When people begin to express their consideration of adoption, they might hear things like, “Whatever you do, don’t go through foster care,” or “I hear that kids in foster care have big problems,” etc. Sure, there are many factors to take to heart when choosing the path of adoption. One of those, in particular, is whether to include foster care as an option. However, instead of listening to the reasons why one should not adopt from foster care, here are a few reasons why adopting a foster child matters.
1. Children are in the foster care system due to no fault of their own.
They have no control over their situation. If the goal changes to adoption, there needs to be families who will step up and commit to providing a lifetime of stability and love for these children.
2. If parental rights are terminated and an adoptive home is not established, foster children and youth are at risk for aging out of care.
In essence, they become legal orphans. Once they exit the system, they are at a higher risk for homelessness, impoverishment, substance abuse, victimization, pregnancy, and criminal activity. All of these things can be greatly reduced if families would adopt older youth before they exit the system.
3. Sibling groups are at risk of being separated once they enter the system and even in adoptive homes.
While the goal is always to keep sibling groups together, it is difficult due to the lack of families willing and able to consider fostering and adopting a larger sibling group. Sibling groups deserve the opportunity of finding permanency together, through adoption.
4. Once an adoption out of foster care is complete, all legal authority is given to the adoptive parents.
The myth that “birth parents can change their minds” is just that—a myth. Even though the case is closed, most states offer after-adoption services and support, including financial support until the child is 18 years of age. This assistance helps families tremendously and is a great incentive for families to consider adopting out of care.
5. Through efforts made towards the primary goal of reunification with biological family members, many children and youth are able to return to their families of origin.
Despite many successes with reunification, far too many children and youth become eligible for adoption and linger in the system without an identified adoptive family. These kids are just like other children, except for their history of abuse and neglect. They are unique, have their own set of talents, and aspirations, and desire to belong somewhere. In order for foster children to begin on a path that leads to personal success, they must have a solid foundation of being in a family. Adopting a child from foster care lays this foundation down.
The hope of ending the scourge of child abuse and neglect is never-ending. Reunification and working with biological parents make great strides towards this. Adoption does this as well. When considering adopting a child out of foster care, remember, it is not just the one child whose life will be changed, it potentially could be a generation of children whose lives are untouched by abuse and neglect.