There are many misconceptions among potential parents regarding adopting a child from foster care. The truth in most instances is quite different from initial views and opinions. Examining some of these misconceptions should help to alleviate questions and concerns. One of our challenges is getting this information out to a wider audience. Once you have read the myths and facts, perhaps you will wish to join us to inform these prospective adoptive families how rewarding it is to open your heart to a child in foster care, giving that young individual a chance at love and security.
Misconception #1: Foster care adoptions are expensive and difficult.
Truth: The cost to adopt children from foster care is significantly less when compared with private or international adoptions, which can range anywhere from $4,000 to more than $30,000. Did you know that Congress has made federal tax credits available for foster care adoptions? Also, the President signed a revised adoption tax credit, increasing the amount of the credit to $10,000 for all adoptive families. The child’s adoption does not end financial assistance, but instead they are eligible for federal or state subsidies to help take care of the costs associated with post-adoption adjustments.
Regarding the difficulty of adopting children from foster care, the truth is Congress has streamlined the foster care adoption process through the enactment of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. The Adoption and Safe Families Act makes certain that children in foster care, who cannot be reunited with their birth parents, are cleared for adoption and placed with permanent families as soon as possible.
Misconception #2: All children in foster care have some physical, mental or emotional condition that qualifies them as having special needs.
Truth: It’s unfair to lump all children in foster care together to create some sort of “poster child”. Each child’s background and situation is different. Children in foster care are in the system because their parents weren’t taking proper care of them, neglecting or abusing them—not because they did anything wrong or because they have “problems”. When a child is removed from his/her parents and the only home they have ever known, it is a traumatic experience. And especially because they have experienced such trauma in their young lives, these children need loving homes now.
Misconception #3: Children adopted from foster care are carrying too much baggage.
Truth: Children in foster care, like any other child, can thrive in a loving, safe, and stable home. In fact, children in foster care have grown up to become U.S. and state senators, doctors, lawyers, teachers, counselors, nurses, and even Miss USA!
Misconception #4: Adoptive parents must be the “All-American” couple.
Truth: One-third of adoptions of children from foster care are fulfilled by a single parent. You don’t have to be married, or wealthy, or of a certain sexual orientation. Your commitment to be a good parent is the most important consideration.
Misconception #5: The final misconception is legally impossible. The myth is that state agencies withhold information on the child’s past in order to place that child with a family.
Truth: State agencies are required to provide all available information about the child to the parents potentially wishing to adopt.
Let’s review a few alarming statistics about children in foster care.
Children in Care – National Statistics
There are 400,540 children in the U.S. foster care system. Most children are placed temporarily into the system because of parental abuse or neglect. The median age of a child in foster care is 9 years old.
|Younger than 1 year||6%|
|Age 1-5 years||32%|
|Age 6-10 years||21%|
|Age 11-15 years||23%|
|Age 16-18 years||18%|
These figures may be startling and are certainly disturbing. CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County is working very hard to break the cycle of child abuse and provide every child in foster care with an Advocate—and a permanent home as quickly as is possible.
We are in need of bilingual volunteers. You can help us help these children when they need us most. Bilingual volunteers can converse with a child in his or her own language, allowing the child to experience a small, vital, sense of normalcy. As a volunteer Advocate, you may be the most stable presence in a child’s life during a very trying time. You will speak up for the child, making sure his or her best interests are being met and making recommendations in court.
Please don’t be intimidated! You will receive over 30 hours of training, have the ability to request an experienced Advocate as a mentor, and you will be assigned to a CASA Case Supervisor for additional assistance and ongoing support. Please remember, CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County and (more importantly) these children need you.