Foster Care Misconceptions
Some prospective parents shy away from foster adoption because of misunderstandings about the types of children in the system.
The decision of whether to grow one’s family through the Arizona foster to adopt program is an important one, and we hope this information provides you some insight into the various benefits, and challenges, adopting a foster child may present your family.
Misconception 1: All foster children are difficult children.
Misconception 2: All foster children carry "baggage".
All children need love, nurturing, patience, and stability. Children in the foster system may have scars from past experiences, but when given the opportunity to thrive, they will.
Foster Care Pros and Cons
Advantages of Foster Care Adoption
You provide a child with a permanent home. Every child needs and deserves a stable, permanent home, and there is no greater gift than opening your doors to a child in need. When you are matched with a child that is meant to be a part of your family, the benefits of adopting a foster child are everlasting. Dedicated foster parents can help children with troubled pasts work through their challenges — and most will say that nothing in their life has been more rewarding.
It is inexpensive. Foster-to-adopt is much less expensive than other forms of adoption. In addition to funding and subsidies to help you through the process without worrying about cost, there is ongoing adoption assistance. Parents need to be able to provide food, clothing, and shelter, not demonstrate wealth. The most important thing is to provide a stable home.
Foster care adoptions are less likely to disrupt. In domestic adoption, the birth mother is in control of her adoption plan and may change her mind at any time before the adoption is complete. This is called an adoption disruption. In foster care adoption, the birth parents’ rights are terminated before the child is available for adoption. Because the birth parents cannot change their minds, foster care adoptions rarely disrupt.
Wait times are shorter than other forms of adoption. There are many waiting children in the foster care system who are ready for adoption immediately. The following resources can provide more information about the children who are currently available for adoption in Arizona:
The Children’s Heart Gallery
DCS Agencies for Foster Licensing
Disadvantages of Foster Care Adoption
While foster care adoption can be an incredibly fulfilling way to build your family, it is not for everyone. The advantages of adopting a foster child must be weighed against some of the more challenging aspects of adopting from the foster system. Here are 3 of the most common disadvantages of foster care adoption:
Many foster children face unique challenges. Many foster children are considered “special needs.” This can simply mean that a child is older or part of a sibling set, or that the child has a mental, physical, or developmental disability. Prospective adoptive parents must be honest about the types of special needs they are comfortable with, as it would be unfair to both parties if they adopted a child whose needs they cannot meet.
There are few infants available for adoption in foster care. Because biological parents are given multiple attempts to work toward reunification before their parental rights are terminated, most children who are placed in foster care do not become available for adoption until they are older. For couples hoping to adopt an infant, private domestic adoption may be a more viable option. However, many infants who start their life in a foster system are identified by the Department of Child Safety as children who will likely be available for adoption once the legal process for terminating parents’ rights can be accomplished. When this happens, that infant is placed with a family who is willing to adopt in hopes that once the legal processes for termination have been completed, the child will be adopted by his foster parents and he will never have to experience a home disruption. If this is something you’re interested in, you can ask to be part of the foster to adopt program.
Bonding may be more difficult for foster children. Many children in the foster system have experienced abuse, neglect, or other trauma, which can create emotional issues that make it more difficult for them to bond with new parents. To facilitate the bonding process, some families choose to foster to adopt so they have an opportunity to live with and get to know the child before adopting.
Foster Care Adoptions
Who might adopt a foster child?
- A relative of the child, including grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles and adult siblings.
- Foster parents who have cared for the child or who may be currently caring for the child.
- Prospective adoptive parents who are interested in adopting a child from foster care.
What can we do to help you finalize a foster care adoption in Arizona?
Relatives, foster parents, or prospective adoptive parents who want to adopt a child who is in the legal custody of the State will need an attorney to complete all of the legal work of the adoption. We help finalize many of Maricopa and Pinal County’s foster care adoption cases by offering the following services to soon-to-be parents:
- Conduct initial meeting with the prospective parents and answer all of your questions
- Provide education about adoption subsidies and tax credits
- Complete legal paperwork which is filed with the court
- Accompany parents to finalization hearing and answer all of the judge’s questions
- Complete all steps in order for the parents to receive the child’s new birth certificate and social security card for your child
- Secure payment for legal services from the Department of Economic Security ensuring that there are no out-of-pocket expenses for the adoptive family
Completing foster care adoptions and helping provide these children with permanent homes is one of the most rewarding things we do. If you are a relative or foster parent of one of these children, or a parent interested in adopting a foster child, we will do everything we can to assist you throughout this journey.
Foster Care Support Groups
East Valley Adoption/Foster Care Support Group
2nd Tuesday of each month, 6 – 8 PM 2
645 N. Gilbert Rd., Ste 180 Gilbert, AZ 85234 (in shopping center south of the Big Lots)
Childcare is provided with RSVP. Meetings will continue year-round. Contact Rebecca at (480)964-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvest Community Church Support Group
May be on break during summers, so call to verify schedule.
Harvest Community Church
3065 S. Ellsworth Mesa, AZ 85212
We welcome all foster, adoptive, and prospective foster/adoptive parents to join us. Childcare is available, but you must pre-register by emailing email@example.com or text (480)518-1766.
Scottsdale/North Phoenix Foster Support Group
1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
Scottsdale Bible Church, Room D105
7601 E. Shea Blvd Scottsdale, AZ 85260
We would love to see your smiling faces at our support group! Get some much needed support and understanding from the rest of us as we encourage each other in our foster care journeys! Training hours available for this meeting. Please RSVP for free childcare ASAP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (602)374-4501.
Surprise Foster/Adoptive Support Group
2nd Saturday of each month, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Scottsdale Bible Church, Room D105
17475 W. Bell Rd. Surprise, AZ 85379
If you are able to attend, please email the names and ages of your children so that we can provide adequate childcare! Childcare is free! Please contact Crystal at email@example.com.
AzFams Foster/Adopt Support Group
1st Friday of each month, 9 AM – 12 PM & 3rd Sunday of each month, 3-5 PM
Central Christian Glendale
8600 W. Glendale Ave. Glendale, AZ 85305
Please contact Steve & Lynn Blevins at WVFASGinfo@cox.net or (623)341-3655.
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