Weighing Your Options: Foster Care vs. Adoption

At first glance, you might think that foster care and adoption are pretty much the same–both involve caring for a child in your home. Many aspiring parents get confused between the two during their participation in foster or adoptive parenting training sessions. However, it’s important to realize that foster care and adoption are distinct areas.

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is a temporary arrangement for kids whose parents can’t care for them. Child welfare agency workers get involved when children need care. While in foster care, kids can live with relatives, foster families, or in group places. About half of the kids who enter foster care will eventually go back to living with their parents or main caregivers.

What Is Adoption

Adoption is when kids who won’t live with their birth parents become permanent members of another family. This happens legally and emotionally. Even though they’re in a new family, they still have a connection to their birth family physiologically and via genes.

Foster Care Pros

You Can Provide a Child With a Forever Home

Every child deserves a stable and lasting home, and there’s nothing more precious than opening your doors to a child who requires it.

It’s Cost-Effective

While adopting kids domestically or internationally can be expensive, foster care provides an affordable alternative. In some cases, the state might even offer financial assistance to foster families.

The Waiting Period Is Shorter

Within the foster care system, many children waiting are placed with families quickly.


Many Foster Children Face Unique Challenges

For various reasons, some foster children are classified as having “special needs.” This could mean that a child is older or part of a sibling group. It might also indicate that the child has mental, physical, or developmental requirements. Potential foster parents need to evaluate their capacity to support such special needs.

Adoption Pros

Allowing People To Build a Family

Many hopeful adoptive families have eagerly waited for their chance to become parents and are excited to provide love and care to a child, regardless of biological ties. When a birth mother makes the compassionate choice to place her child for adoption, she grants another family the opportunity they may have otherwise missed out on.

Supporting Birth Mothers

Adoption is often beneficial to birth mothers. In some situations, the birth mother might be a young single parent struggling to juggle her own needs, education, job, and providing for the child. In other cases, physical or emotional constraints might hinder the birth parents from providing proper care.


Adoption Can Be Expensive

Even a smooth adoption process can come with significant costs. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, licensed agency adoptions can range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more to complete the process.

Prior to contemplating adoption or foster care, take into account these and many other pros and cons.