There are approximately 104,000 children in foster care available for adoption. If you decide to open your home to one of these deserving souls, the process is just as thorough as with any other adoption, but often less expensive. As a foster care adoption lawyer in Summerville, SC, here are common questions our office receives about this process.
How do I qualify?
While it is not mandatory, you should volunteer to foster children first. That will put you in contact with possible adoptees, while also establishing a record with social services. When you are ready to adopt, they will assess your ability to provide for physical and mental health needs, advance educational opportunities and meet social needs.
It is easier to meet these standards with a child who has already lived with you. You likely already met the requirements, and if this child is thriving, it is easier to successfully adopt them. Also, social services will already have run a background check on you and assessed your suitability as a parent. If you go into this process without establishing a foster record first, prepare to undergo screening and a longer adoption process.
How long does it take?
The first step is to terminate the parental rights of the biological parents. Once that concludes, you start the court process of formally adopting the child.
This can take anywhere from nine to 18 months (especially if it is contested), but you will have no shortage of things you need to do. If you have not already had a home study and background check, that happens first. Once approved, you attend orientation and preparation classes so you know what to expect. Even children adopted into happy environments require time to adjust, and these courses help you facilitate that process.
Will this be expensive?
When you adopt from foster care, the costs are much lower than with private or international adoptions. If you work entirely with a public agency, you receive subsidies that will likely eliminate most costs. Working with a private-public partnership to secure the adoption will incur more out-of-pocket costs, but nothing comparable to other adoption processes.
What is a caseworker?
Every child in the foster system has a caseworker. Their job is to assure that the child’s needs are met and to assess wellbeing. You will be in contact with the caseworker the most because that individual knows the most about the child and whether your home environment is suitable. Caseworkers are not sole deciders of whether an adoption is appropriate, but their reports carry substantial weight.
Are these successful adoptions?
If you are flexible and reasonable, you will likely find this to be a fulfilling experience, even if there are challenges. Be realistic with your expectations and learn as much as you can about the child, especially if there are mental or physical health issues. Know the services to which you can turn for support, and maintain good health insurance in case your child has medical issues or requires counseling. If you go into this with your eyes and heart open, chances are you will be a successful adoptive parent.
Lister Law Office is a foster care adoption lawyer in Summerville, SC. If you are looking to adopt a foster child, call us today to schedule a consultation.
Categorised in: Foster Care Adoption Lawyer
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