Is It Free to Adopt From Foster Care? Costs of Foster Care Adoption

A traditional adoption can cost upwards of $50,000 when you factor in legal fees, birth mother expenses, hospital costs, and advertising. These steep expenses can be discouraging to hopeful prospective parents. But what about foster care adoption? Is it free to adopt from foster care?

There are generally no costs to adopt from foster care for foster parents caring for a child who is up for adoption. Those interested in considering adoption through foster care should contact their local Department of Human Services to inquire about the process of becoming a foster parent.

Hopeful parents do not necessarily have to be licensed foster care providers to adopt a foster child, however, the foster parents are generally always given priority when a child becomes available for adoption.

Young children playing outside kicking a ball.

Is It Free to Adopt From Foster Care?

Adopting a child from foster care is frequently supported by the state, with minimal or no costs in most circumstances.

Parents might contact a professional agency to assist them in this procedure. These families may have out-of-pocket costs, which they may usually recuperate via federal or state programs once the adoption is finalized.

 Adoption of children who are considered wards of the state is referred to as foster care adoption. For their protection, these children are frequently orphaned or removed from their families.

Prospective adoptive families might adopt a child via foster care in a couple of different ways:

  • Children whose parents’ parental rights have been entirely terminated can be adopted by a family pretty quickly.
  • Children in need of temporary or permanent families whose parents’ parental rights have not been revoked. While the legal cases of the parents are being determined, temporary homes with foster parents are required. The children will require permanent housing if the court chooses to entirely terminate the parents’ rights.

The approach you choose will influence not just the expense of your foster care adoption, but also the length of your adoption process. That’s why we advise every aspiring adoptive parent to see a specialist for the most up-to-date information on the typical cost of foster care adoption in their area.

How to Adopt From Foster Care

Although adopting from foster care costs little or nothing, the process of becoming an adoptive or foster parent is time-intensive and takes perseverance.

The process of becoming a licensed foster care provider might take up to twelve months on average. This includes filling out an application, going through a home study, and participating in the training process.

While some of the stages may appear to be unduly complicated or intrusive, bear in mind that everyone is working toward the same goal, which is guaranteeing the safety and well-being of children.

To get started with becoming a foster parent, you will want to take the following steps:

1. Make the decision
2. Research the requirements

4. Call your local Department of Human Services
5. Attend an orientation

6. Ask questions

7. Attend training

8. Prepare for a home inspectio
n
9. Participate in the required home study

Reach out to your local Department of Human Services for further information on being a foster parent if you and your family have decided to offer your home to children in need.

You’ll most likely be invited to an informative orientation, where you’ll get the chance to meet other potential foster parents and discuss any questions or concerns you have with the facilitators.

If you match all of the other criteria for becoming a foster parent, you and any other adults in the house will be subjected to a background check and fingerprinting.

Training classes and an in-home inspection will be necessary to verify that your house fulfills all of the safety and environmental criteria that are expected of all foster families.

A state representative will be appointed to meet with you and your family in your house multiple times in addition to the home inspection. This is referred to as the home study process.

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How Long Does It Take to Adopt From Foster Care?

The average time it takes to adopt a child from foster care varies greatly. In most cases, the full process takes 9–18 months.

However, several additional circumstances might cause the adoption schedule to be different through foster care.

For example, if you are a foster parent who hopes to adopt a child in your care in the future, your foster-to-adopt timetable will differ from that of a family who is applying to adopt a waiting kid.

It’s important to remember that foster parent licensing alone can be very time-consuming. Then you wait for a child to be placed within your home, eventually waiting for a child who will be available for adoption.

Not all foster children will be available for adoption, yet some will be. The process will require some patience and understanding that it won’t happen overnight.

Expect Challenges with the Foster Care Process

The system of child welfare is complicated. There are a lot of rules and regulations to understand, and finding someone who can answer your questions might be difficult at times.

It’s not that your organization is intentionally being unresponsive; foster care caseworkers are frequently overburdened.

In reality, the whole foster care system is under duress, which can lead to a slew of issues that could stymie your progress.

