Parents who want to adopt have to make choices. Infant or older child, domestic or international, private or foster care are among many decisions they have to make and each is a very personal decision. My husband and I decided to adopt domestically through the foster care system. Since then, I’ve heard lots of reasons couples say they can’t adopt through foster care. Here’s some of those reasons and why they just aren’t always true.
- It’s too expensive: Not so. Most adoptions from foster care cost an average of $1500-$2500, and most states reimburse parents up to $1500 toward their cost of the attorney fees. Some adoption attorneys only charge what they know your state will reimburse you. That way, it is actually costing you nothing to adopt. On top of that, most states will provide financial support up until your child turns 18, and your child will be eligible for Medicaid even if you already have an insurance plan (you’ll use one as a secondary insurance) and most states will cover college expenses for students who have been adopted through foster care if they attend a state college/university.
- Children from foster care come with all sorts of problems and baggage. Well, sometimes they do. That’s something you need to be aware of before adopting. However, whether you adopt internationally or domestically, you need to know that your child is going to have issues that you will have to deal with. Possible attachment issues, anger issues, etc. These issues are the result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. Unless you are planning on adopting an newborn, you are most likely going to have to deal with some of these issues regardless of the route you take to adopt.
- I’d rather adopt internationally so the parents can’t try to take back my child: Once a parent of a child in foster care has had their parental rights terminated, they can no longer “come back for” their child. They have no legal rights to the child at all. It’s completely up to you as their adopted parent whether you want to allow the birth parents to know where your child is or to communicate with your child.
- It takes too long to adopt through foster care. Really, that depends on what your goal is. My husband and I decided that we wanted a boy (we already had all boys at home at the time so it just made it easier) between ages of 8-10 and that race didn’t matter. We actually ended up with a precious little boy who was just 2 weeks short of his 5th birthday and was a quarter Mexican American. It took us exactly 9 months from beginning the process until we brought him home. That is exactly how long I carried my biological children. With our second son we said we’d like to adopt a boy, around 5-6 years old and race didn’t matter. It took us 6 months to bring home our beautiful Mexican American little boy who had just turned 5. So, I guess time is a matter of opinion.
- I don’t want people to judge my children because they are from the foster care system. If you don’t’ judge them, then it’s less likely that others will. Just because a child has been in the foster system does not make them a juvenile delinquent. It doesn’t take long for people to realize that all my kids, both biological and adoptive, are great kids.
There’s on average 400, 00 children in the US in foster care needing forever homes. That number alone is a good reason to look toward the foster care system if you are looking at adopting. Regardless of what route you go to adopt, you’ll find yourself on an amazing and powerful journey.
Have you adopted through the foster care system? We’d love to hear about your journey.