Adopt From Foster Care
To adopt a child through SaintA, you must be licensed as a foster parent first, and the child must be in your home for at least six months as a foster placement before an adoption can be finalized. Children in foster care have experienced some level of adversity simply by being removed from their homes; adoptions from foster care are called “special needs” adoptions.
It is important to realize that 70% of children in foster care are reunited with their biological parents and will NOT be available for adoption. Foster care is meant to be temporary, and the goal is always reunification. Foster parents must understand what is referred to as this legal risk in advance, and they must be willing to assume this risk in exchange for the possibility of ultimately adopting the child. Particularly if you are looking to adopt an infant, you should look to private or other kinds of adoption first, not adoption from foster care.
If the biological parents’ rights ARE terminated, the foster parents are allowed to adopt the child from foster care. As many as 100 children from infants to 17 are removed from their homes in Milwaukee County each month because they are not safe and placed in the foster care system. More than 2,000 children are in foster care at any given time. Therefore, a diverse group of special needs adoptive parents are always needed to provide nurturing, stable and loving forever homes for some of the most vulnerable kids in society, in Milwaukee County and beyond. A willingness to adopt siblings is always necessary.
Compare the different types of adoption to better understand how each of them works.
Myths vs. Facts
Here are two myths we would like to clear up about adopting from foster care:
Myth: “I don’t have any children, and to be a foster parent you need parenting experience.”
Not true! Many of our foster parents do not have children of their own. They are responsible people who have made a commitment to children and demonstrate an ability and willingness to learn all they can about parenting.
Myth: “I could never be a foster parent because I’m not married and don’t make a lot of money. I don’t even own my own house.”
There are no such requirements. Foster parents can be married, single, partnered, or divorced; a homeowner or a renter. The only financial requirement is that you have enough of an income to support yourself and your family aside from the reimbursement you get to care for foster children.
Myth: “Foster parents have to stay at home with the children, and I work full time. I guess that excludes me.”
No, it doesn’t. Many foster children attend day care while foster parents work outside the home. However, we respect a child’s natural schedule of eating, sleeping and waking, therefore we ask that our foster parents only work first shift so they are able to maintain those natural patterns.
Myth: “My children are grown and out of the house. I’m too old to be a foster parent.”
There is no age requirement (other than you must be at least 21). Many “empty nesters” find foster parenting to be a rewarding experience.
Myth: “Foster children have been abused so much that they’re beyond repair. I wouldn’t really be making a difference, anyway.”
Children are amazingly resilient. Foster parents can make the difference by providing a structured, nurturing environment. We need to remember that these children will grow up to be adults in our society. How we respond to their needs now will largely determine what kinds of citizens they will be in the future.
Myth: “Once I take in a foster child, I’m on my own without any help.”
Children need stability, and SaintA offers foster parents support to help maintain children on an even keel. For starters, before you even take in your first child, you will receive training to prepare you and your family. And there are also ongoing training and opportunities to network with other foster parents. Respite care is available for those times you need a break.
Myth: “I would have to provide medical insurance for a foster child in my home.”
Foster parents do not pay any of a child’s medical expenses, other than over-the-counter medicines and supplies.
Myth: “Teenagers are more difficult to parent.”
Teenagers aren’t perfect, but who is? Teenagers desire someone who can provide a stable environment and who truly cares about their well-being and future. They need someone like you to be a positive role model. And, again, we offer you assistance throughout your fostering experience.
Myth: “I will get too attached and will have my heart broken.”
Love for and attachment to the children in your home does occur. As a foster parent, you will have the ability to provide a positive influence and make a lifetime of difference for the child and the birth family. Your heart will grow with love for each child you take into your home. And many foster children maintain some contact – such as an occasional phone call — with loving foster parents over the years.
Myth: “There’s too much red tape and bureaucracy involved in adopting a child from foster care.”
Congress has streamlined the foster care adoption process through enactment of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. This law ensures that children in foster care who cannot be reunited with their birth parents are freed for adoption and placed with permanent families as quickly as possible.
Myth: “Adopting a child from foster care is expensive.”
Many prospective parents do not know that adopting children from foster care is virtually free, while private or international adoptions can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $30,000 or more. A growing number of companies and government agencies offer adoption assistance as part of their employee benefit packages, including time off for maternity/paternity leave, financial incentives and other benefits. In addition, Congress has made federal tax credits available for foster care adoptions to help offset required fees, court costs, legal and travel expenses. Access IRS Form 8839
, or call 800-829-3676 or visit www.irs.gov
for more information.
How long does the whole process take? View the licensing timeline.
If you’re not sure you’re ready to become an adoptive parent, but would like to help in other ways, please visit our How You Can Help section.
For more information on our services, please visit our Resources section for contact information, meeting schedules, forms and more.