Possible..? — The Bump


This may be a silly question but it never hurts to ask..

Is there a way to adopt a child that's in foster care(where TPR has already taken place) but NOT do foster-to-adopt?

I have looked through our state's adoption listings but none are within that age range.  And we are under the assumption that there are alot of children in need of families.  My reasoning skills lead me to believe that of course not every child is posted too.

We are currently taking our MAPP classes but they have only went over what leads to why a child is placed in foster care.

We're hoping to adopt a child between the ages of 4-6.  We would prefer not to foster-to-adopt.  We will if we must but we just do not want to have to deal with the headaches, drama, and heartaches.

Is it possible to adopt a 4-6yr old from the foster care system without having to foster-to-adopt them??

Re: Possible..?

  • The short answer...Yes.  The long answer is that you'll probably have to be open to special needs or sibling groups.  Families who foster usually get first chance of refusal on children that they have been fostering once TPR has been completed and they are free to be adopted.  That can lead to many children never reaching the "waiting children" registry.  This is just my understanding, maybe someone else can give you a better answer.
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  • I'm not sure, but I think this differs by state, and sometimes county.  I have heard it's possible, but since foster practices are often so localized, I don't think know if anyone can help you without knowledge of your particular area.

    I would contact your local social services agency and ask them.

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  • We're in NC & are open to sibling groups, if that will help for more opinions to come in!

    Also, a side note..

    When we went for the 1st info session, our agency(BGH-NC) stated that many of the children that come in are from ages 3-7.  However, within that conversation we were talking about both foster care AND adoption.  So, who knows..

    We aren't totally against fostering to adopt.  We just know there could be alot of hurdles to overcome before the possibility of adoption could occur.

  • short answer - yes, it is possible.  But, might not be realistic.

    Here is a C&P from my blog (with updated notes in bold)

    Foster Care

    ===Goal is ALWAYS reunification with parents - unless those parents committed a crime against that child. In that case, it is would probably be fost / adopt

    ===A parent has 12-15 months to work their plan that is ordered by a judge (rehab, get a job, get an apartment, take parenting classes, etc) If after that time, a judge determines if the child should be returned to a parent (sometimes it is earlier than the 12-15 mths).  After the 12-15 months in some cases, the case is changed to an adoption case.  The bio parent still have a chance to get their act together.  This time could be another year of waiting. 

    ===If the child can not be returned, then the judge declares that parental rights should be terminated and the current foster parents have "first dibbs" to adopt the child. After this time, it is about another 6 months before rights are terminated and then another 6-9 months for the adoption to be final. This means that a child can be in our home for about 2 years before adoption is final. :(

    ===A parent has the right at anytime to decide to term her own rights - then the timeline is quicker

    ===A lot of time, when the goal is changed to adoption (this is JUST the goal, termination of rights could still be 1-2 years away), the current foster parents will be asked if they would like to adopt.  If they say no, then the child will usually be moved to a pre-adoptive home.  I would think the child would be considered a Fost/adopt placement.  Especially since the bio parent still have time to work their plan, and TPR has NOT taken place yet.

    ===Plus, let's be honest - little kids are cute and cuddlly, and I would think that most foster families that when given the chance to adopt, do.  Which is why (sadly) it is mostly older kids that are already legally free. 

    In our case, Lil J was 3 years old at placement.  At the 15 month mark the goal was changed to adoption, we indicated that we would like to adopt him if his mother was not able to complete her plan.  It was over a year later that TPR on the mom and dad was done.  At that time, he was with us for over 2 years.  We started the offical process to adopt him just a few weeks ago.  If we are lucky, we *might* be able to finalize his adoption by the end of the year.

    So, that means he will be with us for almost THREE years before he is finalized.  So, if we decided at TPR that we did not want to adopt him, then he was in care for 2 years, and now 5 years old.  If he was 5 at placement he would not fall into your age range anymore.

    Fost / Adopt

    ===Basically the same as foster care - but usually someone determine that the child has lower legal risk than other placements. It may not be the first time in care, the mom may have had other kids taken away, the mom might have gone missing, the mom might be in jail for a serious crime, there may have been a crime against the child, they might have been a previous home that decided they didn't want to adopt the child.

    ===If a child had been removed before and then returned to a parent, well - that time still counts toward the 12-15 months. So, if there is very little time left of the that time, a child might be considered fost/adopt

    ===Just because a worker (or a judge) THINKS that there is little risk of a child being returned to a parent, the parent still has the right to work the plan. So, even though everyone thought it would move toward adoption, there is no guarantee. Even on crimes against the child - family might step up.


    ===There are children that are available for straight adoption - these are the kids that have already gone through the above.

    ===Why aren't their foster parents adopting them then? Well, there could be so many reasons. Foster parents may be older and can not make a lifetime commitment. Foster parents may only want to foster to prepare for adoption. And sadly, some people just do it for the money. Only certain children qualify for a stipend after adoption. But will continue to receive the foster care stipend until adoption by another family.

    ===Since these kids have gone through the above, most of these kids are older.

    I hope this info is useful to you :)

  • everyone has given you great answers, but I would add that even if you aren't foster/foster to adopt, you still are required to go through the training that foster parents are required to do (depending on the state, but I think most are like this). You will need this training for adopting any child in the foster care system.
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  • In florida they made it clear that its pretty rare to adopt through foster care system without fostering first. Most kids go back home, and those who become available for adoption are often adopted by their foster families. They have told us stories of parents in your situation (people who wanted to adopt but did foster to adopt as a vehicle to adoption) who received a newborn, fell in love, and were heartbroken when it went home. Then this happened again, and again, and again. They are now in therapy. They couldn't accept in their hearts that the number one goal is reunification and they saw each infant as their baby. I think foster to adopt is a wonderful thing, but you have to be willing to accept that the baby is not yours and able to handle letting them go. My husband and I are taking the PRIDE class right now but we're not sure if we will choose to get licensed because we are still working through it thoughts/feelings on this.
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  • Some states have a waiting period after the child has been placed in your home and before you can start the adoption process.  So for that waiting period it is a foster care placement.  You want that waiting period.  I've seen a former client of mine posted on our state's website.   Her description was very misleading.  I'm sure they listed exactly what the child told them as far as hobbies and interests.  However, what most people would infer from that was not the reality of that child's situation.  The state websites and the traveling Heart Galleries can be a wonderful way to raise awareness of the need for adoptive parents but they are a marketing tool, they put the best possible spin on the child. 

  • It is available in our State.  Almost every person that went through all the classes with us were doing it for older child adoption and not foster care. 
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  • image tunanuna:
    The short answer...Yes.  The long answer is that you'll probably have to be open to special needs or sibling groups.  Families who foster usually get first chance of refusal on children that they have been fostering once TPR has been completed and they are free to be adopted.  That can lead to many children never reaching the "waiting children" registry.  This is just my understanding, maybe someone else can give you a better answer.


    This exactly.  It is difficult to get a younger child through straight state adoptions since family and foster parents get first "choice" of the child.  That's not to see it isn't possible but it is tougher to get one without fostering them first.  Special needs kids are easier and they do not always have to be high special needs.  My brother has an adopted sister that has a clotting disorder which made her special needs and they were able to adopt her at less than a year old.  They also have 4 other special needs kids who are much higher on the needs list, so it can vary.  Good luck!

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  • Thank you so much everyone for all your detailed answers!  I greatly appreciate them.

    We had another class tonight for MAPPS.  

    They did go a bit more in-depth with the processes.

    Basically, in our state(like most) we would need to foster-to-adopt.  However, they said they do work with us to better our chances/likelihood of adopting.  Of course, nothing is guaranteed..

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