What is foster care? How is it different from adoption?
I get asked this question many times. For someone who doesn’t live in the foster care/adoption world, it can be confusing.
Foster Care: According to the National Adoption Center, foster care is “a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birthparent is unable to care for them.”
Adoption: Also according to the National Adoption Center, adoption is “a permanent, legally binding arrangement through which a person, usually a child or teenager, becomes a member of a new family. In this arrangement, persons other than the birthparents assume all parental rights and obligations. The birthparents no longer have these rights and obligations and are no longer the legal parents of the child.”
It’s worth noting that adoption can happen through private agencies where the adopting family does not have to be foster parents. For us, we have chosen to be foster parents while being open to adoption, if that comes along. We filled out some additional paperwork when we were initially licensed and we knew that would save us time if adoption ever came up for our placements. We are really thankful we did that and we would encourage anyone to do the same if adoption is in your mind!
These are the basic difference between foster care and adoption. There’s so much more to it, of course. Here is a document, provided by our foster licensing agency, that explains the differences more in depth.
Come back tomorrow to learn, step-by-step, how to become a foster parent!