Will You Be Expected To Adopt When Fostering A Child?

Tish GallegosFoster Care

When you foster a child with the help of Contra Costa County, one of the first questions that comes to mind might be about adoption.The title of “foster parent” can sometimes lead people to think that adoption and becoming the legal parent is a possibility, or even a requirement. But it’s simply not the case in many circumstances. Sometimes adoption is a possibility, sometimes it’s not.

While it’s true that some potential parents are actively hoping to adopt, others are more interested in helping children short term. Trust us, both are important to the process. We tackled the question of adopting a foster kid in our Frequently Asked Questions, and we think that this is such an important part of the process that we’d better devote an entire article to it. Let’s find out how it all works and why we certainly don’t expect you to adopt.

Not Every Child Is Adoptable

It’s important to remember that the point of foster care for most children is to give them a place to be while their parent can get their own life back in order. Some parents might be incarcerated, others might have substance abuse problems, and still others have fallen on hard times and are no longer able to support their child’s basic needs. Still, the goal is to get that child back to a loving parent (or parents) if at all possible

All that to say: you might not be able (or expected to) adopt a child in your care for the simple reason that the foster child might not be adoptable.

You Might Not Be Interested In Adopting…

…and that’s wonderful! After all, we just told you that there are many children in the foster care system who simply aren’t adoptable. If we only had people coming to us who wanted to adopt, we wouldn’t end up placing nearly as many kids.

We absolutely need people who aren’t interested in adopting to be foster parents. We need those people who are able to show a great amount of love to a child even though that child might not be living with them for long. Some foster families simply excel at having a child stay with them for a short amount of time and then having that child move along (the average stay at a foster home is around 13 months).

Maybe You Do Want To Adopt

If you’re interested in adopting, that’s something we’d certainly like to know. Some foster parents can be placed with kids who are more likely to be adopted. While there are never any guarantees, we’re always looking to do what’s best for your family and the child. Approximately 12-percent of foster children are adopted each year, and that number is rising. On the sad side, that means that fewer children are able to return to their parents or other relatives. But on the positive side, it means that more people are opening their hearts and willing to adopt a foster child with whom they bond.

When you go through the process of becoming a foster parent, we might ask you your intentions. Are you hoping to adopt? Do you have no interest in doing so? We’re not trying to lead you in any direction, simply trying to discover what you want out of a foster care. Foster care is a complex balancing act between the child, the foster home, the social worker, and the child’s parents if they’re still in the picture. Again, we want wants best for everyone.

We’re here to answer any questions you have about becoming a foster carer. Please contact us and we’d be happy to talk with you.