Adopting From Foster Care
Hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. are in foster care, and more than a quarter of them are waiting for a family to permanently adopt them. But many of them will leave foster care when they “age out” of the system and enter their young adult life with no family support. We are aggressively concentrating our efforts to not only connect children with families within their own state, but across state borders.
If you would like to welcome one of these children into your home, below are the basic steps for you to consider as you work through the process:
Potential adoptive parents can educate themselves with the many resources available online or by requesting information from a reputable adoption agency. It is critical to understand federal adoption laws as well as the laws of your state. These laws can be searched by state, territory, or region. Understanding the laws and regulations in a particular state proves helpful in keeping the process smooth and preventing frustrating situations.
Select an Agency
If you are planning to adopt a child in foster care, it is recommended that you explore agencies listed within your state adoption program. Exploring your agency options will help you select a reputable agency that meets your specific needs.
Once you select an agency, be sure to enroll in the foster and adoptive parent training series offered. This training will help you to understand the child welfare system in general as well as the needs of children who have experienced the trauma of abuse and neglect. Even if you are an experienced parent, this training will be beneficial to you.
Complete a Home Study
Once you have completed your initial application, a caseworker from your selected agency will conduct a Home Study. All prospective adoptive parents must have a Home Study completed. This process varies from two to 10 months depending on the agency’s wait list as well as specific state requirements. Once the Home Study is completed, the placement process begins.
Engage in this process as this is a time when your family identifies its newest member. Information on waiting children will be made available to you and opportunities may arise for you to engage in preplacement visits.
Most foster children have had trouble in their lives and struggle to belong. Without a permanent family to love, support, and guide them as young adults, statistics show they will be at risk of experiencing homelessness or incarceration. All children—including foster care children of all ages—need a forever family. We stand ready to assist you in this process—helping you finalize your adoption and offer counseling as needed once you are parenting your adopted child.
The time is now in making sure there isn’t a single child in the United States who doesn’t have a permanent home to call his own.
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