How Does Foster Care Adoption Work?
When we work with families who are adopting from foster care, our job is to ensure they understand the complexities of adoption and how adoption from foster care works. We are often asked if children adopted from foster care can be “returned” to their biological families after an adoption takes place. The short answer is: No. Adoption is a legally binding process, and adoptive parents are the legal parents of their children once an adoption is finalized.
How Do Children in Foster Care Become Available for Adoption?
Children enter foster care for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are abuse and/or neglect. It is important to remember that the purpose of the foster care system is to serve as a temporary safe haven for children who cannot live with their biological families while their parents become stable, safe caregivers. Most children who experience life in foster care return to their biological families.
When it is not possible for a child to return to their biological family, a process called “termination of parental rights (TPR)” is undergone within the court system. This process allows the child to be adopted through the foster care system without custody being granted back to their biological family. Once a parent’s rights have been legally terminated, the child may become available for adoption depending on several factors. Children seen on websites like The Heart Gallery and AdoptUsKids have undergone the TPR process and are “legally free” for adoption.
How Does Foster Care Adoption Work at Adoptions Together?
Adoptions Together helps families to adopt from foster care by preparing them for the realities of parenting a child who has experienced life in the foster care system, completing their home study, and completing their required 27-hour foster care adoption training. We also support families through the matching, placement and finalization process with children who are “legally free” for adoption (those whose TPR process has been completed). Most of the children we work with are school-aged and we help families from every background to explore the option of foster care adoption.