Adoption and foster care vary in many different ways. While they are similar in that each is a way for a family to welcome a child as one of their own and help a child in need, they are not the same. They differ in the permanence and time commitments of each. Foster care is a temporary situation, while adoption is permanent. In addition, the goals of foster care and adoption are different. Legally, the outcomes of each also are quite different. And finally, the training involved and preparation for each is slightly different. If you are considering adoption or fostering, you are potentially making a huge difference in the life of a child in need and your own life.
Adoption and Foster Care: How are They Different From Each Other?
The main difference between adoption and foster care is the levels of permanence. Foster care is meant to be a temporary situation where you take care of a child in need for a short time. In contrast, adopting a child makes that child legally your own. You will raise them for the rest of their life. In fostering, you might end up deciding to adopt your foster child, however, it is not always the case.
The reason why there is a difference between adoption and foster care in terms of permanence is that the goals of each are different. The goal of adoption is to find a child that you will legally make a part of your family forever. They will be your child in every sense of the word permanently. However, the goal of foster care is to take care of a child in need until they can be reunited with their birth parents. While some foster parents adopt their children, the actual goal is to take care of them until their parents are well enough to have them come back to live in their home.
Another difference between adoption and foster care is the legal rights of the parents. In a foster care situation, the child’s legal guardian usually retains all parental rights. This is typically the case, but not always. In contrast, an adoptive parent becomes a child’s legal parent.
Finally, the preparation involved is another difference between the two. With each, you’ll need to do a home study and prepare your house to bring home a child. You’ll likely be assigned a caseworker to work within either situation who will help prepare you for the journey ahead. There might be more training involved with foster care than adoption. This is because children in foster care sometimes have emotional and physical needs due to past trauma. It can also be incredibly expensive to adopt, especially if you opt for a private adoption agency.
There are several differences between these two avenues of building a family. Deciding which ones will work for you should take time and careful consideration. Foster care is meant to be a temporary situation while adoption is permanent. This is because the goal of foster care is to reunite the child with their parent while the goal of adoption is to become the legal parent of a child. The training and cost involved with each can also vary. If you’re considering either one, consult with parents you know who have been through each process. They can give you plenty of insight and advice and will be a source of support when you do make your decision. Whichever you decide to do, you’ll be making a huge difference in the life of a child and opening up your heart to expanding your family.