Adopting a foster child who has been in your care can be a rewarding experience, as well as a low-cost path to adoption. Bear in mind that most foster care placements are temporary, as the state’s primary goal is to reunify the biological family unless that clearly becomes impossible. This can make foster-to-adopt placements challenging and unpredictable. Hopeful parents should carefully consider all of their options before pursuing foster-to-adopt placements, and remember that the status of parental rights is critical information.
What is Fostering to Adopt?
In the United States, family reunification is always the primary goal of the foster system until it is determined that it is not in the child’s best interest to return to their biological family. While many foster children return to their biological parents or other relatives, some foster children do become available for adoption. In these cases, the child’s foster parents may have the opportunity to adopt the child. These are known as foster-to-adopt placements.
Foster-to-Adopt Process in Arizona
Foster parents who have already been licensed by the state and who have provided foster care for the child for at least six months may only need to complete a child abuse registry and criminal records check to be able to adopt, as well as a review of any significant changes in circumstances that would affect their ability to adopt. If the foster child to be adopted is at least 5 years old, a case worker may privately interview the child and other members of the adoptive household about their feelings toward the adoption.
After the adoption process is initiated, a caseworker will visit the family at least once every two months until the adoption is finalized.
Every foster care adoption process involves legal paperwork and a finalization hearing. We have completed thousands of Pima County foster care adoption cases and can provide all of the necessary legal services through every step of the foster care adoption process in any Arizona county.
Benefits and Challenges of Fostering to Adopt
If you are interested in adding to your family, foster parenting may seem like an intriguing option because of the lack of wait time and low cost. However, foster parents must understand that most, if not all, of their foster children will only live with them temporarily. A child may stay with the foster family for weeks, months, or even years, only to then be reintegrated into their biological families.
It is often uncertain when a child will become legally free for adoption, if ever. For foster parents who have provided long-term care and grown attached to their foster children, this uncertainty can be challenging, and reunification can be a difficult, painful experience. For this reason, foster parenting is recommended for couples that want to provide temporary care for children who have been removed from their biological parents for a variety of other reasons.
Providing temporary care, comfort, and security to a child in need can be a rewarding experience. Foster parents who can meet the challenges of fostering are much needed in our community, as they fill a very important role for Arizona’s vulnerable children that not everyone is comfortable providing.
Adopting a Waiting Child from Foster Care
Hopeful parents who are interested in adding to their family permanently may want to consider other forms of adoption. There are many children in the foster system who are legally free for adoption and are waiting for their forever home.
Adopting a waiting child from foster care provides many of the same benefits as a foster-to-adopt placement. These adoptions usually involve no cost and short wait time and give adoptive parents the opportunity to provide a child in need with a loving, permanent family, without the uncertainty of the foster-to-adopt process or the possibility of reunification.
As with any form of adoption, foster care adoption also poses certain challenges. Children adopted from the foster system may have been exposed to prior trauma, which can create attachment issues and emotional struggles for children and their parents. Adoptive parents should do careful research and weigh all of their options before creating an adoption plan.
For more information on children waiting for their forever families, visit the following resources: