Not all children are provided the love, care, and support they deserve. Some individuals’ life choices or circumstances simply make it impossible for them to properly raise their children. When this happens, foster families and potential adoptive parents step in to help provide what is missing.
If you are one of the many people willing to take a child into your home, to feed, clothe, protect, and educate them, then you should know your rights and responsibilities. And you should have a firm understanding of the ways in which you can care for a child.
Foster care and adoption are the two primary means by which families can take in and care for a child.
A child may be placed into foster care when they are in an unsafe environment, when the parent or parents have been imprisoned, or when their parents have been deemed unfit to care for them. Such placement is carried out by a public social service agency. While they are in foster care, the child’s guardian will have parental rights over the child which is monitored, restricted, and regulated by the state.
As a foster parent, you will be responsible for ensuring that your foster child is adequately fed, clothed, and sheltered. Their health care and education will also be in your hands. You must do caregiver and parent training to ensure that you are providing the best care for them. You will receive regular stipends from the government for essential expenses in raising the child.
It is important to note that foster care is a temporary placement. A range of circumstances can lead to the removal of a foster child from your home. The other birth parent can claim the child. The condition of the birth parent who was the primary caregiver could improve and their right to resume custody restored. Relatives of the child may also claim them from your care. If it is not possible for either of the child’s birth parents to regain custody and another family wants to adopt the child, then they will be removed from your home.
The social service system and the family courts lean toward reuniting families when possible or putting a child in a stable long-term environment when this is not possible. As a foster care parent, you should keep this in mind.
Adopting a child gives you full legal custody and parental rights over them without any oversight by a social service agency. It may be possible for you to adopt your foster child. It will all depend on whether it is possible for the child to return to their biological family. Determining this can take months and sometimes years.
If you decide to adopt a child who is under your foster care or you want to adopt another child, you will need to undergo an extensive background and medical check. Your finances, home environment, lifestyle, and ability to support the child will be looked at carefully.
You should enter the process of adopting a child with your eyes wide open. You want to give the child you’re planning to bring into your home the best start possible. Even if you have stable employment and are financially well off, you must do proper planning and ask yourself some important questions. Preparing your home and your current family for the coming changes will help ensure that the adoption process is smooth, transparent, and predictable. These are some of the more significant differences between foster and private adoption.
For parents looking to adopt a child from foster care, we recommend reaching out to the Families First Network at Lakeview Center; they’re a wonderful resource and can help you every step of the way.
If you’re looking to do a private adoption, it’s always best to have someone by your side to help advise you of all of the processes along the way. Here at Gulf Coast Adoptions, we have the right knowledge and experience to walk you through the process and would be more than happy to help you. Please contact us with any questions you may have or to start your adoption journey today.