The Steps to Fost/Adopt

The terms “foster adopt” or “fost-adopt” refer — not surprisingly — to foster adoption, which is one of the adoption options families choose from.

A happy family in the midst of the foster adopt process

In a U.S. foster adoption, the fees are minimal to non-existent, wait times can be shorter than in private or international adoption, and there are many younger children, toddlers, and even infants available for adoption. In many cases, subsidies are available for the child’s living expenses and healthcare, even after the adoption is completed.

How Do I Begin the Foster Adopt Process?

  1. Find an agency. To locate a public agency, find the Department of Public Welfare or Department of Social Services section on your state government’s website. Many private agencies handle foster adoptions, as well; search for one in the Building Your Family adoption agency directory.
  2. Complete an application and home study. The time-frame for processing depends on the agency you work with — anywhere from two months to a year.
  3. Attend parenting classes. Most public agencies require adoption and parenting training, which typically takes four to twelve weeks.
  4. Wait to be matched with a child. Wait times vary widely depending on the restrictions you specify as to race, gender, age, and health. For African-American and biracial children, particularly boys, the wait can be as short as a month or two.
  5. Welcome him or her into your home. Once your child is home with you, the wait for him or her to become legally available for adoption will vary depending on the situation. There is an element of emotional risk involved; in some cases, the wait ends with the child returning to the custody of his birth family. However, children in foster adopt placements have been judged unlikely to be reunited with their birth families.
  6. Finalize the adoption. Once your child is legally free for adoption, it takes about twelve months on average to finalize the adoption.

For more information on the foster adopt process and the pros and cons, visit the North American Council on Adoptable Children’s website.


Adoption Agencies with U.S. Foster Adoption Programs


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