PROS & CONS
ADVANTAGES OF FOSTER CARE ADOPTION
Thousands of Arizona families have been built through foster care adoption. For these parents, children, and their relatives, the rewards of foster care adoption are immeasurable. Here are just a few reasons to consider adopting from foster care:
- 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:
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.
Some prospective parents shy away from foster adoption because of misunderstandings about the types of children in the system. These are the most common misconceptions:
- All foster children are difficult children. Special needs can mean anything from over age three to a race, ethnicity, or language that makes a child more difficult to place. That does not necessarily mean that child is difficult. Needing to be placed with a sibling group is considered a special need. A mental, physical, emotional, or medical disability certified by a licensed professional is a special need. You can learn more about the child to determine which label applies and take advantage of all the pre- and post-placement services that are available.
- 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.
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 provided you some insight into the various benefits, and challenges, adopting a foster child may present your family.