FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about our family & about foster care adoption in general.

Have a question that isn’t on this list?

Reach out to us and we’ll do our best to help!

Why do you want to adopt? Does this mean you can’t have biological children?   There are many paths to growing a family. It is true that a number of couples decide to adopt because of challenges with infertility. However, this isn’t the case for every couple, and single people decide to adopt, too.  You can read more of our story and why we decided to adopt from foster care here.

What exactly is “foster care adoption” and what are the benefits?  Traditional foster care is a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birth parent is unable to care for them. It allows the birth parent(s) time to meet state-mandated requirements to ensure they are fit to parent, before petitioning to have their child return to their care. Unfortunately in some cases, birth parents are not able to meet these requirements, at which point a child becomes “legally free for adoption” meaning the state will seek alternative permanent placement for the child. In the state of Minnesota, families can elect to be “adopt-only families” meaning they would only accept placement of children who were legally free for adoption, or they can choose to be “concurrent resource families,” meaning they are simultaneously committed to supporting birth family reunification, but also willing to adopt that child if reunification is not successful.

If you’re adopting, why are you getting your foster care license?  Most states give top priority to relatives and current foster parents when a child becomes legally freed for adoption, and a growing number of states are requiring that families be willing to foster if they want to adopt from foster care. That is why we must first become licensed foster parents before we can have a child placed in our home: until they are legally adopted by us (a process that can take 6-12 months), we are technically their foster parents. Fostering first has the advantage of reducing the number of moves for the child who may be placed in our home. It also enables a potential adoptive family to make connections with birth parents, extended birth family, or other important adults in that child’s life that can be maintained in the future.

What kind of training did you have to go through? 

  • First, we attended an hour long orientation with our agency to learn general information about the process.
  • Then, we had to watch two separate webinars on the experiences of children in the foster care system, which were each two hours long.
  • Once we applied for the program, we participated in a two-day, sixteen hour training that covered such topics as cross-racial and cross-cultural adoption, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, attachment, trauma and neglect, and panels with former foster care children who had been adopted and their parents.
  • Our agency also offered an additional eight-hour training on concurrent placements, which we decided to attend to learn more information.
  • Once we started the home study process, we were required to complete trainings on Children and Restraint Systems (car seats), Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, and Mandated Reporting.
  • To maintain our license, we will need to take at least 12 hours annually of training on various topics. We receive ongoing training in the form of webinars, in-person classes, support groups, and informal education such as books, websites, and blogs.
  • To see some of our favorite resources, click here. We are always happy to talk more about what we know already, and to learn more about what we don’t!

How much does it cost to adopt from foster care?  The State of Minnesota has a strong commitment to ensuring Minnesota children in foster care have the best opportunity to find a permanent family, so there are programs available to cover a variety of adoption related costs.  The State contracts with private adoption agencies to subsidize the cost of placement services so that families incur limited  adoption related fees.  Additionally, families can receive a one-time reimbursement after an adoption is completed, which covers court or travel fees incurred through the adoption process. But there are always costs associating with being a parent: travel expenses, another mouth to feed, clothes to buy, school activities to pay for, and more! So yes, while foster care adoption is more affordable than other types of adoption (such as domestic or international infant adoption), it is by no means, “free.”

How many children are in foster care and awaiting adoption in the United States?  Approximately 400,000 children are in US foster care at any given time. More than 100,000 of them are legally free for adoption and waiting to be matched with their forever families.

What is the average age and background of a child in foster care?  Learn more about the kids waiting to be adopted in Minnesota here.

What is a home study?  A home study (also known as a family assessment) is a process that results in a (BIG) document about us: our home, family, strengths, personalities, characteristics, and challenges. The whole process typically takes around six months from the time an application is submitted to an agency. The following are important components of the home study process:

  • Educate and prepare the prospective adoptive family about the adoption process;
  • Ability for the adoption worker to better understand the family in order to best advocate for them throughout their process;
  • Assess the suitability of the prospective adoptive family and their home in being able to meet the needs of identified child(ren);
  • To compile information about the prospective adoptive family that will aide adoption workers in matching the family with a child(ren) whose needs they can best meet.

I have heard that many children in foster care have “special needs.” What does that mean?  A child with special needs should not be confused with a child outside of foster care who requires special education. In this context, the term “special needs” refers to children who qualify for adoption assistance due to specific factors or conditions such as:

  • Being an older child
  • Having a particular racial or ethnic background
  • Being part of a sibling group needing to be placed together as one unit
  • Medical conditions
  • Physical, mental, or emotional disabilities

How long is it going to be until you have a child in your home?  That is a difficult question! Unfortunately, there is not a specific time frame. On average, the process to become licensed can take from four to twelve months. Then, it is impossible to know exactly how long it will be until we are matched with a child and carefully transition them into our family. Finally, the time between a child being placed in our home and when adoption is finalized depends on a number of factors, including county court schedules, federal and state laws, and our child’s comfort level with finalization. You can trust that we will be sharing updates on the blog as we are able to. Learn more about the general steps of the process here.

Will your child have an ongoing relationship with their birth family? Regardless of the reason for adoption, many children have important people in their lives they may want to maintain contact with. When appropriate, supporting these relationships can benefit both our child and our family by providing a sense of history, identity and the ability to create new and positive memories. Examples of ongoing relationships may include:

  • Birth parents
  • Extended birth family members
  • Siblings
  • Foster care providers
  • Additional people considered important to the child

Ultimately, it will be up to us as our child’s parents to determine which of these relationships is healthy and beneficial to the social, mental, emotional, and physical development of our child. Their needs always come first. As long as these relationships are positive ones, we believe that the more love in our child’s life, the better!


Adapted from information on
www.adoptuskids.org
www.mnadopt.org
www.adopt.org

 

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