Recently she was stuck in the car with me for one billion hours as Mr. R drove a bunch of us to Arizona’s Families Supporting Adoption Regional Conference. Naturally, I took advantage of the situation and interviewed her.
How does it feel to be our area’s Foster Care Mom of the Year? Are their trophies involved?
Embarrassing. I got a lily (which I killed) and a plaque.
What is the difference between adopting through foster care and being a foster family?
There are 3 types of foster homes.
- Structure leveled homes which are just for kids who are behaviorally more at risk than the others.
- Foster to adopt homes which are homes where people are fostering with the hope/intent to adopt the children that come into their homes. So, if parental rights are terminated, they can adopt those kids in their homes. Statistically about 35-45% of the kids who come into foster care are adopted out of foster care. Out of those kids, 80% of those kids are adopted by their current foster placements.
- Foster only homes where the parents just work with kids who are working reunification plans and they don’t adopt.
Foster to adopt homes are the most popular. Straight foster homes tend to be older couples.
I have a lot of readers tell me that they are interested in adopting through Foster Care, what should they do?
This depends on your state, every state has education requirement (in Utah is is 32 hours of training). There is also an office of licensing requirement (home study), safety requirements (meds, chemicals locked up, fire extinguisher, pass background checks). There are space requirement and income requirements too–they want to make sure you can care for the kids.
Then you wait for your placement to happen. You have a caseworker (RFC) assigned to you who checks on you monthly.
Do I need a special home study to adopt through foster care?
Because the requirements are different, they can take your existing home study and write an addendum based on the additional requirements that are required for foster care. This would vary from state to state depending on what the office of licensing requires for the state.
Do I have to be a foster parent to adopt through the foster care program?
Yes, you have to be a foster parent to adopt through foster care UNLESS the child is in the state’s heart gallery. You can adopt through the heart gallery directly. You do not need a state home study to adopt children in the heart gallery–you can pull your home study from your agency or independent social worker and it would work.
If you could debunk one myth about the kids in the foster care program, what would it be?
Everyone has heard the same story about the kid that raped and pillaged the family and burned down the house. This comes from lack of education. The majority of kids in foster care do better when they know better and a lot of what they learn in foster care is how to do things differently. The whole reason why they come into foster care is because there is something that wasn’t working in their family. People are so scared of the unknown and the what-if’s. There’s no reason to be scared of those what-ifs–there are amazing and incredible and resilient kids in foster care that just don’t know how to do things differently and haven’t been taught how to do things differently.