Foster-care adoption involves a child in foster care because their biological parents had their rights terminated by the court. The causes are often related to such issues as neglect, physical abuse, or substance abuse by the parents. The children placed in foster care are cared for by foster parents or organizations until the biological parents resume their role as caregivers. Children placed in foster care often have siblings also placed in foster care. The judge creates a reunification plan with a time limit. If a parent fails to meet those expectations, the court terminates the parental rights, and the child is eligible for adoption.
Who can adopt
The court generally starts the adoption process by searching for relatives. If no relative is found, they are then placed with a foster family. One or both of their foster parents may adopt a child, but the foster family may choose not to adopt. The child can also get adopted by another adoptive family. Adoptive families need not become foster parents before pursuing a straight adoption from foster care.
Which families qualify
Many single or married adults qualify to adopt foster children. Common examples include:
- Foster parents who the child was initially placed with.
- Families who want to help children in need.
- Families willing to adopt regardless of race, gender or special needs.
- Families who wish to adopt but cannot afford to do through other means.
The typical child
As pointed out, the children’s biological parents had their parental rights terminated. There are many variables involved, but some common factors include the following:
- The children are older than two years old, and many are older than eight.
- They often have developmental issues due to neglect, abuse or living in foster care.
Parents must be prepared to help their foster or adopted children with these and other traumatic issues.
A rewarding way to build a family
While there are clear challenges, Kentucky families from all income brackets and backgrounds find the experience very rewarding. Hopeful parents will undoubtedly wish to research on their own. Still, it is often helpful to work with an attorney who can help families navigate the legal and administrative challenges of the foster adoption process.