Annoying Myths About Adopting from Foster Care
Sooooooo, If you hang out long enough around people who are hoping to adopt one day or who are interested in adoption (or if you post long diary entry rants on Facebook-me) you're going to run into some misinformation in the comments section. For some reason, there are some SUPER ANNOYING misconceptions about adopting from foster care that are very common, and that drive me NUTS. So get ready for a partially all caps rant about why these things are untrue, and why they're damaging to the ultimate mission of finding homes for kids who need homes:
Myth number 1: You can't adopt from foster care.
AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! Wrong. I've got the two sons to prove it. If you are planning on being a foster parent who takes children from emergency removals, or children whose families are actively working on reunification, then yeah, adoption is not going to be part of your story at first, if ever, nor should it be. Every family deserves the fundamental right to fight for their children. HOWEVER, there are still thousands of WONDERFUL kiddos in the foster care system whose families are no longer able to pursue reunification. Those kids are waiting on an adoptive family to commit to them. And even with the kids who come to you as temporary members of the family, sometimes circumstances take a heartbreaking turn, and those kids end up needing a permanent commitment too. Bottom line: there are multiple routes to adopt from foster care, some more straightforward than others, but it's definitely a valid and AWESOME adoption option.
Myth number 2: It costs a lot of money to adopt from foster care.
WRONG. Also wrong. Guess how much it costs?
Zero. None. Free. NOT A PENNY.
So please find a different excuse to use as to why you can't adopt because that one isn't cutting it.
Myth number 3: You have to be a fancy person with 3 extra bedrooms, an excellent credit core, and a minivan with a TV in it to adopt from foster care.
Um, definitely not. I am a messy person who started out with only ONE extra bedroom (hence why I've always been an only boys mom), an ok credit score, and a tiny Kia Sol that is the size and shape of a Porta-Potty. It's like a clown car, and we stuff as many kids as we can into that thing. I was 21 when I first started foster parenting, and I parented my first two boys in a rented apartment in a busy college neighborhood. Their bedroom looked like it was carpeted, but it was really just a giant piece of carpet remanent that I bought to cover the floor in the rental, which was so old that the wood was splintery and hazardous. So yeah, I was not winning any HGTV awards. The social workers didn't care, and the kids didn't either. If you're a safe grown up human with a home that has an extra bedroom in it and you've never committed a violent felony, you can adopt from foster care.
Myth number 4: You have to have biological kids first, then adopt kids.
If you know who started this stupid myth, please let me know so that I can punch them right in their uterus. No, seriously. This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. First of all, kiddos who've been through trauma sometimes do better as an only child, so adopting your first child is a GREAT option because it gives you years of time to bond with them and work on their healing, potentially without other kids' needs getting in the way. Secondly, adoption is a BOMB option for women who aren't sure yet about pregnancy, single women, or LGBTQ couples because you can fulfill your dreams of becoming a parent without waiting until you're physically ready to be pregnant, or until you meet Mr./Mrs. Right, or until you have 50k to pay a surrogate to carry your IVF/donor sperm baby. Most importantly, kids who were adopted deserve to know that they were a wanted child, that THEY were your plan A, your first choice. And while it's totally fine to adopt after having biological kids, there's not some requirement that you HAVE to have the bio kids first. Bio kids are not a better option than adopted kids, and adoption can be a magical journey into first time parenthood.
Basically, I'm tired of all the excuses.
"You know, I would love to adopt kids from foster care. But I'm a little broke right now from my vacation to Key West, and the moon is in Aquarius. Maybe someday 10 years from now after we have 5 biological kids, we'll consider it. Now is just not the right time!"
Newsflash: it's never going to be the right time. But it's also never going to be the right time for a kid to sit in foster care. It's time for more of the people who "totally want to fo that someday" to put their grown up pants on and do this damn thing.
Visit adoptuskids.org to get a firsthand look at the kids who are waiting for someone, maybe it's you, to be the family that they need.