Every child deserves a loving parent. For many children, though, a stable family is only a pipe dream. Foster care allows children in crisis to live with people who love and provide for them. If you are a foster parent or you are looking to expand your family, adopting a child through foster care may be an option for you.
Foster care adoptions: what to know
You do not have to become a licensed foster parent to adopt from foster care. However, most people who adopt through the foster system are currently foster parents who are adopting a child in their care. The requirements for becoming a foster parent and adopting a foster youth are the same:
- Be a financially stable adult at least 21 years old.
- Attend training sessions to learn about foster care, first aid and child development.
- Undergo a background check and a home study.
- Provide personal and professional references.
If you meet these criteria, you can move forward with adoption.
What is the adoption process like?
The following is a broad outline of the steps you will take when adopting:
- Find an agency
The first step is to find an agency that provides adoption and/or foster care services. Once you have an agency, you will complete extensive paperwork, including an application to become a foster or adoptive parent.
- Match with a child
After the court places a child in your home, there is minimum of 30 days before you can finalize the adoption. A caseworker will visit at least once to check on the placement and see how things are going for you and the child. Most adoptions occur within three to nine months, though some happen sooner and others later.
- Termination of parental rights
If it has not already, the court will terminate the rights of the child’s biological parents. Although the child’s other biological relatives have the opportunity to challenge the adoption, this rarely occurs.
If the caseworker has positive recommendations, the biological family’s rights are terminated and you are ready to adopt, the judge will issue a final decree of adoption. Then, you can celebrate the new addition to your family.