Across the county, foster parents take children in need into their homes. In some cases, these same children become a part of their families forever through adoption. New Jersey foster parent Karen Booker knows this story well.
What has made such an impact on Karen’s life was her decision to foster over 50 children, 3 of whom she has adopted. Karen touched so many lives during her 5 years of being a licensed foster parent and continues to keep her home open to children in care.
The Booker’s journey to becoming the Outstanding Adoptive Family of the Year at Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) and the Division of Child Protection and Permanency’s (DCP&P) Annual Recognition Brunch began when her biological children were getting ready to go to college. Rather than having another child, she said she decided to foster because she “knew that there were a lot of children out there who needed homes and needed love.”
The journey from foster care to adoption can be a long, trying and uncertain road. The Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) annual Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report for 2015 found that the national average for time spent between becoming a foster child and being adopted was 31.7 months. While that may seem like a long time, it marks a noticeable improvement from 2003, when the ACF found the national average to be 44.5 months.
Spending close to two years in foster care may seem like an eternity, but the process takes this long to ensure the best for the child. Prior to 1997, states ran foster care systems in accordance with the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980. The act promoted permanency by requiring states to make reasonable efforts to prevent the removal of children from their homes, as well as reunite the children who had been removed. Continue reading
Thanks to advances in technology making DNA testing a more affordable option for many, a growing number of people across the country are now using it to trace their genealogy. While many are checking to see if royal blood runs through their veins, adoptees — from private adoption agencies and foster care alike — are using it for a much humbler cause: to find their biological parents.
The Link Between DNA Tests and Foster Care
While many may consider DNA testing as something adoptees from private adoption agencies might use, adoptees from foster care are no different. Many adults who were formerly in foster care may not remember their parents, while others may have been spared details from their adopted parents. In most cases, adopted kids want to know the same thing: where they came from. Continue reading
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.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Many people do. In fact, in a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll on CBS.com in January 2013, 56% of Americans said they believed. Some may have their doubts, but those who have experienced love at first sight say for certain that it’s real.
Not everyone who falls in love at first sight does it romantically. Parents telling the story of the first time they saw their child often describe their depth of emotion in much the same way as someone might describe the first time they saw their significant other: an overwhelming feeling of destiny or that they would do anything to be with that person and keep them safe from harm.
Foster parents who experience these emotions for a child placed in their home may have a difficult road ahead of them, since the goal of fostering is not adoption but giving children safe and stable places to call home until they can be safely reunited with their parents. However, in some cases, reunification can’t occur, and these children become free for adoption. Continue reading