Wednesday, February 12, 2020

We asked, you answered: What are the top facts you wish people understood about either foster care or adoption?

We asked our followers what they wish people understood about adoption and foster care and got some insightful answers:

On differences between adoption and foster care:

Honestly, just getting across the fact that they aren't the same thing would be a step in the right direction. - Michael B.

They aren't the same thing and aren't meant to be. - Jamie J.

Foster care is not there for adoption and adoption is a long, expensive process with a waiting list. When putting a baby up for adoption the mother picks the family while she is still pregnant. You can't just walk into a foster home and be like "I want to adopt that child." They would tell you no because they are working to get that child back to their family. Foster care and adoption are not the same thing. - Desere O.

I would say that giving up a baby for adoption does not mean foster care. It means a private adoption agency, and everything is taken care of. One can choose to pick the parents or not, and one can choose to have an open adoption or not. I think most pregnant women fear that the child will go to foster care. - Shannon F.

If you’re pregnant and don’t want to raise your baby, you can handpick a couple to adopt him or her. He or she is not going into the foster care system. That’s not what it’s designed for. - Jamie L. (foster mother)

There are over 30 couples waiting to adopt for every 1 child that is put up for adoption. Babies generally do not lack homes and do not go into foster care at birth due to lack of a home. - Carissa J.

On adoption:

Adoption isn't a magic wand. It hurts. Your first reaction when someone is facing a crisis pregnancy shouldn't be to pressure them into adoption any more than it should be to pressure them into abortion. Whatever your intent, pressuring pregnant women to do what you think is best is harmful and unsupportive. - Sarah Y.

Adoption is a lot harder than people think. Honoring the birth parents is the right thing to do for the children as well as the birth parents. You can honor the role the birth parents played even if they weren’t great role models. They gave life to your kids, honor that. - Karis J.

Adoption is not a simple alternative to abortion. Many birth parents were instead torn between parenting and adoption, not adoption or abortion. Stop thanking birth moms for choosing life without knowing their story just because you assume the only other option was abortion. - Amber J.
  • Open adoptions are not legally enforceable and have been known to be closed by insecure adoptive parents. [Editor's note: this can vary by state.]
  • Adoption causes trauma to the child and mother and extended family (siblings, grandparents, etc) even if the child is placed with the loveliest family.
  • You will grieve the loss of your child placed for adoption. 
  • There are a lot of organisations that will help you keep your family intact - help you finish school, help you with child care, help with accommodation. Adoption should be the very last resort before all possibilities of parenting the child yourself are explored, because there is much grief in family separation.
This is a good list by Saving Our Sisters - who helps families considering adoption explore all the options and be fully informed of their decision before making the very permanent decision to sign away parental rights to their children: "Facts professionals don't disclose to expectant parents." - Malessa B.

All adoption starts with loss. For the bio parent and for the child. All my kids are adopted so I know this first hand. You have to stop just tossing it around like it's the easiest thing in the world to go through. And if you are an AP or FP [adoptive parent or foster parent] you better be educating yourself on all these issues and more. You owe it to your babies. - Louanne M.

People don’t give away a child. You make a plan for the best life for your kiddo. Sometimes that plan includes other people full time and forever. Open adoption let’s a person be a small part of the plan. No one is disposable. - Jennifer M.

On foster care:

The idea that no one cares about foster kids is a huge misconception. There are people waiting to adopt older kids (not just newborns). Kids in foster care are matched according to their specific needs with adoptive parents. It’s not like when they first come into foster care where their first priority is just finding them a safe place to sleep. A lot of thought goes into ensuring that they get the adoptive match right so that they make sure it’s forever. Kids are waiting, families are waiting, it’s not a simple process. A lot of children in foster care aren’t even legally free for adoption. You don’t just decide to adopt from foster care and pick a kid out of a catalog. - Laura R.

Your politicians taking kids from situations that are objectively better than the foster care system is neither something to be proud of nor justification for killing babies. - Jarland D.

Many children in foster care should not have been taken from their families. Those children suffer as if they had been kidnapped. - Rita G.

Foster kids aren’t in care because they did something wrong. I was shocked that people thought this until we announced we were adopting. I was surprised how often we were asked what was wrong with them. - Emily C.

Like (almost) everything else, the foster care system has many good people with great intentions to love and care for kids. - Karen T.

Being part of a successful family reunification (as a foster parent) is one of the most satisfying things you could ever do. - Lori S.

Birth parents still have legal rights over a child in foster care, so they can’t simply be adopted. - Stephanie R. (This point was echoed by many commenters.)

Foster kids are awaiting the return of family that did not abort and did not give up on them. Typically in treatment or doing time. It’s temporary and they are not up for adoption. - Kelly F.

There aren’t “thousands of abandoned, unwanted and available children” in foster care. The vast majority of children in foster care are there temporarily. One of the major goals of the foster care system is to reunite children with their families. I’m an adoptive mom, in an open adoption. - Louise C.

And lastly...

So many people never mention that they were adopted or spent time in foster care as a child. It just doesn't come up or they don't want to talk about it or might not even know themselves. But pro-choice people talk like no one adopts and no one fosters. As a child my cousin, a neighbor, and then my middle school best friend were adopted. My high school best friend had been in foster. My husband was adopted. These people are everywhere, adoption and fostering touch so many more lives than some people ever notice. - Emilie M.

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