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Foster Care vs. Private Adoption

Find the pros/cons of each and how foster care programs compare to private adoption. You should be aware of the issues involved with each situation.



Many prospective adoptive parents may wonder if they should try to do foster care and hopefully adopt or do a private adoption.  This is a very personal choice and there are some key things that prospective adoptive parents should keep in mind.

Foster care can be a very cost effective way to adopt a child.  Most states subsidize the adoption cost and some may pay for the whole process.  This can be a wonderful way for parents with no money to have a child come to their home.  It is crucial to realize some issues with foster care. 

  • You will not always get to pick the sex, age, or ethnicity of the child you  may receive.
  • You will not know for sure (in most cases) if the child will really be able to stay with you.
  • You have to be prepared and willing to help the child reunify with their parents or caregivers.
  • You have to be willing to deal with the state and their demands.  This means you will need to facilitate visits with birth parents or caregivers, deal with the emotional and psychological needs of the child by making sure their therapy appointments and other dates are kept.  You also need to be willing to have a social worker and other services in your home as needed and requested by the state.
  • You may receive a child with severe problems.  These can be learning difficulties, emotional problems, behavior disorders, health issues and more.  You have to be open to these children and prepared to help them deal with all issues.


The great thing about foster care is that you know that you are providing a service for your community and the family that you become involved with.  Most foster parents hope to be able to adopt but they also have a sense that they are helping people first and foremost, their own agenda is second.

Private adoption can be wonderful because you can tell an agency what you are looking for in a child and then wait for the right thing to come along for you.  This puts a prospective parent in more control than when doing foster care.  Still an adoptive parent has to go through a home study just like a foster care parent.  Adoption costs are also very expensive and keep a lot of people from being able to have a child of their own. 

Private adoption also does not take the guess work out of adoption.  Just as foster care parents don't know the outcome of a child's future, private adoptions can fall through.  Parents can get their hopes up that a child will come and a  birth mother can change her mind at any time.  This can be heartbreaking.

The key in either situation is to go into things with an open mind and know that things will work out.  They may not work out the way you hope or envision but in the end things are usually fine and people get through it all just fine. 

Related Article: Foster Care Programs >>


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