You Have Questions. We Have Answers.
Q: Why consider foster care adoption?
A: Because every child deserves a safe home and loving family.
Q: What types of adoption are available?
A: The main types of adoption are:
- Adopting a child from the U.S. foster care system, which is our focus at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
- Adopting an infant in the United States, often called private infant adoption
- Adopting a child from another country, often called international adoption
- Adopting a family member (kinship)
- Adopting a stepchild
Q: What are the qualifications to adopt? For example, do we as adoptive parents have to be the same race or have the same ethnic background as the child we adopt? Do we have to be married, or within a certain age range or income level?
A: If you adopt from foster care, the answer to all of the above is mostly “no,” although most states require you to be at least 21 years of age to adopt. Families are as diverse as the children who are available to be adopted.
Q: What qualities are important for parents who adopt?
A: Traits like flexibility, patience, good problem-solving skills, and a willingness to identify local community resources are all critical. Children don’t need perfect parents, just loving individuals willing to meet the unique challenges of parenting and make a lifetime commitment to caring for and nurturing them.
Q: How much does adoption cost?
A: It depends on a number of factors, such as type of adoption, the agency through which you adopt, the state in which you live, attorney fees and whether or not travel is required. Foster care adoption can cost $0 to $2,500, while private infant or international adoption might cost $7,000 to $40,000 or more. Subsidies are often available when adopting from foster care. You can also talk to your employer about adoption benefits and consult your tax advisor about possible tax credits.
Q: What is the adoption process?
A: The adoption process can vary depending on the type of adoption, the agency through which you adopt, the state in which you live and the state or county of residence of the child. Once you choose an adoption agency, the case worker will walk you through the process. In all cases, a home study and background check will be necessary. In addition, adoption preparation classes are required for foster care adoption.
Q: What is a home study?
A: A home study is an in-depth application and interview process with a case worker that involves in-person interviews, reference checks, background checks and home visits. The study is not standardized and may vary from state-to-state and agency-to-agency. The average home study usually takes three to six months to complete.
Q: How long does the adoption process take?
A: There are many variables that determine how long it will take to complete the adoption process, such as whether adoption preparation classes are required, the length of time to complete the home study and the length of time to identify a child for your family. On average, the adoption process can take one to two years.
Q: Who are the children in foster care?
A: Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. As victims of child abuse, neglect and/or abandonment, they are removed from their homes because their birth family is unable or unwilling to provide a safe environment for them. Ages range from infant to teen, although according to the 2016 AFCARS report, the average age of a child in foster care in the United States is 8.5 years old. Virtually every race, ethnic group and socio-economic category is represented. Some children are waiting alone and others are waiting with siblings.
Q: How do I find the right adoption agency for me?
A: To find an adoption agency that is a good fit for your family, compare information from several agencies after asking these questions:
- Is the agency licensed by the state?
- How many children does the agency place each year?
- What resources will you use to search for a child for my family?
- What criteria does the agency use to match children with families?
- Can the agency provide references from parents who recently adopted?
- What resources does your agency provide during and after the adoption process?