If you are considering fostering or adopting children, it is imperative to know what are the differences between the two. Both foster parenting and adoption can be an extremely enriching experience that will forever change your life. Here are their differences, and some of the challenges that you might face with either of the processes.
Being a foster parent to a child is typically temporary. It means you’re given the right to care for a child whose birth parents cannot do that themselves, for reasons such as an unstable living environment, death, or incarceration. As a foster parent, your rights are more limited than as an adopted parent. Though the birth parents might be forbidden from taking care of their child, they can still make some decisions on their behalf, such as decisions of medical, education, and religious upbringing. Should the parents have those rights rescinded by a local court, then those decisions will be up to whatever agency put them in your care. Foster parents also receive stipends for their help. As a foster parent, you will be responsible for the child’s well-being, but you’re required to be relatively hands-off in terms of these decisions that could have a long-lasting impact.
Fostering can be an amazing way to really help someone in need, but it is important to understand the legal limitations. The purpose of foster parenting is to keep a child housed until they receive permanent care, either through adoption or their birth parents being re-granted custody upon proving their ability to take care of their children. You can use your experience as a foster parent for a child as grounds to adopt them, provided their parents are completely stripped of their parental rights. Being a foster parent comes with some challenges as well. Since it’s not permanent, you have to contend with your time spent caring for a child you’ve grown emotionally attached to ending before you’re ready.
Unlike being a foster parent, adoption is permanent. It can also be much more involved, as there needs to be the assurance that a child is being put into the best home environment possible. When a child is legally adopted, the person or people caring for them are recognized as their parents. There’s no ambiguity regarding what rights they do or don’t have as a parent. This also means that you have to make all the decisions regarding the child’s schooling and health. There are two types of adoptions: open and closed. In open adoptions, communication is kept between the adopted child’s family and their birth parents/family. Closed adoptions cut off communication between the child’s birth family.
Since adoption is permanent, it can be a huge source of joy and relief for parents unable to have children. It gives them the chance to grow a family that they might’ve otherwise not had. It can also give a child an amazing, supportive and loving home. Adoption can be a tremendously stressful process, though. It can cost thousands of dollars and require extensive interviews. Also, if the mother decides she wants to give up the baby for adoption before the child’s born, they can still decide to keep the child after the birth. Overall, adopting or fostering a child will definitely be beneficial to kids who may not have the support you could bring them, but it will also bring joy to your life as well.