Q&A: Foster Care Adoption?

I want to adopt a toddler that is ready for adoption from a public adoption sector. Unfortunately all local public agencies and nearby agencies in Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky have either a waiting list, or no children in this age group.  What other resources are available?
ByDawn Davenport
Updated
Mar 2017
Hero Image

There are two basic ways to adopt from foster care. You can adopt a child who is currently available for adoption because his parents’ rights have already been terminated. There are about 115,000 children in this boat, about evenly divided between black and white, and boys and girls. Their average age is 8.6 years, but about 31 percent are under five. Many of the younger kids are part of a sibling group.

The second way to adopt from the foster care system is through what is often called the foster-adopt program. Different states call is different things, but it is usually a variation on that label. In this program, you first go through the training to become a foster parent (usually a 10-12 week course is required). The child that is placed in your home is not legally free for adoption (meaning that the parental rights have not yet been terminated) and may not become legally free for adoption since the goal is to reunite birth familieswhere possible, or place children with extended family. The child will be available for you to adopt only when these options are not available. Usually, case workers have a feel for which children will become available for adoption and they try to place these kids in foster-adopt home, but there are no guarantees. Most of the younger children that are adopted from foster care are placed through the foster-adopt system. 

Keep in mind that most states not only place foster children for adoption from the county department of social services, many also have contracts with adoption agencies to find homes for these children. To increase your odds of finding a child, it helps to check with both public and private agencies. Also, you do not have to adopt a child from your state or region. Most agencies try to keep children in the foster-adopt program nearby because parental rights are not yet terminated, but children who are currently free for adoption are often placed across state line. A wonderful resource for seeing what children are currently free for adoption throughout the country is AdoptUsKids.

Related Video

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade Welcome Surprise 'Miracle' Baby

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
11/09/2018

Can Adoption Make Your Boobs Change? Charlize Theron Says Yes

Christine Cordova
Associate Social Editor
Published
07/15/2016

Jimmy Fallon Reveals He and His Wife Had A Surrogate

Elena Donovan Mauer
Contributing Writer
Published
08/09/2013

Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent Are Expecting a Baby Via Surrogate!

Ivy Jacobson
Associate Editor, The Knot
Published
09/24/2014

Same-Sex Adoption Now Legal in All 50 States

Christine Cordova
Associate Social Editor
Published
04/01/2016

Surrogate Gives Birth to Her Own Granddaughter for Her Son and His Husband

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
03/29/2019

Andy Cohen Reveals He’s Expecting His First Child via Surrogate

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
12/21/2018

Surrogate Mom: 'You Can Give the World to Someone'

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
03/16/2017

Surrogate Mom Almost Unknowingly Gives Up Her Biological Son

Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
11/01/2017