I’m worried my baby might be heading into Foster Care. Is Voluntary Adoption, outside of the foster care system, another option?”
If you are pregnant, or have recently given birth and are taking care of your new baby now, but you are worried that your baby is going to be put in Foster Care, you should know that Adoption is still an option for you and your baby.
Why Foster Care Might Get Involved
It is not uncommon for new moms to struggle at home when trying to take care of a newborn baby, especially when already taking care of other children. Being a parent is not easy. It takes resources and lots of support from others to parent, and you might not have what you need right now in order to do that. We all know that all mothers love their children and want the best for them, but sometimes meeting a new baby’s needs for stability, safety and family support just might not be possible. Sometimes women choose to give up their baby for adoption to a private adoption agency instead of watching their baby go into foster care as it feels like the most loving decision they can make for their baby.
If you already have an open case with your local CPS (Child Protective Services) agency such as DHS, C@Y, DCP&P, ACS or DFS, case workers are likely coming to check in on your new baby. If your baby is thriving, and you seem to be able to manage parenting, they will likely continue to just monitor your home and offer you supportive services until they decide to close your case. If, however, there is a concern for the baby’s well-being, they might check in more frequently to ensure that there are no signs of abuse, neglect, and no substance abuse issues in the home. The caseworker’s main priority is to make sure that your child(ren) are safe at home with you. If it starts to become more clear to you that your baby or child will be removed from your care, and if you do not have supportive and helpful family around to help, you may be worried that your baby is heading into Foster Care.
Adoption is Another Option- and It Is Different
If you are truly worried about your baby heading into Foster Care, Adoption with a private adoption agency (not through foster care) is an option that you can still pursue. If you already have a child in Foster Care, you are familiar with the process and know the basics of how this will work. If you want something other than Foster Care for your baby, Adoption, outside of the foster care system, is an option that you can consider. In order to understand the how adoption is different than foster care, and why you might like to consider voluntary adoption instead, there are some basic facts about how these two options are different from one another.
With Foster Care, your baby will end up with a Foster Family, likely temporarily, while your local CPS continues to check in with you to see how you are progressing in the areas in which they are concerned. While reunification (getting your baby back) is possible, many mothers find the limitations and rules put on them by their case workers to be difficult. There are court hearings, classes and treatment plans to participate in during this process. You would likely have supervised visits with your child during this time, with no clear picture as to timing for possible reunification.
Through the Foster Care system, if you are not reunited with your child, they will likely be placed in one foster home, and then maybe even a second home or more, before eventually being adopted and placed in a permanent home. These transitions can be difficult for any baby or child, and especially difficult for you as a mother to watch your child be moved around from home to home, lacking a permanent family to grow up with.
Why You May Prefer Voluntary Adoption
Should you choose Adoption, your baby will be placed with a permanent, loving adoptive family right away who is currently waiting, approved and excited to adopt. While Foster Families get paid to foster children, adoptive families do not, and they go through an incredibly rigorous process in order to become approved to adopt. Adoptive Families get screened in their home multiple times by a social worker from an adoption agency such as Open Arms Adoption, who learns more about their motivation to adopt, family life, friends, careers, hobbies, and of course, adoptive families have to complete multiple clearances to make certain they are safe, including getting clearances from local police, state police, child abuse registries, references from friends/family and employer, health checks, etc.
Another major difference between Foster Care and Adoption, are YOUR CHOICES in the process. If your baby goes into Foster Care, you will not get to choose where your baby goes and who ultimately will be the one to parent your child. With adoption, YOU get to make the decisions. If you choose adoption, you have the opportunity to choose the RIGHT family for your baby. Open Arms Adoption will help you learn about different waiting adoptive families by looking at their “profiles”, books that they have made about themselves with letters from them, information about their lives, and lots of photos so you can get a sense of the types of lives they lead. Then, after looking at profiles for several of our waiting adoptive families, you can choose the one that you feel would be the best fit for your child. If you would like to meet the family, that is an option too. You should always feel good about where your baby will grow up and who will be raising him/her.
The amount of contact you have with your child and the adoptive family is also something that YOU can decide when you put your baby up for adoption with a private adoption agency, but not with Foster Care. If your child goes through the foster care system, you likely will not get to decide the level of contact that you have. With adoption, you can decide if you’d like to get letters with updates and photos from the adoptive family, or from the agency, or more importantly if you would like to have an Open Adoption, in which you can have visits several times a year and maintain direct contact with your baby and his/her adoptive parents. The choices are yours with voluntary adoption, but with Foster Care you will not get to make some of these bigger decisions for your baby’s life. Some women choose adoption over foster care for their baby, but they do not want to review profiles and choose a family themselves and stay in contact. That option, a Confidential or Closed Adoption is also another choice that is fine for you to make.
It’s Not Too Late
You may worry that since your baby is already born, or even 1 or 2 years old, that it is too late to plan an adoption. This is not the case. You can still put your baby up for adoption at this point, as we have many waiting families that are very interested and excited at the prospect of adopting a toddler. Adoption is not just for newborns.
If you are concerned that your baby might be entering Foster Care, and would like another option, Adoption might be an option for you. Call our 24/7 hotline at 1.888.OPENARMS to speak with a counselor who can learn more about your situation and answer all of your questions about Adoption as an alternative to Foster Care. We will never pressure you to move forward with adoption, and you can trust that we will answer your questions and support you with whatever decision you decide. Know that if you choose Adoption, we can ensure that your baby will NOT go into the Foster Care system, ever.