My wife and I are not rich by any stretch of the imagination! We always wanted to adopt but found the costs for private or international adoption to be a huge barrier. However, we ended up adopting six children and are currently licensed foster parents. How did we do it? Through foster care adoption.
One major myth about adoption is that the costs are astronomical. While that may be true with private adoption, nothing could be further from the truth with foster care adoption. Foster care adoption is practically free because the state picks up most of the major costs attached to it. Because the children who are available for adoption are state wards, the state is the legal guardian, and therefore is responsible for the care, custody, and control of these children. Because of that, adopting a foster child is practically free. Please check with the state you reside in as many of these rules vary from state to state.
1. No application fees
Many private adoption agencies charge an application fee to get the process started. Though there is still a lengthy application process with a foster care adoption agency, there may not be a fee attached. This may vary from agency to agency. But, waiving the application helps a prospective adoptive couple to jump right into the process.
2. No home study fees
A home study is an investigative report that an adoption agency conducts that determines whether a family is qualified to adopt. Some adoption agencies charge a fee for a home study. However, most foster adoption agencies do not.
3. No training fees
Training is required to become a foster parent. Training fees may be waived if a foster parent wants to adopt. Depending on the child you choose to adopt, training may be waived altogether, especially if you are related to the child you wish to adopt.
4. No attorney’s fees
Lastly, there’s no way around it: you will need an attorney whether you adopt privately or publicly. Attorney’s fees can be quite exorbitant in private adoptions. However, with foster adoption, these fees are either reimbursed or are waived completely. Many attorneys are appointed to represent the children by the state. But if you need to shop for an attorney, check with other foster parents for recommendations of good attorneys.
So, if the cost for foster adoption is practically zero, why don’t more people do it? Well, different people have different motivations to adopt including infertility, a passion to help children and youth, a calling to follow their faith or a desire to help their community, and more. Some people do not want to get involved with the child welfare system. Others do not feel equipped to care for children who have been abused and neglected which is what you will get if you adopt through the foster care system. For us, it was our faith that propelled us! Whatever the barrier or objection or concern or fear about foster adoption, know this: financial issues should not be one of them. Do some research in your own state and county and find out the requirements in your area. Foster adoption will be difficult, but you won’t go broke doing it.