Foster children and the parents who support them are our neighbors and friends. It’s interesting, then, that some of us think of foster children as delinquents and foster parents as people who care less about children and more about the check that comes with them every month. Many of us also mistakenly feel that the state agencies that pair vulnerable children with their forever families are, for one reason or another, not as reliable as private domestic adoption agencies. If you’re considering adoption, it’s important to put these and other misconceptions behind you so you can make an informed decision that meets the needs of your family and your community.
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS), there are more than 100,000 foster children across the US who are currently waiting to be adopted. More than 1,000 of those children are waiting to be adopted right here in New Jersey. Each one has a face, a name and a history of abuse and neglect. Each one deserves a chance at a promising future and a welcoming home just like any other child. Foster care adoption is often their best chance.
Adoption from Foster Care and Private Domestic Adoption: Why Don’t More People Adopt From Foster Care?
Regrettably, many of these children’s stories go untold, and many of the stories that are told go unheard. These children’s lack of exposure to the public eye leaves about 60 percent of people underestimating the number of foster children awaiting adoption and another 50 percent assuming incorrectly that these children landed in foster care because of delinquency. These misconceptions correlate with another set of numbers: in 2013, 92,000 of the more than 400,000 children in foster care had case plans that aimed at adoption. Yet only about 50,000 of those children exited foster care after being adopted.
The ever-escalating cost of college tuition has hit every college eligible student in the country. What was once an affordable opportunity and education has now become an almost extravagant luxury. However, no one has been hit harder than those who already have had to overcome innumerable obstacles: foster youth.
College tuition has steadily increased across the country every year at a rate way outpacing inflation since 1978. The rising expenses of education have put families in a financial chokehold, causing many students to mortgage their futures by taking on large amounts of debt in the form of student loans.
This trend has especially hurt youth from foster, adoptive and kinship backgrounds. While it’s commonly believed that, because of their past, these youths will be eligible for a nearly full-ride to college, that expectation is wrong, according to Foster and Adoptive Family Services’ Director of Scholarship Programs Millicent Barry.
“No one should expect a free ride,” Barry said. Continue reading
Many people considering adoption quickly find out that there are three avenues to do so: adoption from foster care, private domestic adoption and international adoption. We hear about international adoption in the news as it gains traction in celebrity circles, but we hear much less about adoption from foster care, where the need is much greater. Here’s why you should choose adopting from foster care over international adoption.
Americans adopted more than a quarter million children from countries other than the US over the last 15 years – what does this say about people’s perceptions of the US child welfare system?
At this very moment there are more than 1,000 foster children awaiting adoption in New Jersey and ten times that amount across the rest of the nation. When the need is so high here at home, why are Americans adopting children from other countries? A US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) study suggests misconceptions about foster care are leaving potential adoptive parents looking elsewhere to expand their families.
Should gay couples be allowed to adopt a child from foster care?
For some in Congress, the answer is no. Two congressional Republicans have introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, which is aimed as an effort to protect adoption and foster care providers from an “anti-faith bias.”
But according to critics, the bill, which was introduced to Congress in late July, is really aimed at nullifying “state-level laws that require child welfare agencies to let gay couples adopt children.” Continue reading
Picture this: You see a photograph of an adorable child in need of a loving and caring home. As you look into his eyes, you want nothing more than to see him happy and to be a part of making that happen. You take all of the necessary steps (home study, training, etc.) to become a foster adoptive parent and you gain access to more information. Once all of the proper steps have been taken, you finally meet him. You instantly fall in love and proceed with everything needed to begin the adoption process. The child is now in his new home, and after a few months you begin to notice things that were not as obvious as before. Not too long after that, you begin to realize that you may have made the wrong decision in bringing him into your home. It can be heartbreaking, to say the least. While it is a harsh reality, it’s a reality that more than a few homes have to face – and it is worth addressing. Continue reading
Open Adoption Records Law in NJ Seeks to Protect Both Adopted Children and Birth Parents
Photo by Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen
In the United States, adoption is looked at very differently today than it was in previous years. Instead of being veiled in secrecy, more and more adoptions now take place as open adoptions. Childwelfare.gov defines open adoptions as a form of adoption that allows birth parents to know and have contact with the adoptive parents and the adopted child.For those adopted prior to this trend, a court order is needed in order to see one’s own birth certificate in most states.
On May 27, 2014, New Jersey joined the list of states that allows adoptees unrestricted access to their birth records. As reported by the Associated Press, open adoption records are also allowed in Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Continue reading