Can You Adopt Directly Through Foster Care or Do You Have to Foster First?
The answer is yes and only on paper. While foster care exists as a temporary place for children to be safe, not all children in the system go back to their biological families. People, like me, adopted directly through foster care and there are still thousands of children waiting for more people to do the same for them.
We Need Adoptive Families
Maybe you’re like me and the thought of a child(ren) potentially leaving you doesn’t make you run to get involved in the foster care system. I didn’t want that to be my reality either. That’s why I got licensed to adopt children directly from the system.
Be Clear On Your Intent
If your intent is to adopt children, then adopt children. If your intent is to foster and care for a child(ren) temporarily, foster. Please do not become a foster parent to foster a child only to hope you can eventually adopt them.
Who Are the Adoptable Children in Foster Care?
Sometimes you hear them called “wards of the state”, “waiting children”, or “foster children”. There are currently 115,000 children in the foster care system who are adoptable. According to KidsCount, 40% of these children are ages 1-5 and over 50% are ages 6-15.
Some of the adoptable children in foster care have online profiles which you can browse at A Family for Every Child and at AdoptUsKids. But before you click that link, it is important to know that you can live in any state and adopt child(ren) from any state within the United States. If that was confusing, the bottom line is the state the child(ren) currently lives does not need to be the state where their forever family lives.
The Fine Print
To be able to adopt these children, you need to live together with them for 6 months before going to court to finalize the adoption. During that time you will actually be serving as the child(ren)’s foster parent. But once the adoption is finalized, you can discontinue the foster parent paperwork.
Interested In Learning More About How to Become a Forever Family for Adoptable Children in Foster Care?
The first step is to sign up to get licensed. This involves completing an application, doing a certain number of hours of training (which depends on your state), and preparing your home for child(ren). The process is funded by the state (meaning offered at no cost to you) and takes 4-6 months. I often like to encourage future adoptive families to remember who they are doing this for and to not let the process deter them.