When a child’s biological parent or parents can no longer care for them the way they should, the foster care system serves as a short-term solution by matching them with trained caretakers, including family or relative caregivers.
A child placed in a foster home will continue their education, get medical treatment, and have access to social services. Federal, regional, and local agencies in America’s foster care system, and adoption through social services, work together to ensure the well-being of children under foster care.
Most fostering organizations require that prospective foster parents be able to offer round-the-clock care for the child they are taking in and that they have their means of support beyond the allowance they will receive. Another requirement of foster care is that your residence must be devoid of any potential dangers. You’ll need to submit a check from the authorities and the child welfare system. It may take up to two years to become a foster parent as you have to undergo induction, education, and certification.
If you’re pregnant and unable to keep your baby for whatever reason, you may be hoping that a family member will be able to care for him or her. If that isn’t possible, then have you considered contacting an adoption center?
When you speak with someone at an adoption center, they will listen to your concerns and provide guidance to assist you with making this important decision.
Before being adopted, 45% of children initially live with their birth family. In many cases, relatives do adopt another family member’s child or children. This occurs in around 41% of adoption cases.
There are so many couples that want to start or add to their existing family. While adoptive parents have unique reasons for adopting a child, they tend to be adopted for the following reasons:
- Foster parents wanting to provide a permanent home: 86%
- To extend their family: 61%
- Due to infertility: 39%
- To provide a sibling: 24%
There are specific legal policies and procedures that need to be followed for each type of adoption. When discussing how to proceed with an adoption agency, they can provide information on the following types of adoptions:
- Private domestic adoptions: 38%
- Foster care adoptions: 37%
- International adoptions: 25%
Rather than being placed in a traditional foster home, by 2012, over 58,000 children went to live in group homes or institutions. On average, a child waits to be adopted from foster care for three years. Approximately 55% of foster children are also placed three or more times, which can create a variety of issues for them.
The foster care system currently has around 397,122 children that do not have permanent families. While approximately 101,666 of these children in the foster care system are eligible and available for adoption, almost 32% will be waiting over three years to be adopted. Unfortunately, some of these children may grow up within the system.
Many children enter the system due to being orphaned. While some of these children have lost one parent, others have lost both. There are approximately 153 million orphans throughout the world that have lost one parent, and almost 18 million that have lost both parents. Too many of these children are still living in orphanages or worse, on the streets.
In 2012 alone, the U.S. State Department reports that over 7,000 children were adopted by American families. When polled, 81% of the families said that their relationships were “very warm and close.”
If you’re seriously considering adoption, contact an adoption center to learn more about how to proceed and what you can expect to experience during this process. While taking this first step may be emotionally painful, focus on how you will be providing your child with a loving home as well as opportunities they may not otherwise have.