Think Foster Care is your avenue to an infant adoption ? Better revise that thinking because the goal of foster care is the reunification of the original family members. Here’s what one hopeful adoptive mother (using foster care to achieve her goal) wrote –
“Just out of curiosity how many of you have had baby placements and have either adopted or planned to adopt them? We have lost hope that we will ever get a baby, plus our region has pretty much said there are no babies that get adopted here. Can you also post what region you’re from, I’m try to see if maybe certain regions have better luck”.
Sure, it can be hard on the foster family to say goodbye to a child they loved.
Children are removed when the situation they are in is one that is unsafe. Each foster care case begins with the goal of reunification. Parents are given goals to meet in a timely manner to be reunited with their children. Most children are able to return home to their families. There are instances in which the parent has their parental rights terminated, and then the child is placed for adoption. Reunification is the goal and must be pursued when possible and safe for the child.
There is no guaranteed time frame for how long a child will remain in foster care. Some cases are short-term cases and can result in reunification after a few weeks, while other cases can go on for years. When the time frame turns to years, the case plan may become one of reunification with the concurrent plan of adoption. In that situation, the state is acknowledging that the case plan is taking a significant amount of time and that the parents may not be able to complete all the tasks. At that time, the child is considered at legal risk and may be placed into a pre-adoptive foster home. A pre-adoptive foster home is one in which the foster family has expressed interest in pursuing adoption, and is home studied and ready to do so. While each case is different, a general rule of thumb is that if a child has spent 15 months in foster care, it is time to reassess and decide how to proceed, and if adoption ought to be added as a potential goal.
While parents are working on the reunification of a child, they will also (as safety allows) participate in visits with their child during this time. Visitation may be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the reason for the removal of the child from the home. In more extreme cases, where a child’s safety is in question, there may be a court order that prevents visits until the court can be assured that visits will be safe for the child. In these cases, parents may need to complete certain steps before being allowed contact with their children. The most important thing is to be sure the child is safe.
Because being removed from their parents is a traumatic event, social workers are required to try to find a kinship placement for children. Kinship placement is any home where the caregiver has a relationship with the child and is not a stranger. Typically, kinship care refers to placing the child with a relative. However, teachers, family friends, and others who the child may be familiar with can be considered. A child will be more comfortable if they are familiar with their caregiver, and far less stressed. Kinship care is not always possible, however, and that is why there is a need for licensed foster homes.
So, going back to the beginning, it appears that another woman was sympathetic and wrote – “We ALL know that some of the kids we have will reunify and we all should know that reunification is not a reality for some babies and kids and they will need adoptive families. If anything most babies shouldn’t be reunited. Obviously MANY families here are praying that they can adopt! I feel like some of you are going out of your way to squash their dreams! They know what the journey can hold! We should be building them up and encouraging them. NOT every case ends in reunification. Actually the national statistic of reunification is only 49% percent there’s a ton of children needing homes! Our county has a lot of drug babies and junkie parents because of the opioid crises. Many foster parents can adopt a baby.”
So there is that.
She goes on to suggest – “We were upfront and told the caseworker we only wanted cases that had a chance of moving from Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) to adoption. Both of my babies are miracles and our first placement. We went into foster care TO ADOPT. There’s nothing wrong with adopting. Reunification shouldn’t be the goal. The goal should be about whatever is in the child’s best interests. Stop ruining people’s dreams of adopting. Many babies cannot go home. I have another baby right now who is heading towards TPR. Reunification isn’t an option. No need to remind us that reunification is the goal. We ALL know that.”
Maybe, but clearly – reunification is NOT the goal for some foster parents – adopting a baby is their goal.