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Can I Adopt from Foster Care?

Foster to adopt is a path that many foster parents choose and hundreds of kids in Wisconsin foster care are adopted by their foster parents every year. It can be a beautiful experience and we see families grow through adoption regularly at CCR. Although there are no promises of adopting a child from foster care, it is possible. With the proper mindset and an openness to accepting the challenges that come along with it, your family may be a candidate for the opportunity to adopt a child from foster care.

Adopting from foster care can be a beautiful choice for families.

For many, the ride ends in tears of joy and excitement, for others, they will sadly get off the ride in disappointment and frustration. It is a different experience for everyone and every child and there are dozens of factors involved. Did you know that 6 out of 10 people in America are somehow touched by adoption? We are absolutely thrilled for CCR foster parents and their kiddos when forever families are found. It is an exciting time for our entire staff, particularly our caseworkers who always attend adoption hearings with children and families they have been working with for years.

Tomorrow we adopt our foster son and we are so excited we cannot sleep!! We have been waiting for this day for 3 years! Thank you CCR for holding our hands through this amazing journey!

Can I become a foster parent with the intent to adopt foster kids?

Yes, you can foster with the intent of adoption, however, most foster agencies will advise against it. Not because agencies don't want foster parents to adopt but because it is a promise that simply cannot be made. The percentages are small, thus hearts are broken. If your end goal is to adopt a child then pursuing adoption through traditional sources such as an adoption agency may be a choice to consider. With that said, we know that option is simply cost-prohibitive for many families. Adopting through foster care is financially viable for nearly all families.

Adopting from foster care brings many considerations.

  • Is your heart leading you to love and care for children temporarily no matter the outcome?
  • Do you understand and accept that that reunification is most often the goal for kids in foster care?
  • Do you understand and accept that the effects of past traumas may be a part of your adopted child's life?
  • Do you accept that the "system" is not perfect and hearts are vulnerable to unexpected outcomes?
  • Becoming a foster parent with the hope of adopting a baby is ill-advised.
  • Relationships with an adoptive child's birth family are common in most cases.

We did not become foster parents to adopt. In fact, it took us a few years to decide if fostering was right for us and adoption never came up. The placement we have now is likely going to TPR. He has been with us for just 8 months and has grown and healed from his experiences so much. We are excited beyond words. What a blessing this will be if all goes smoothly. Hands folded, fingers crossed.   

When parental rights are planned to be terminated, (known as TPR) an adoptive family is located. Most often, the foster family currently caring for the available child or sibling group is given the first option to adopt. If the foster family is not interested in pursuing adoption, other outside sources are explored.

Thousands of children are adopted from foster care each year.

Most often the goal of foster care is reunification and the majority of kids in placement will be reunified with their birth family as shown below, according to most recent data:

  • 49% were reunited with birth parents
  • 24% were adopted
  • 10% were emancipated
  • 7% went to live with extended family
  • 10% went to live with a guardian

There are hundreds of Wisconsin children in foster care waiting to be adopted. Children of all ages with a variety of backgrounds are available, with an average age of 7.8 years. Sadly, older youth and teenagers tend to wait up to 3 times longer than younger children to be adopted from foster care. Keep in mind that the youngest kids are often a part of a sibling group.

An excellent resource for adoption is adoptuskids.org

13% of children in our care are adopted by their foster parents each year.

We are blessed to have witnessed many, many families grow through adoption at CCR over the last 30 years. On average, 13% of children in our care are adopted by their foster parents each year. Just last week, this adorable brother and sister were adopted by a CCR family and posed for a photo with their long-time caseworker Stephanie.

Typically, infants and toddlers are more likely to be adopted by extended family or through an adoption agency. Prospective foster parents who have their heart set on fostering a baby to adopt are setting themselves up for heartbreak and disappointment. Nearly 85% of all kids in CCR foster homes are over the age of 5 years. This statistic alone demonstrates the very small chance of adopting a baby through foster care.

Families must be willing to foster first and accept the risk of loving and losing a child.

Foster parents who really want to adopt run the risk that the child they fall in love with will not be their child forever. Foster-to-adopt parents must emotionally prepare themselves that there may be multiple placements that come and go before the possibility of adoption comes along. These children and teens need support, guidance, and a family now and for the rest of their lives.

Adoption is a permanent, legal relationship between the child and the parent. It is only possible after social workers and judges have determined that a child cannot safely return home. As an adoptive parent, you have all the rights and responsibilities of any other parent. There is virtually no cost to adopt from foster care and parents will retain medical coverage for their adoptive children but will forfeit their monthly foster care stipend.

Though adoptive parents may incur unforeseen expenses, there are many financial resources available to aid families. https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/adoption/resources

We've adopted 4 children that we fostered through CCR. There have been challenges but we'd do it all over again. We cannot imagine life without them!

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent and are open to adoption, we would love to speak with you. The rewards are plentiful and we have dozens of families that will give testimony to the joy and happiness that fostering and adoption have brought to their families. CCR staff is available to speak with you anytime you are interested in learning more.

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