There are a lot of questions about foster care and adoption; there are also a lot of myths about foster care and adoption. Some of the more common ones are:
Myth: There are no orphans in the United States.
Fact: There are over 100,000 children who are “legally-free” and available for adoption in America.
Myth: You cannot adopt children that you foster.
Fact: Roughly 50% of children who are fostered go on to be adopted by their foster care parents.
Myth: Only married couples, or heterosexual individuals, can adopt children from foster care.
Fact: In the most recent statistics available, 32% of children adopted from foster care were adopted by single parent households or unmarried couples, which includes lesbian, gay and transgender families.
Myth: Adopting a child through foster care may not be as expensive as adopting internationally or domestically, but it is still quite a pricey process.
Fact: The cost of each type of adoption – domestic, international, through foster care – varies significantly, and many adoptions are not as expensive as many believe. In fact, finalizing an adoption through foster care may cost very little fees. The Child Welfare Information Gateway breaks down these costs in greater detail here.
Myth: Only individuals in a certain age range are eligible to adopt.
Fact: In many cases, your age does not prohibit you from adopting. In some cases, it’s the age range between the child and the adoptive parent that matters more.
Specifics vary per state.
Follow up Myth: Okay, but what about individuals over age 55?
Follow up Fact: Currently, 25% of adopted children are living with parents over the age of 55 years old.
In many cases, your age does not prohibit you from adopting. Specifics vary per state.
Major Myth: Children in foster care often come with a host of issues or are “in the system” because they’ve done something wrong.
Fact: THIS IS A BIG MISCONCEPTION.
Children who are in foster care are there because they were removed from a home where there was neglect, abuse or abandonment. Children are not placed in foster care because of what they’ve done. They are placed in foster care because they were not being parented safely or adequately; they are in foster care through no fault of their own. Children in foster care have experienced a wide range of situations – some have just left their home for the first time, others are accompanied by siblings, some have experienced unspeakable abuse, others have developmental or educational delays and yet others have suffered the shock of losing their birth parents or guardians.
There is no one-size-fits-all foster child; they are as varied as humans beings are.
- Here is a long list of common myths debunked, from AdoptUSKids.org
- Here is another great Myths vs Reality list from The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
- Here is an extraordinarily specific document, broken down by state, listing detailed requirements about who may adopt and who may be adopted, from Childwelfare.gov.
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Resources For Those Looking Into Adoption or Foster Care
For Those Looking into Adoption
This website contains an extraordinary amount of information about how to adopt, how to navigate a home study, a robust Adoption Wiki, photolistings of waiting children, and more.
Listed as “The Resource & Community for Adoption Parenting”, this site offers a wealth of information about adoptive parenting and is also the publisher of Adoptive Families Magazine.
For Those Looking into Foster Care
FosterCare.com, powered by KidsPeace
This site is home to a foster care placement service. KidsPeace places children with foster families who can care for them until the children can return to their own home or to a relative’s care, or until a more permanent plan, such as adoption, is made. In addition, the site lists a detailed FAQ about foster care.
A traveling photographic and audio exhibit created to find forever families for children in foster care. The Heart Gallery of America is a collaborative project of over 120 Heart Galleries across the United States designed to increase the number of adoptive families for children needing homes in our community.