. Typically costs average $0 to $1,800; and financial support is available to families who adopt from foster care. There are subsidies that follow most of the children from foster care until they are 18 years old. Additionally, many employers provide adoption benefits. Federal and state tax credits are available as well. Assistance for college expenses of older youth is increasingly available. Simply contact your local Department of Child Safety and ask to speak to a social worker about this concept.
- Children in foster care are troubled. This could not be further from the truth. Yes, occasionally there are children who have behavioral issues. After all, they have often been tossed about with no stability, no guidance and very little love. Children enter the foster care system through no fault of their own, usually as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. More than half of the children waiting in foster care for adoptive homes are between 8 and 18 years old. More than 30 percent are 12 or older. Unfortunately, each year, over 25,000 of the children waiting to be adopted turn 18 and leave the system without families. These are the children who may fall back in to another state system as a result of being alone and having no security of a family. These children deserve our best efforts to find them the families we promised when they were permanently separated from their families of birth.
- The biological parents can return to reclaim their children. Once a child has been made legally free for adoption, birth parents cannot claim a child or petition for their return. Foster care adoption is completely permanent. The adoptive parents may decide to maintain contact with the child’s extended biological family based on what is best for the child. But, that is a choice of the adoptive family. When considering this, it is wise to seek counsel for any choice you make regarding ongoing contact with the biological family.
- Single people cannot adopt. Unmarried individuals are fully, legally able to adopt in the United States, all 50 States to be exact. Nearly 30 percent of the children adopted from foster care last year were adopted by single parents. Don’t let singleness hold you back from providing a child with a loving and nurturing home.
- Working with Child Services is too frustrating. Any system, from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to health care providers, can be frustrating and complex. And yes, sometimes working with the state or county child welfare system can seem as though it is fraught with rules, processes and sometimes unresponsiveness. It is a complex system, but the professionals involved are as committed as you are to finding homes for children and want to walk you through the process every step of the way. Be patient, have realistic expectations and respect the hard job of the social workers helping you.
If you are considering adoption, consider adoption through Foster Care. Often these children are overlooked. Be sure to do your research, seek wise counsel and consider your options.
Even though the adoption process can be difficult at times, for domestic or international, remember why we adopt!
It is for the children. This is for their future, their well being and their hope.