Just about every Monday, I feature children who are waiting to be adopted through the foster care program. Each child has been approved by the heart galleries that host them to appear on my blog. Not every heart gallery from every state has given us permission to post their waiting children (some we can only link to, some we can use photos and some change their minds constantly about whether or not we are allowed to help in their outreach efforts) …we are working on that. Brenda of Another Small Adventure really does all the work on this. She knows foster care waaay better than I do and I am grateful for all her help.
That said, things are going to be a little different for today’s Matching Monday. Today I am sharing some info from the KSL Telethon for adoption to benefit the Utah Adoption Exchange. (Source: Utah Adoption Exchange)
Foster Care Myths and Facts
MYTH: It costs a lot of money to adopt.
Most adoptions do cost, but adopting from foster care is nearly free. The home study and training are paid for by the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), so basically by the tax payers. The family must pay for all of the things necessary to get their home ready for another child and they also need to pay an attorney to finalize an adoption – but they will get that money reimbursed. What most people don’t know is that the child will also have a Medicaid card until they are 18 years old. DCFS will also help the family cover costs associated with the child’s special needs that are not covered by Medicaid. Part of the difference is children in foster care are waiting for families and in most other types of adoption families are waiting to adopt the few infants that are available here and or abroad.
MYTH: I have to own my home to adopt.
To adopt from foster care you do not need to own your own home. But you do need to have enough room to have an additional child come into your home and you need to be fairly stable. The children in foster care have usually had a lot of instability in their lives they need stability.
MYTH: I’m too old to adopt.
Utah law requires a person to be 10 years older than the child they adopt. That being said the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) may not be willing to place a 2 year old with a couple that are in their late 50’s or 60’s unless they are a relative to the child. But parents in this age group are great for teens and school age children.
MYTH: I’ve heard all of the children in foster care have a lot of problems?
Children who are in foster care waiting for an adoptive home have been removed from their homes because of the issues of their biological parents. Almost always they have suffered from some form of abuse and or neglect. These children are resilient and sometimes have a hard time learning to trust anyone after what they have been through but like all of us they want and need the love that a family can provide.
MYTH: If I foster a child I’ve heard that it takes years before I can adopt them?
Currently the average time a child spent in foster care before they were adopted is 18.4 months. The courts try to move as quickly as possible but they also need to allow time for the biological family to make the necessary changes to be reunified with their children. It is a hard balance between the rights of the biological parents and the need for permanency for the children. Unless a case goes on appeal finalization of an adoption can occur as soon as parental rights are terminated as long as the child has been in the adoptive home for at least six months.
MYTH: The only children available for adoption are older teens.
It is true that many of the longest waiting children are older teens, but the average age of a child in Utah that is adopted from foster care is 5.2 years of age; once a child reached the age of nine their chance to be adopted diminished dramatically.
MYTH: If I adopt a child from foster care can their biological family still come and take them back?
Children who are adopted from the foster care system have had parental rights terminated or the biological parents have relinquished custody to DCFS. Initially when coming into care DCFS takes great care to try to locate kin or close family friends that might take the children in. Usually by the time a child is being publically recruited for all of those options have been explored. Once an adoption is finalized in court no one from the biological family can take them from their adoptive family.
You can also view the heart galleries from all the states by clicking on the states you are interested in.
Share this Matching Monday link on your blog to help these children find forever families! Or post a Matching Monday button on your own blog. You can also press “LIKE” at the top or bottom of the post to share these waiting children with your Facebook friends!