Should You Adopt Through Foster Care?
Roughly 59% of all non-stepparent adoptions in the United States each year are adoptions that happen through the foster care system. Though this style of adoption is extremely common, many prospective parents are not aware of it. Understanding the pros and cons of adopting through the foster system can help you make the right choices for your family.
The Foster Care Adoption Timeline
Of course, one main difference between foster care adoption and private adoption is the timeline itself. When adopting privately, you meet with an adoption specialist, get approved by the agency, wait for a baby to become available, and then finalize the adoption. On average, this takes between eight to 15 months.
When adopting through foster care, you start by going through background checks and home studies to be approved as a foster parent. You can choose to be approved for adoption at the same time, or you can go ahead and start fostering while waiting on adoption approval. Once you are fostering a child you wish to adopt, you can file for adoption, wait six months, and then finalize the adoption. Things can move very quickly if you are properly licensed before starting the process.
Costs Associated With Foster Care Adoption
An unfortunate reality is that many people who would be excellent parents avoid adoption because of concerns about cost. It is true that private forms of adoption can be prohibitively expensive, costing somewhere between $25,000 to $50,000. However, adopting from foster care is actually very affordable.
The foster care adoption price in New Jersey is just somewhere between $0 to $1,500 for various classes and home studies. This makes foster care adoption an ideal choice for parents who can afford the day-to-day expenses of having a child but do not have tens of thousands of dollars saved up.
The Types of Children Available for Adoption in Foster Care
About 70% of the children waiting to be adopted from foster care are ages 11 or younger. Many people who adopt from foster care end up adopting infants right from the hospital. However, the median age of children in foster care who get adopted is 8 years old.
All children in the foster care system are there because they have had a difficult home life. Though most are not juvenile delinquents or children with a mental illness, prospective parents do need to be prepared for some challenges. Since you get to live with the child before adopting them, this gives you time to bond and gain experience parenting before you adopt.
Interacting With Biological Parents During Foster Care Adoption
A big difference in foster care adoption vs. private adoption is that biological parents may still wish to be involved on a regular basis. Unlike private adoption, not all biological parents have willingly given up their rights to the child. Instead, a child is made available for adoption through the foster care system after the state determines the child is no longer safe with their biological family.
This does not mean you have to go to court with your New Jersey adoption attorney and argue with the biological parents. Instead, the state will typically handle terminating the biological parents’ rights for you. If you want to adopt, the state will work to only place foster children with you from cases where parental rights are likely to be terminated.
Get Support From Experienced Professionals
As you can see, adopting from foster care can be an excellent way to reduce costs and give a home to a child who truly needs your love and care. However, there are a few additional steps, so it can be useful to have a New Jersey adoption attorney on your side who is familiar with the laws. At Cofsky & Zeidman, our team has years of experience handling adoption law cases. Give us a call at (856) 429-5005 to schedule your consultation at our office in Haddonfield. You can reach our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.