Family given priority in adoption?
Help! I need stories/advice about a situation. My friends have a foster baby that has been with them a year and a half. It looks like this case will be adoption. Now, out of state family members are interested in adopting if the child is available. They have never met the child, sent photos, letters, or gifts.
My friend is frantic because they love this baby and this is the only family and home the baby has known. Do foster parents have priority in adopting because of attachment? What if both parents surrender rights specifically to these relatives (right before having their rights terminated)? Can they do that? Thank you in advance for your experience and advice!
We went through a little bit of a different situation with a prior failed adoption. We were the family members who found out about a baby who at that time was about 2 months old, supposedly our cousin.
We were given instant visitation to the child because we were family, and it was said we would get to adopt the baby. (We had a homestudy complete and had been trying to adopt for a few months prior to finding out about this child.) Everything was a go for us it seemed, and we kept contact and court dates and everything till the baby was 6 months old.
The judges in his case were taking into consideration the baby's attatchment to the foster family (at 6 months old) and wanted the transition to happen ASAP so he would be able to attatch. It wasn't until he was about 4 months old that the foster family decided they wanted to adopt him.
Anyway, DNA results finally came back and he wasn't a relative afterall, so the courts said the foster family got to adopt him, not us.
But, point of the story.......... when the baby was 2 months old and only with foster parents a short while, no issue he was going to family.......... at 6 months when he could form a bond it started to be a concern with the judge and workers.
Parents had named us as adoptive parents when they thought our cousin was the baby's dad. When DNA came back different, the mom said she didn't care which family adopted him between the two of us. The courts ruled for the foster family due to the bond.
I would assume that a year and a half time frame would concern the judge and GAL about the childs attatchment. I say tell your friend to stay as involved as she can and make sure they voice thier concerns and wants to adopt the child.

Good luck,
Happy Carrie
In Ohio where I am, family is typically given priority over foster parents when a child's case goes to adoption. Even if the family has never met the child or is from another state. Sometimes it can take a long time for word to pass through the system and the family that a child has been in care. Especially in the cases of some more distant relatives. Of course, the family still has to pass a homestudy and be approved, but CPS likes to keep families together. Sometimes exceptions can be made, but usually a judge will rule for the family over the foster family.

In TN, once a child has been with a foster family for a year, the foster family has first choice at adoption.
You know, while I agree that family is usually given priority over foster families, I believe that after 1-1/2 years with your friends they will be able to have a bonding assessment done to prove the baby is well bonded to them and it would be detrimental to have him/her moved.

I truly believe in reunification with the parents if at all possible, however, I'm not sure I agree with moving a child from the only home they have known after attaching to the only "parents" he has known. JMHO

I was told our kids (21 and 7 months old at the time of adoption) PROBABLY would have been moved to relatives if there had been interest. We would have had the right to fight for adoption, but at that point it would have been at our own expense....which we would have gladly done. The bp's on our case also specified that they only wanted us to adopt, and not family, but I was told that while they can make the request it does not guarantee because they children are technically in state custody and not bp's.

I hope all goes well for your friends, but as fp's we have to be prepared for family to step forward at any time. That is why foster/adopt is such a risk for someone specifically wanting to adopt.
UPDATE: Family was not approved and will not be able to get their foster license.
Congrats to your friends and thier family!

Happy Carrie
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