There are nearly 400,000 children living in foster care placement in the United States. This statistic is quite shocking. To properly put this into perspective – there are the same number of children in foster care as roughly the populations of the following cities (each with populations around 400,000 as of the last census): Arlington, TX, Wichita, KS, Cleveland, OH, Minneapolis, MN, Tulsa, OK, Oakland, CA and Miami, FL. Imagine if each of the inhabitants of any of these cities was homeless or had fallen to an epidemic, etc. There would (rightly so) be public outcry. How is it not the case that this many of our country’s children are in foster care and the problem is one that by and large is ignored.
As a family who has adopted multiple times, this author is shocked at one of the first questions which often comes up about our adopted children, “What country are they from?” There are several responses which we have given, depending on the person asking, the situation and by our general mood. Most of the time, we take the opportunity to kindly educate about our general opinion about the landscape of adoption and specifically the need for more adoptions from foster care.
There are many risk in any adoption – many are legally considered a legal risk adoption – meaning that there is a risk that the biological parent(s) of the child or children may change their mind or be reunited with the children – which is the goal in most cases in the states’ child care systems – reunification. However, there are more cases which this is simply not going to be a viable option for many families and children in foster care.
Agencies charged with monitoring these care programs are generally overworked and unable to find enough homes to permanently place children into to give them the opportunities which are available in this country. For those considering adoption from foster facility, it is important to become very educated about the process and to be honest with oneself, as well as your case worker.
Most caseworkers use a type of client management or human services software to match families with children in the foster care system. This matching is not perfect, but can help prevent potential placement match problems if all are honest and the information is accurately recorded. Many people think of adoption as a type of savior relationship or as a child shopping. There are no money-back guarantees with any child – adopted or not. (Sometimes, I marvel that our adopted children excel in areas that one would expect our biological offspring to and vice versa.)
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