Thousands of Arizona children are in need of a safe, stable, and loving home. At first glance, fostering care and adoption seem similar – both processes involve bringing a child into your home to support and nurture. Foster care is a temporary arrangement, however, while adoption is a permanent assumption of parental rights.
Foster care and adoption can go hand-in-hand – a process known as foster-to-adopt in Arizona. At the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC, we provide compassionate guidance to hopeful parents as they become licensed foster families and, eventually, transition into their role as lifelong parents.
What Is Fostering?
Fostering refers to the process of providing a temporary home to a child who cannot live with their biological family. Children across Arizona may be removed from the homes of their biological parents for a variety of reasons, including abuse and neglect. Left without a stable and loving home, these children often enter the foster care system until they can reunite with their families or until they are free for adoption.
It is important to understand that the primary goal of foster care is to reunite children with their biological parents. As a foster parent, you will be responsible for helping to facilitate reunification as much as possible. Nonetheless, some children are never able to return to their homes. In these cases, the child will become available for adoption.
How Many Children Are in Foster Care in Arizona?
According to data from the Arizona Department of Child Safety, there are roughly 14,000 children currently in the foster care system, but only 3,000 licensed foster families. There is a need for foster families across the state, and more and more hopeful parents are looking to foster-to-adopt in Arizona to provide a loving home to children and potentially grow their families in the process.
What Is Foster-to-Adopt in Arizona?
While foster care is the temporary placement of a child outside of their home, adoption involves permanently assuming the parental rights and responsibilities from the child’s biological parents. Adoption can only happen after the parental rights of the child’s biological parents have been terminated. Foster-to-adopt in Arizona refers to the process by which foster parents adopt the child in their care.
More and more states are beginning to view foster care and adoption as a continuum. In response, state statutes have named this type of planning as a goal, encouraging hopeful adoptive parents to be foster parents first. Currently, the vast majority of states – including Arizona – have introduced the concept of foster-to-adopt in their strategy to place vulnerable children in permanent homes.
In Arizona, foster parents who are already licensed by the state and have cared for their foster child for at least six months may streamline the adoption process. Licensed foster parents may only need to complete a criminal background check and child abuse registry before they are able to adopt their foster child.
What Are the Benefits of Foster-to-Adopt?
There are a range of benefits associated with the foster-to-adopt process. Some of these benefits include:
- Jump starts the bonding process between your family and your foster child, which can ease the transition post-adoption.
- Increased experience parenting children of all ages
- Opportunity to assess whether you and the child are a good match.
- More stability for the child, who will benefit from the safety and securing of a loving home.
- Ability to demonstrate your suitability for adoptive placement.
Providing love, care, and support to a child in need can be a fulfilling experience. Serving as a foster parent will allow you to begin parenting sooner than ever, which is a great benefit for hopeful parents who are yearning to share their love and knowledge with a child.
What Are the Challenges of Foster-to-Adopt?
If you are considering foster-to-adopt in Arizona, it is important to weigh the benefits of fostering a child with the distinct challenges of the process before moving forward. As a foster parent, you must actively support efforts to reunify the child with their biological parent. You should be prepared for the possibility that the child you hoped to adopt will return to their birth parents – or be placed with other relatives. These uncertainties can be confusing and challenging for many families.
Which Adoption Option Is Right for Me?
It is important to seek as much information as possible before moving forward with your decision. Hopeful parents should consider all options before making the choice to foster-to-adopt in Arizona. At the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC, we help our clients navigate the unique benefits and challenges of fostering in order to make an informed decision about the future of their family.
The decision to pursue the foster to adoption process is a life-changing choice. If you are considering fostering, adoption, or the foster-to-adopt process, you may benefit from exploring the following questions:
- Do you want your relationship with the child to be temporary or permanent?
- Are you ready to assume all legal parental rights for the child?
- Can you do what is necessary to support the reunification of your foster child with their biological parents?
Both adoption and foster care involve providing love and care to children who are not biologically related to you. Children in the foster care system may have experienced trauma that led to them being removed from their home. Each child is unique, and parenting is a life-long journey of learning and growth. If you are dedicated to growing your family and want to provide care to a child in need, the foster-to-adopt process may be right for you.
How Can the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC Help With the Foster-to-Adopt Process?
For so many families across Arizona, providing a forever home to a foster child is one of the most rewarding ways to grow a family and fulfill the lifelong dream of becoming a parent. At the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC, our team of experienced attorneys have helped countless hopeful parents foster-to-adopt in Arizona and navigate this unique, fulfilling path to parenthood. To learn more about how we can help, consider scheduling a consultation with us at (602) 560-7494 today.