If you are considering adoption, you must fully transition and commit before beginning the adoption process. As prospective adoptive parents, you have to decide what type of adoption you are interested in pursuing, which depends on several factors. Do you want to adopt a baby or an older child? Do you want the birthparents to be involved? How much money are you able to spend on the process? These are all questions that should be answered as a family before moving forward with adoption. There are many misconceptions that come from not only private adoption but foster care adoption as well. There are articles on top of articles on the differences between the two but we wanted to simplify the advantages and disadvantages of both options to make it easier on all hopeful adoptive parents.
The Pro’s and Con’s of Foster Care/ State Adoption
The advantages include:
- Cost of Adoption is minimal: Expenses are none or minimal. Additionally many families are eligible for the federal tax credit up to $13,190 in tax year 2014. Don’t choose Foster Care Adoption because it is the least expensive option, remember to choose the route that best fits your family.
- Provide Child Permanent Home- There is no greater gift than opening your doors and providing a child in need a home and family that they can call their own
- Birth Parents Can’t Change Mind – A common fear in domestic adoption is that the birth mother can change her mind before the adoption is complete. In foster care adoption, the biological parents’ parental rights have already been terminated before the child is available for adoption. Thus, there are never any failed adoptions because of a birth parent changes their mind.
The disadvantages include:
- Uncertainty: Almost 50% of children in foster care are reunified with their family of origin. This means that there is a potentially painful separation for both parties.
- Infants Aren’t Usually Available: Because of the multiple chances biological parents have to rehabilitate themselves before their parental rights are terminated, most of the children that become available for adoption when they are older.
- Emotional Damage on Child: The child has already experienced a separation from his/her biological parents and may even have been the victim of neglect or child abuse. This may affect the child both currently and as they get older.
Statistics on Foster Care Adoption
- More than 60% of children in foster care spend two to five years in the system before being adopted. Almost 20% spend five or more years in foster care before being adopted. Some never get adopted.
- Of the over 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., 114,556 cannot be returned to their families and are waiting to be adopted.
- The age distribution of children in foster care waiting for adoptions is as follows:
1-3 years = 26%
4-6 years = 19%
7-9 years = 15%
10-14 years = 20%
15+ years = 12%g
- One in three children adopted from foster care are adopted by parents who are a different race. Most adopted children from foster care are non-white, while the majority (73%) of the children’s adopted parents is white.
- Nearly 40% of children adopted from foster care live in families with three or more adopted and birth children, making their family structures more complex than other adopted children.
The Pro’s and Con’s of Working with a Private Adoption Agency
There are a number of benefits that come with choosing private agency to help with your adoption. Agencies typically are skilled at matching children to families in addition to being familiar with the various legal matters that go along with adoption. In most instances, an adoption agency can help prospective parents with a wide range of services, such as finding the biological parent of the child to organizing and filing the adoption paperwork. In addition, adoption agencies can help with home inspections, getting the necessary consents, and even helping parents understand various state laws that deal with adoptions. With all of the advantages comes disadvantages that are brought on when choosing adoption through an agency rather than foster care adoption. Agencies often continue to offer any future support you or your child may need as they grow older. Similar to choosing fostercare, in addition to advantages there are also disadvantages by choosing this path of adoption.
The advantages include:
- Greater control over choice for birth parents and adoptive parents. Working with a private adoption agency allows all parties involved to make choices about the baby and each other.
- More information. Direct contact means more extensive background information for the child, including medical, social, and religious histories.
- More immediate bonding. Private adoption allows the newborn baby to bypass foster care in a temporary home or an orphanage.
- Chance of shorter search. Families who want to adopt sooner choose private adoption because wait times are typically shorter on average than foster care adoption.
The disadvantages include:
- Unpredictability of costs. . Even though the costs are higher and may be more unpredictable, families are still eligible for the federal tax credit upon finalization (which was $13,190 for the 2014 tax year)
- Inability to select the gender of the child.
- Greater stress. Because of the active role that birth parent(s) and adoptive parents play in a private adoption, there can be a great deal of stress. Birth parents can change their minds about placing the child after birth. However, the length of time during which a birth parent can change his/her mind is governed by law and varies from state to state.
Wrapping it All up
At the start of writing this blog, we asked our followers on different social media platforms their opinions about the topic a long with any personal real life involvements that they might have had along the way.
“We have adopted privately and also foster to adopt. I always tell couples that want to adopt their first child, fostering is not for the weak. It’s a long, emotional drama filled journey that ends in absolutely the most joyous event, the adoption.”
While there are many cons to adopting, many adoptive parents agree that the pros outweigh the cons. If adopting is important to you, choose the route that accommodates your lifestyle, financial situation and emotional state. Remember, just as families don’t get to pick their biological children, many times they don’t get to pick an adoptive child either. Flexibility, an open mind and an open heart are must haves for a successful adoption.