When children grow up without a safe, loving home, they are more susceptible to long-term consequences. Although many children in foster care may face some of these consequences, there are still a lot of myths about foster care and adoption that just are not true. Here are some of the myths and facts about foster care and adoption.
Myth: Most children in foster care have dozens of placements.
The truth is that the average number of placements per foster child is around three. There are many reasons that children get placed in different foster homes. Some of the reasons may include:
Location of the child’s biological parents
The foster parents cannot take care of the child any longer
Reuniting the child with his or her siblings
Myth: Most children in foster care are teenagers.
Although there are teenagers in foster care only 38% of foster children are teenagers. 62% of children in foster care are under the age of 10.
Myth: Foster parents will not have any control over which children they foster.
This is also untrue. Although you will not be able to specifically choose the child you foster you are able to choose the age and gender that you prefer. You are also able to call the social worker at any time if you feel that you are not able to provide for the child you get placed with. One of the biggest reasons a foster child would move to a different home is because the foster parent is no longer able or willing to take care of the foster child.
Myth: I cannot foster if I have a full-time job.
You do not have to be a stay at home parent in order to foster a child. If the child does require daycare you may be responsible for covering that expense.
Myth: As a foster parent I will receive little or no support from the state.
Foster parents receive a reimbursement to cover the cost of food, clothing, medical, dental and counseling services. The state agencies will also provide supportive services such as training and respite care.
Myth: I am not allowed to adopt the children I foster.
While slightly more than half of the children who enter foster care return to their birth families, there are still thousands of children who cannot return home. Of the 51,000 children in foster care adopted last year, 54% were adopted by their foster parents.
Myth: It costs too much to adopt.
You do not need to own your own home, be wealthy, or have children already in order to adopt. Most adoptions from U.S. foster care are free and any minimal costs associated with them are often reimbursable.
Myth: It takes too long to adopt a child.
It usually takes about a year from the time you first contact an agency to the time when a child is placed with you. This estimate can vary depending on the agency you’re working with and the State where you live.
Myth: You can only adopt a child who is the same race and ethnicity as you.
Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child in U.S. foster care and the prospective parent or parents who are seeking to adopt them.
Myth: Only married couples can adopt children from foster care.
In most instances, a person’s marital status, age, income, or sexual orientation do not automatically disqualify them from the eligibility to adopt.
Myth: You have to be perfect to adopt a child from foster care.
You do not have to be perfect to adopt a foster care child. There are thousands of children in foster care who would be happy to be a part of your family. To a foster care child, waiting to be adopted can feel like waiting for a miracle. You have the possibility to be that miracle.
Myth: A birth parent or another relative can take an adopted child back.
Adoptions of children from the U.S. foster care are legally binding agreements that do not occur until the rights of all parents have been legally terminated by a court of law. It is very rare than an adoption is challenged in court by a child’s birth relative. More than 98% of legal adoptions remain intact.