Are you wanting to adopt but don’t have thousands of dollars to pay fees? Have you been told you have to foster to adopt but fostering is not an option for your family? Then our They Wait program may be just what you need!
There are nearly 7,000 children in the Texas foster care system currently who are legally free for adoption. This means that parental rights have already been terminated and they are ready to placed in an adoptive home – no fostering required! If you have been told you are required to foster to adopt children from CPS, please understand that is an agency policy and not a policy of the state of Texas! Here are some amazing facts about adopting a child in our They Wait program: • Thousands of children ages 6-18 are waiting to be adopted - today! • The only fee for this program is a $250 application fee due before you start training • If you hire an attorney who accepts the state rate for finalizations, you will not pay any fees for finalization. This means it is possible to complete an adoption through our They Wait program for $250! (And no we did not forget a zero!) • Many of the children in this program qualify for adoption subsidy which means: o They will qualify for Medicaid until their 18th birthday (Some qualify until their 23rd birthday) o You will receive a small monthly stipend until their 18th (or 23rd) birthday. • They qualify for free college tuition at any state college! If you would like more information about our They Wait program please contact us, or look here for an outline of the program!
Foster Vs Adoption
Fostering and adopting are not the same! The Texas Child Welfare System is structured in a way that attempts to use the words synonymously when in fact they are polar opposites. Fostering can, and often does, end in adoption. However, fostering is meant to be temporary and adoption is meant to be permanent! Fostering means you have a child whose parents cannot care for them at the moment for one reason or another. You agree to parent that child as if they are your own while still understanding that the child is actually not yours. Foster parents do what is ultimately an impossible task - love a child as their own while still being willing/able to let go when the child is returned to their biological parents or another safe (hopefully) relative. In Texas we have a HUGE shortage of goodfoster parents. No matter where you live, there is a need! If fostering is something you have felt called to do, I would encourage you to take the next step and at least attend an informational meeting in your area with an agency that license foster homes.
Adoption however is meant to be a lifelong commitment to a child as your own! Even in our Texas system of child welfare, there is a legal distinction between fostering and adopting. When a child is placed in an adoptive placement through DFPS, the child leaves the "foster system". They are entered as "intended to be permanent" placement. They are no longer considered a foster child. There is never supposed to be another move. Now many CPS units are even writing up the adoptive placement agreement with the new last name of the adoptive family - something that can never be allowed in a foster placement. In Texas we call this process matched adoption.
The use of the words foster and adoption synonymously causes several issues. The first is that families licensed foster-to-adopt are often told that they have to foster in order to adopt. That is simply not the case in Texas. That may be the agency's requirement, but it is not a state requirement. If your goal is adoption, and you are being told you have to foster, I would highly encourage you to seek out a different agency.
Another issue is that foster-to-adopt families are told at time of placement that a child "will most likely be adoptable" when in reality no one knows that for sure until the judge terminates parental rights! Sure, there are cases where all parties would agree the case should end in termination, but that does not mean a relative might not be found that could take the child. And sometimes cases just go a different direction than anyone ever expected. When you have a foster-to-adopt family who has been told the placement will most likely end in adoption, the parents have a false concept that the child is already theirs. That makes biological family visits difficult. It makes the judge's decisions to extend a case painful. When if we truly used the language as it is meant to be, a family with a foster placement would know they are caring for a child that is not yet - and may never be - theirs. The result of not drawing a clear line between children in foster placements and children in adoptive parents is heartbreak for the foster family who was acting as if the child was in an adoptive - permanent - placement because of unclear messages from an agency or simply misunderstood roles! Sadly, it also often means losing amazing foster families because they feel they were lied to by the system - and in a lot of cases they are correct. The only time a family should be told there is a chance at a adopting a child is when parental rights have already been terminated! That is the only time a child is legally available for adoption (for the purposes we are explaining here anyway). These families who were amazing foster families often stop after their first or second placement.
The most heartbreaking issue in the work of Addy's Hope in a system using foster and adoption synonymously is the disruption of adoptive placements. That is when a child is placed in a home as an adoptive placement with the child and the parents agreeing that his is meant to be the "forever" home only to have the child leave the home before the adoption is finalized. When we operate in a foster driven system, adoptive placements hardly exist. Most agencies leave children in the foster placement until just before finalization - moving them to adoptive placement just days before it goes to court. However, for agencies such as Addy's Hope who understand families who do not want to foster, adoptive placement is permanent. There is no 30 day notice to have a child removed from your home in an adoptive placement. Taking a child as an adoptive placement means taking the child as your own - forever.
With that goal in mind, and based on the state regulations for adoption, Addy's Hope is dedicated to training families for permanency. We do not ask families to complete all the state foster requirements because our families will not ever foster. We are able to focus on preparing parents for life after placement as they learn to build the lives of strangers together as a family.
When selecting an agency, we encourage you to decide if you want to foster or adopt. If your goal is adoption, please make sure you are working with an agency that supports adoptive placements. If you desire to foster with the option to adopt if the child becomes legally free, then find an agency who will be up front and honest with you at the time of placement - and always remember until you are shown a termination of parental rights or voluntary relinquishment of parental rights, the child is not available for adoption in the DFPS system. And if you have a heart to provide foster care to children with no desire to adopt, run - don't walk! - to the nearest agency and start the process to love on these children who so desperately need it! Then be ready to let them go when the time comes - whether back to biological family or to an adoptive family who has committed to their forever! We need all of you: foster, foster-to-adopt, and matched adoption! More importantly, the children need all of you!