Who Can Adopt From Foster Care?
Who Can Adopt From Foster Care?
There are a lot of misconceptions about who can adopt from foster care. Part of Indiana Adoption Program’s goal is to educate the public on the need for adoptive parents in Indiana – which includes dispelling the myths that keep potential parents from initiating the adoption process.
Myth: You must already be a parent in order to adopt.
Truth: You can have biological or previously adopted children – but already being a parent is not a requirement for adding to your family through adoption. You can have children who are grown and already out of the house, or you could have no children at all. Some waiting children would do best in a home where there are no other children, so that they can receive the attention they deserve; others would thrive in homes with siblings to serve as good role models.
Myth: Only straight married couples can adopt from foster care.
Truth: You don’t have to be married in order to adopt. In fact, because of their previous family experiences, some waiting children would do best in a home with only one parent.
Your sexual orientation and relationship status are not deciding factors in whether you can adopt from foster care. There are many children in foster care who need homes that are welcoming and accepting of LGBTQ+ youth.
Myth: Adopting is expensive, so you need to have a lot of money to adopt.
Truth: Adopting from foster care is the most affordable type of adoption, and you certainly don’t have to be independently wealthy or own a mansion or fancy car. You don’t even have to own your own home – renters are welcome to adopt! It is expected that you will be financially ready to add children to your family, but there is no specific income requirement, and some waiting children will qualify for financial assistance and services after the adoption is final. You do need to have enough room for a child to live in your home, and the home has to be a safe environment.
Myth: You have to have lived a perfect life.
Truth: Don’t have a perfect driving record, or didn’t win the “perfect attendance award” in grade school? Don’t let that deter you from considering adopting from foster care. You don’t need to have trophies lining your wall, or be involved in every philanthropic activity that comes your way. Children don’t need perfect parents – just one or two individuals willing to meet the unique challenges of parenting and willing to make a lifetime commitment to them. (But you do need to be able to pass an FBI fingerprint check and fulfill all the training requirements.)
You must be able to provide a loving, stable, permanent home for a child or sibling group. To do that, you’ll need to be committed, tenacious, persistent, and patient. Adopting from foster care requires a willingness to accept a child with a complex family history, which may also mean being willing to learn new or different approaches to parenting, and knowing when to ask for support.
You’ll have to advocate for your child’s needs, and be flexible enough to roll with unexpected changes, stresses, and challenges. Parenting means being up for new adventures – and as with any child, having a good sense of humor and a talent for keeping life in perspective can go a long way and help you celebrate the successes in a child’s life.