Your personal experience with the foster care system will have a big impact on how simple it is to adopt from foster care.

Foster children are under the state’s temporary care.

This implies that reunion with a child’s biological family will always be the first aim, until reunification is impossible, in which case parental rights will be revoked and the child will be eligible for adoption.

Fostering to adopt is frequently discouraged by the fact that not every foster placement is permanent, which is usually the largest obstacle for hopeful parents whose primary objective is adoption.

Watching a foster child leave after so much time spent together might be too much for some parents who have waited so long to add a child to their household and experience the pleasures of parenthood.

Foster parents, like all potential parents, must be well prepared for every eventuality before welcoming a child into their home.

How Hard Is It to Adopt a Baby From Foster Care?

If you only want to adopt a baby, you’ll probably find it difficult to find a foster child that fits your criteria.

Although adopting a baby or an infant from foster care is sometimes feasible, the typical foster child is around 8 years old.

This implies that expecting parents who want to raise a kid from birth may have to wait a long time.

If you are willing to consider a wider range of adoption options, there are hundreds of wonderful children that are available for adoption.

Advantages of Adopting From Foster Care

When considering your options, you will want to think about the advantages of adopting from foster care.

More Affordable Than Traditional Adoption

A traditional adoption can cost thousands and thousands of dollars when you factor in the agency fees, legal and birth mother expenses, and advertising costs. When adopting through foster care, this cost is very minimal if any cost at all.

You’re Helping a Child in Need

Children in foster care have been removed from their biological parents due to an unfit environment. Most foster children suffer trauma, loss, and grief and are desperate for a new beginning.

Foster children who cannot be placed back with their parents typically become wards of the state and are then eligible for adoption.

Sadly, it is the younger foster children that are more likely to be adopted, while the older foster children eventually age out of the state’s care at 18.

This is a vulnerable and scary time for young adults who needs mentors in their lives at this time more than ever.

Most of the children who age out of the foster care system have no safety net to fall into, and many end up homeless and on the streets.

Rescuing a foster child in need is a gift that cannot be measured, as it’s priceless and so special. Adopting a foster child gives them hope and a brighter future.

Growing a Family

Adopting from foster care is another opportunity for hopeful parents who have been waiting for their chance to have a child of their own to become the family they’ve always wanted to be.

You’ll be able to expand your family, develop a meaningful relationship, and experience all of the delights that come with being a parent.

Although the adoption process can be lengthy and unpleasant at times, the benefits of adoption via foster care are immense, and the benefits of adoption through foster care will endure a lifetime.

Foster Parents Typically Get First Pick

Adoption is not available to every child in foster care. When a child is legally available for adoption, however, his or her foster parents are usually given priority before caseworkers consider other families.

Disadvantages of Adopting From Foster Care

Now let’s go over some of the disadvantages of adopting from foster care.

Not Everyone Understands

You’ll have to be prepared to face some challenging, insensitive questions from friends and relatives if you’re adopting from foster care.

It can be emotionally draining to take on the role of educator for your friends and family.

You’ll spend a lot of time discussing the benefits of adoption and fostering with someone who may never comprehend why you and your family have chosen this road.

Older Children Are More Likely to Be Adopted

While adopting an infant or newborn from foster care isn’t impossible, going through a private domestic adoption agency is typically a preferable option if you want to adopt a baby.

The typical foster kid is roughly 8 years old, even though children in the foster care system range in age from infants to teenagers.

Parents hoping to adopt an infant from foster care may have to wait longer than they expected.

Unique Needs

There are several advantages to adopting foster children, yet it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Many foster children have experienced trauma or have specific needs.

They may be mourning the loss of a relationship with their biological family, striving to fit into their new environment, and having concerns about their future.

Every child responds to these obstacles in a unique way, which means that some children may require mental health care or assistance with behavioral concerns.

Every child deserves a secure, loving home where all of their needs are addressed, so please consider all of the benefits and drawbacks of adopting from foster care to ensure that you are capable of providing proper care for a foster child.

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Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.