Thousands of Texas children in foster care need permanent families. Adoption and fostering are great ways to provide the love and security every child needs and deserves. Every family’s journey to becoming either foster parents or adoptive parents is different, but all have at least three things in common; they are caring, they are patient, and they want to make a profound and lasting impact on the life of a child or youth.
Adoption is a lifetime commitment; fostering a child can be either a short-term or long-term responsibility. Some children are in foster care short-term, possibly because they are able to return home or live with a relative. Other times, children wind up staying longer in foster care as they wait for their parent or guardian to follow through with the stipulations set forth by their caseworkers.
Regardless of whether you plan to foster or adopt, there is a general process that must take place. First, there will be several meetings and interviews, including a review of your home environment. Next is a series of specialized classes or training that will focus on helping children who have been traumatized. Much of the training occurs before a foster child is placed in your home, with the entire process usually taking 3 to 6 months. The family’s willingness and ability to complete the required paperwork and various tasks in a timely manner will dictate how long the adoption process will take.
So, what is the difference between foster care and adoption? Simply put, foster care can be temporary and adoption is forever. Families that decide to foster-to-adopt get to know the child and his/her history before moving into the adoption phase. Foster children adopted by their foster parents tend to be more successful than if adopted by a family with whom they have not developed a relationship. Families may take different routes on their journey to achieve the final goal of adoption, but choosing the right path for your family comes down to what suits you best.