Walking along the halls of this office building, you can see photographs of smiling kids. They look as if they could jump out of their pictures and into your arms. They are children waiting waiting and waiting to be adopted. It is estimated that there are approximately 523,000 children in foster care placements. 119, 000 are waiting to be adopted. Since 1987 the number of children in foster care has doubled. 20,000 children in foster placements will never find a permanent home or a forever family.
There are many ways to adopt children. You can gather information from various websites such as: http://www.adoptfosterchildren.com http://www.adoption.com http://www.adopt.org.
Here are several ways to adopt:
Private Adoptions: You and the birth parent agree to the terms of the adoption. Normally assisted by a private attorney or adoption agency.
International Adoption: Normally assisted by a private attorney or organization.
Step-parent Adoption: A step-parent petitions the court to adopt the child.
Concurrent or Fos-Adopt: Licensed as a foster home placement as well as going through the adoptive homestudy. A minor declared a dependent of the juvenile court is concurrently placed in your home as a foster child. If the child does not reunify with the biological parent, then the concurrent foster home has status to adopt the minor. Prior to a child being placed in a concurrent foster home, relatives need to be ruled out as a possible placement.
County Adoptions: County will conduct a homestudy, and background check. You attend orientation, adoption classes, and develop an adoption lifebook. Some birth parents relinquish their child at birth or abandon them. Other minors are removed from the parents’ home due to allegations of child neglect and abuse. These children can be adjudicated dependents of the juvenile court and placed in foster homes if there are no relatives to care for them. Parental rights may become terminated making the child freed for adoption. These children range from infants to teenagers.
There is always a need for families to adopt older children and children with physical, developmental, or emotional challenges. Some counties are re-evaluating the lives of older children who have been growing up in long term foster homes and evaluating their availability to be adopted. Some county agencies have annual recruiting events in their community bringing applicants and children waiting together to find the perfect match. Check with your local social service agency for these events.
At an adoption conference, a reporter commented that she had interviewed an 8 year old girl waiting for a forever family. The reporter asked the girl what she hoped for and the girl replied, “A second chance.”
Please consider adopting a foster child.