According to the most recent report by the Children’s Bureau, there were more than 430,000 children in foster care in 2018. For these children, a stable home and unconditional love could mean all the difference in their growth and development. There is a lot to know about the foster care system when you decide to adopt a foster child. If you’re looking for information about overcoming financial barriers, we’ve put together a list of resources for you—as well as the steps you can take to get started on the adoption process.
Benefits of adopting a foster child
By adopting a child who was removed from a harmful living situation, you are giving them the opportunity to receive love, support, and stability. But the benefits don’t end there. Here are a few additional benefits that you’ll experience as well:
- You’ll have the fulfillment of knowing you’ve profoundly helped a child in your community in need.
- You’ll experience the joy of becoming a parent.
- You’ll be able to start or expand your family without having to go into debt, whether for an expensive private adoption or costly fertility treatment.
- If you foster a child prior to adopting them, then you’ll have the opportunity to get to know them first and build a relationship with them.
Who can adopt a child from foster care?
The requirements for adopting a child from foster care are much less restrictive than those set by a private agency.
In general, someone’s marital status, income, age, or sexual orientation won’t disqualify them from becoming a foster parent—and even single parents can adopt. Additionally, non US citizens living in the US or outside of the US are eligible to adopt a foster child. The most important requirement is being able to provide a safe and healthy environment for the child. When approving someone to adopt, organizations look for people who are reliable, responsible, adaptable, patient, and collaborative.
How much does it cost to adopt a foster child?
How much does it cost to adopt a child from foster care? Unlike an international adoption or a private adoption, which can cost upwards of $40,000, the cost of adopting through foster care averages $2,744. The biggest factor in this cost comes from paying for a lawyer—which state governments subsidize in some cases.
Another thing to keep in mind is that even if the cost of adopting a foster child is minimal or non-existent, the cost of raising a child is about $12,980 annually for an average family, based on findings from the US Department of Agriculture.
How to adopt a foster child
There are roughly six steps to adopting a foster child, and adoptions typically take between 12-24 months, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Here are the main steps included in the adoption process:
1. Gather information
Adoption requirements vary from state to state, so you will first need to check the specific foster care and adoption information for your state.
2. Contact a local agency
The next step is to contact an adoption agency listed for your state through AdoptUsKids, a federally funded adoption organization. This public agency provides you with all the necessary details on the adoption process for your state.
3. Get approved
Your adoption agency will help you fill out a formal application. Once you are approved, they will assign you a caseworker, to help you as you work toward adopting a child.
4. Complete training and home study
Each agency requires you to complete some form of pre-service training before being matched with a child. Training classes usually take between 24 to 30 hours over several weeks, depending on the state.
During the home study, your caseworker will interview you at length, inspect your home, and make a final recommendation to the state about which child is the best fit for your family.
5. Welcome the child
Your caseworker will help you schedule pre-placement visits with the newest addition to your family, before you permanently welcome a child or children into your home.
6. Finalize the adoption
Most adoptions are legally finalized between three and nine months after the child’s placement in your home. This means that the adoptive parents assume all legal responsibility for their child, and the birth parents waive all legal rights of guardianship. During this time, your caseworker will visit each month and provide regular updates to the state on how everyone is getting along. In most cases, you will also need an attorney to help legalize the adoption.
Resources to help you become foster parents
If you feel overwhelmed by the adoption process or have unanswered questions, rest assured that there are plenty of resources to guide you along the path to adoption. If finances are still a concern, there are also several programs that can help.
- The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) is a non-profit organization that provides foster families with support, education, and advocacy. They also help foster families network and build connections with other families.
- The Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program offers federal aid to foster families who may need some extra financial help. Their goal is to eliminate financial barriers so more families can adopt foster children. Families must meet a certain list of criteria in order to be eligible.
- The North American Council on Adoptable Children offers families a hub of information on the adoption process, as well as a list of financial resources that can help offset adoption costs not covered by the government.
Crowdfunding for adoption costs
Many families turn to crowdfunding when they discover they aren’t eligible for government assistance, or when they simply need funds much faster than the government can provide.
Crowdfunding for adoption financial assistance is an easy way to pay for adoption costs not reimbursed by the government. There are no eligibility requirements, application deadlines, or long waiting periods to receive funds—and anyone can start a fundraiser within minutes. And with free fundraising through GoFundMe, there’s no need to worry about spending any money to get started.
How to Raise Money to Adopt a Foster Child
Follow the tips below to start your own adoption fundraiser, and quickly raise the money you need to give a child their forever home.
- Start by writing your fundraiser story in a way that connects with potential donors. Explain why adopting a child from foster care means so much to you and your family, and how any donations will help.
- Add high-quality photos and images to your fundraiser. Fundraisers with at least five photos raise more money than those with one image.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for donations directly from people you know. Your friends and family are most likely more than willing to help in your adoption efforts, especially once they see you have started a fundraiser.
- Explore creative ways you can share your fundraiser, both online and in person. Some ideas include hosting a fundraising event in your community, or even creating your own fundraiser hashtag to share on social media.
Families who used crowdfunding for foster care adoption costs
Take a look at how others are using adoption fundraising to expand their family and make a positive impact on the lives of children in need.
The Andrews family felt called to provide a permanent and safe home for a child truly in need, and realized they would be able to do just that by adopting through the foster care system. They knew they needed some financial help to cover application fees and training classes, so they started a fundraiser. They exceeded their fundraising goal, raising over $10,000 to welcome a child into their family.
After Chloe and her husband spent years as foster parents in Arizona, they decided it was finally time to adopt a child to add to their family. At the time, the Richardson family was in the process of moving to Colorado—requiring new licensing paperwork and fees. Chloe started a fundraiser to help offset these costs, and cover the legal fees of the adoption process. Her fundraiser was a success, and the family raised over $2,300 to help make adoption a reality.
Fundraise for your adoption today
Whether you’re looking to start a family or grow your existing family, adopting a child from foster care is immensely rewarding for parents and children alike—plus, it’s a great way to bring joy into your life while helping a child in need. If you long to adopt but can’t afford the high cost of private adoption, then going through the foster care system is a wonderful alternative. And with crowdfunding, you can make your dream a reality even faster. Sign up and begin raising money for adoption costs today.