Nov 082011

fosterChildAt the end of fiscal year 2013, there are 101,840 American children waiting for a permanent family. These children have been in the foster care system for at least 11 months and a judge has terminated their parent’s right to parent them. They are legal orphans.

In a country of 244 million Christians, why are any American children waiting for a permanent family? You might be asking, “Why do Americans go outside the US to adopt when there are so many children here that need homes?” And then you pause for a moment and ask, “Gil, you adopted from Guatemala: why are you questioning where others adopt?”

Good questions. Of the 101,840 children, 50,608 were adopted during 2013 leaving 58,887 awaiting parents. During this same time, of the 18 million orphans in other countries, American adopted less than 7,092 in FY 2013.

To answer the other question, my daughter was born in Guatemala City, not in the United States.

Can Birth Parents Change Their Minds?

One reason Americans consider international adoption over domestic adoption is the horror stories we  hear of birth parents changing their minds. That cannot happen when adopting foster children. The parent’s right have been terminated and the children are wards of state.

In cases where the birth parent have recently relinquish their parental right in a private adoption, judges always rule for what is in the best interest of the child. The rights of the parent were already terminated so there has to be some MAJOR reason to reinstate those rights.

Can the Adoptive Parents Pick the Child?

Yes, see for more information.

How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Foster Child?

This vary by state and the individual circumstances, but on average adoptions from foster care can be complete within 12 months from the time parents contact the foster care agency.

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Foster Child?

With a $13,360 possible tax credit, most adoptions are are free. Expense eligible for the tax credit will include homestudy and attorney fees, along with travel and administrative (making copies and such). The taxpayers in the state have most of the legal fees, which is the largest part of an adoption.

For most, expenses related to adopting a child from foster care are similar to those of birthing a child including:

  • outfitting your home for the new child’s needs
  • clothing
  • medical expense

Are All Adoptions from Foster Care Successful?

No, however, 98% of legally completed adoptions are still intact. A key factor in all adoption is the flexibility of the parents to be open to the needs of the child. Not to scare you away but these children — by no fault of their own — have not had an easy “normal” life. Your ability to foster them through the transition is prime determination of the success of the adoption.

What Will It Take

15-year-old Davion Only stood up in church on October 6, 2013 and said “I’ll take anyone, old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.” Over 10,000 people contacted his church looking to adopt him. He was born to an inmate who could never care for him. He has spent his whole life in foster care.

Three years from aging out, he makes national news with a simple plea for a family and America responds, which is great but where were those 10,000 people for the last 15 years? He was taken in by a family but unfortunately it seems that from years spent without a dad to guide him and a mom to love him, he is struggle to fit in. He is back in foster care.

There are 101,840 others in Foster Care waiting and wanting what Davion wants.