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.
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.
Why you should choose adopting from foster care over international adoption: The misconceptions are baseless.
One misconception that might skew potential adoptive parents toward international adoption is the way they size up the issue here at home. The study found that 60% of people considering adoption underestimated the number of foster children awaiting adoption in the US. Another, more alarming trend in thought is sure to leave those considering adoption averse to adopting from foster care: half of the people who took the DHHS survey said they thought children end up in foster care because of delinquency.
This is certainly not the case. None of the more than 100,000 children on the adoption waiting list in our country landed there because they were bad kids. These children are not perpetrators – in fact the opposite is true – they are victims of child abuse and neglect and deserve a loving home environment just like anyone else.
Why you should choose adopting from foster care over international adoption: These children are our neighbors and friends.
We know a lot about these children – we know their histories, their strengths and weaknesses, their struggles and triumphs. We know where they are from, the things they enjoy and how they handle challenges. Most importantly we know that each and every one of these children wants to become an integral part of our communities.
On the other hand, we simply cannot know whether the information being given about a particular child in China or Russia, for instance, is honest or accurate. We can, however, place more trust in the American child welfare system. In New Jersey, state law dictates that a child’s complete medical and developmental history be disclosed when adopting through foster care, making it much easier to plan ahead for the well being of your child. Even the rights of the adopted child are protected in our state – last year Governor Chris Christie signed a law allowing adoptees to access their birth certificates in 2017.
Ridding ourselves of misconceptions about adoption from foster care would go a long way toward lowering the number of foster children awaiting adoption and at the same time, provide a more stable future for thousands of American children. But the benefits don’t end there.
Why you should choose adopting from foster care over international adoption: You invest wisely.
Adoption from foster care is significantly less expensive than international adoption and private agency adoption, which could both cost adoptive parents upward of $50,000. No wonder then, that the DHHS survey found that international adoption was most common among those with high incomes.
On the other hand, adoption from foster care pays dividends both to the child and the parent. Parents across the nation who have adopted through foster care may be entitled to monthly state subsidies to be used to offset costs associated with school, activities and basic necessities until their child turns 18. More importantly though, parents are rewarded with knowing they helped build a promising future for a youth who would be less fortunate without them right here in the US.
Are you considering adoption? Here’s how you can help New Jersey’s children today.
Do you live elsewhere in the US and want to get involved? Follow these simple steps.