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Clearing up myths about adopting from foster care
Clearing up myths about adopting from foster care

Tackling some of the most common misconceptions about adopting from foster care

Written by Laurie Bohm
Updated over a week ago

Adopting from foster care can be an incredibly exciting and important step in your life. As you make the life-changing choice to adopt from foster care, you will likely come across stories in your research that may make you wary or unnerved about the process. There are a lot of misconceptions out there that make people nervous, or even deter them, from adopting from foster care. Here, we tackle some of those myths. 

Myth: Adoption is expensive
While it's true that some types of adoption can be pretty expensive, adopting from foster care can be primarily free of cost for many families. If you choose to get a home study through a private nonprofit in your area, there's a good chance they will charge an upfront fee (often around $3-5,000) which is still less expensive than private or international adoption. Private agency fees may be a barrier for families, which is why many prospective adoptive parents choose to get licensed through their state or public child welfare agency. In almost all cases, completing a home study through your local public agency is free of cost. Check your local resources for more information, and regardless of which path you take, don't be afraid to ask about cost upfront. 

Myth: You have to be straight, married, or homeowners to adopt
You don't! You can absolutely adopt as a single parent, an LGBTQ+ family, or a renter. And in fact, there are plenty of youth in foster care who might prefer a single parent or an LGBTQ+ identifying family. 

Though there are still laws in some states that make it harder than it should be for LGBTQ+ identifying families to adopt from foster care, it is absolutely legal and encouraged for LGBTQ+ families to expand their family through adoption. LGBTQ+ youth are over-represented in foster care and it's not uncommon that those youth in foster care specifically request two moms or two dads or LGBTQ+ allies or community members to be their adoptive family. For more information on requirements in your area, check your local resources, and be sure to always ask your agency how they can support you. 

Myth: Children in foster care always return to their biological family members
It's true that the goal of foster care is to reunite children with their biological parent(s) once those parent(s) are able to provide the right care to their children. It's also true that the vast majority of children in foster care will either return to their biological parents, be placed with relatives, or be adopted by their foster parents. That being said, there's still a large group of children for whom none of those options are available.  Those are often the children who are featured on Northwest Adoption Exchange, youth who need to be adopted and who currently have no other options for permanency. 

Myth : Children in foster care are troubled
Youth in foster care are not there because they have done something "wrong," but rather because they were living in a situation that was unsafe and were often victims of abuse and neglect. Some people are under the impression that every youth in foster care is destructive, has too many behavioral or medical needs, or that kids in foster care have done something wrong. In reality, that's not the case. Youth enter foster care through no fault of their own and need the love and support of the right family -- just like everyone else.  

There are plenty of misconceptions about adopting from foster care. As you encounter some (or more) of these myths, remember that you can always ask your agency, reach out to other parents who have adopted from foster care, or reach out to us via live chat, by email, or by giving us a call. 

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