How often do foster children become adopted children?
October 6, 2010 7:14 PM   Subscribe

How often does foster-to-adopt actually lead to adoption (in New York)? I am interested in fostering a young child, with the intent to adopt. I can't tell from anecdotal evidence or from speaking with agencies what the percentage is of fostered children eventually being released for adoption by their foster parents. Also, if anyone knows of a great agency or lawyer to contact about this, please share. Thank you.
posted by aimeedee to Law & Government (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do you read this blog? If not, you should. You could probably even e-mail the writer and ask her opinion on this.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:19 PM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I work for an agency. Around 60 kids are adopted from foster care each year; we have maybe 800 on the rolls at any given time. We do foster care in the Bronx and Brooklyn, so if you're in one of those boroughs memail me and I can give you some contact info.
posted by chelseagirl at 7:36 PM on October 6, 2010

argh...I dont want to discourage you from fostering, its such a truly wonderful thing to do. my only data point: dear friends fostered a new born, having been clearly assured by the social worker that he was very adoptable. until they'd taken him. they raised him for 6 months then he went back to his birth mom. if you can handle this sort of thing I commend you, they were pretty broken-hearted and could not bring themselves to foster again. (they have since adopted a new baby and couldnt be happier)
posted by supermedusa at 8:29 PM on October 6, 2010

Regarding supermedusa's comment, from the 2 foster parents I know... this happens a lot. You get a kid, are told you'll be able to adopt soon, and then the kid goes back to his birth parents, sometimes not for the better. Whether it was "right" to feel that way or not, I know that one of those foster mothers felt very used, in her own words.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:41 AM on October 7, 2010

We are currently in a position where we are fostering a girl that we are hoping to adopt. It might not happen, which we are aware of. Statistically, it's more likely than not she will go back with her birth family. This is a tricky situation, as knowing that it might not be permanent can play havok with your emotions, if you commit to not short-changing the little one emotionally. We've decided to go all out, anyway, as my wife put it this way: if we won't love her fully, who will? Maybe another foster family, but they'll be dealing with the same uncertainty. I grant that this isn't for everyone, and it's hard to take the risk. But we've framed it this way for ourselves: sometimes love puts itself out there, for the sake of other people, even if it hurts, and we've decided to be that family for this little girl, as long as we are able. If it ends up being permanent, that will be fantastic. We've found the process to be very rewarding so far, but again, it should be undertaken knowing what the risks are, and it might not be for everyone.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:54 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm also a foster mom. In my area, approximately 2/3's of the kids in foster care are reunited with family. The remaining 1/3 are either adopted or age out of the system. In my county, I believe there will be about 30 kids adopted this year. As of the end of August, there were 107 kids in care in my county. The numbers vary a bit from month to month as kids enter and leave foster care for various reasons. So, unfortunately, I don't know the total number of children who have been in care at any point this year to compare that 30 against.

The general rule with adopting your foster children is that they're not yours until the judge says so. It doesn't matter if the case worker says the case is a slam dunk and you can adopt. If the judge disagrees, the judge can still reunite the child with family and you might get 30 minutes notice. (Another rule of foster care: if court is scheduled, you prepare to loose the child that day.)

The first time I fostered, we cared for a sibling set of two. At the one month hearing, CPS, the County attorney, Mom, the Guardian ad Litem all asked for the children to stay in care at least another month. The judge refused and we had only 30 minutes from learning they were leaving until CPS was at our door picking up the children. We always knew these two would be reunited with Mom and we supported it. It was, however, a bit of a shock when everyone except the judge wanted the same thing.

With our current little one, we have court scheduled this month. We do anticipate that the case will progress towards adoption by us. However, until the judge says so, I know that this little one who has been in my home for a year could be reunited. It is unlikely; but possible.

So, yes, many foster parents do adopt their foster children. It can take a long time. At a year, if the case turns that way, ours will be considered quick. If you can go into it with a mindset of "I'll love this child each day they are with me," then you'll be ahead of the game. As SpacemanStix said, it is very rewarding. It is also very difficult some days.

If you do decide to become a foster parent, here's a forum where you might find some support. Feel free to memail me anytime on this topic.
posted by onhazier at 8:32 AM on October 7, 2010

Thank you everyone for your candid and thoughtful comments.

It feels like a road to heartbreak, but it is for kids whose hearts are breaking every day...I appreciate the comments and will add them to the ones already sloshing around in my head.

For those of you in the process, I wish you good luck in getting to adopt your child.
posted by aimeedee at 4:05 AM on October 9, 2010

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