10 Things You Didn’t Know About Adopting From Foster Care

Christina Gochnauer

Are you interested in adopting from foster care? Then you need to read this list!

  1.     In most states, adopting from foster care is completely free!

In the state of Texas if a child is adopted from the foster care system the state will pay the lawyer fees to adopt. In other states you may be required to pay a fee upfront which the state will then reimburse. The concern about it being “too expensive” can be put to rest with adoption from foster care.

  1.     The state may pay for your child’s health insurance and college tuition from a state school.

See your own state’s guidelines for who may or may not qualify for post adoption benefits. My kids, since they were adopted as a sibling group, were considered a special needs adoption and that qualified them for tuition and health insurance. Their tuition benefit is good for any state school and can be used for up to a Doctoral level degree.

  1.     The kids are not “damaged goods.”

Speaking from personal experience here, my kids are all a little strange from time to time, but it has more to do with them being kids than it has to do with them having been in foster care. They are normal kids who, given the correct conditions, are thriving. Yes, children adopted from foster care may have special needs because of the trauma they have been through. That doesn’t mean it is a given that they cannot grow up to be happy, healthy, successful people who love their families and contributing members of society.

  1.     You don’t have to own your own home to adopt from foster care.

It is a common but incorrect belief that you must own your own home or be wealthy to foster or adopt. It is just not true. If you have a stable income, can keep your home or apartment clean and livable, and have the adequate square footage, you can foster and adopt.

  1.     Not every kid wants to be adopted, but all of them need a family regardless.

Some kids who are being adopted from foster care may not have realized what they were coming out of was as terrible as it was. That doesn’t mean they don’t need a loving, safe home to heal and grow in. It simply means it may take more time for them to feel at home. They may not feel grateful, but it isn’t about that.

  1.     You don’t have to be married to adopt from foster care (or foster parent).

There is a pervasive myth in the adoption world that you can’t adopt if you are single. On the contrary, there are some children that would thrive in a single-parent home because they have attachment disorders that make it hard to bond evenly to more than one caregiver. While it can be difficult to go it alone, the key either in single- or two-parent adoptive homes is to build a community and support network for when things get hard.

  1.     There are over 3000 waiting children who need a family, right now, in the United States alone.

Some children may be part of harder to place, like sibling groups, or some may have special needs that make it harder to find a caregiver. All of them need and deserve a family that will love them forever.

  1.     Teenagers often both want and need a family to call their own, even if they are about to “age out” of the system.

Plenty of teenagers are waiting to find a family to teach them to drive a car, make a budget, learn how to grocery shop, apply for college, and do their taxes. You can learn more about adopting an older child here.

  1.     It isn’t as complicated as you think.

Yes, there is an exorbitant amount of paperwork. There is a background check, fingerprinting, interviews, classes, and a home safety check. However there are people available to step you through each part of the process. By the time you are ready for the “overwhelming” home study process you’ve been dreading for months, you will be friends with the caseworker who is coming to chat with you and look over your house. There are checklists and explanations. The caseworker’s job is to get the children a good home, not to make you feel bad. They want you to succeed.

  1.  It is worth any of the difficulties you might face.

Adopting from foster care has been one of the most heartbreaking, yet worthwhile, things I could have done with my life. My kids are, with no input or help from me, some of the best humans I know. There are funny, adjusted, intelligent, insightful people, and I cannot wait to see who they grow up to be.

Let us know in the comments what questions you have about adopting from foster care!