May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and the need is great for families to take these children into their homes. In fact, there are currently over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States, with more than 27,000 "aging out" of the system each year, never knowing the stability and love of a forever family. Adopting through foster care can be a long and painful process, but many families also find that it is the best way for their family to adopt.
In honor of National Foster Care Awareness Month, here are some common myths regarding fostering to adopt.
1. Only older children are adopted from foster care. While it's true that there are many older children in foster care waiting to be adopted, infants can also be adopted through the foster care system. About 40,000 infants are placed into foster care every year. Many of these children are reunified with their families-which is the main purpose of the foster care system-but many also end up staying with their foster families and becoming available for adoption within a year or two.
2. All foster children are bad or damaged. Children who enter foster care aren't there because they come from a loving, stable home. They have baggage; they've been abused or neglected; they've experienced and seen things that no child should ever have to see. Many children in foster care even suffer with PTSD. But that doesn't mean that these children are bad. In fact, many foster children thrive once they have settled into their new family and know that they are finally safe and where they belong.
3. Children in foster care never become available for adoption. While about 50 to 70 percent of children in foster care do return to their biological families, the children who are placed with prospective adoptive families are the children who are heading toward adoption. Many of them are just waiting for the termination of parental rights to be achieved in court.
Adopting through the foster care system has its risks and rewards. While it is the least expensive way to adopt, the process can often be drawn-out and become a rollercoaster ride of emotions waiting for the termination of parental rights. You will also need to ensure that you are licensed as a foster parent and as an adoptive parent. You also risk having your child returned to their biological family, but disruption is a risk in any adoption.
While this route is not the best for every adoptive family, many families have found that this path is the right one for them. If you are considering working within the foster care system, you will need a good lawyer by your side. We can help you finalize your adoption your adoption as you seek to bring your child home.