Fostering a child and adopting a child are two very different things. You may find yourself moved to go from fostering to adopting because you form a special bond with your foster child. It's possible to do, and it can actually make the adoption process easier on you. However, adopting a foster child can come with some challenges. Here are some things you should prepare yourself for:
Fostering a Child in South Carolina is Possible
In South Carolina, there are thousands of foster children waiting for homes, temporary or otherwise. Many of these children come from neglectful or abusive environments. Usually, these children go into foster care while their domestic situation goes through investigation.
Sometimes that investigation can reveal that the home or parents are unfit to safely raise children. This can lead to a child staying in foster care awaiting a permanent home. It's possible for you to become that foster parent, and eventually that permanent home.
How Fostering Differs from Adoption in South Carolina
It's important to keep in mind the goal of the state is to reunite a foster child with their parents. When you foster a child, you provide a home and basic care. The state will cover some of the associated costs with a monthly stipend, Medicaid, and a clothing allowance. If legal issues occur with the child, the state will take care of it instead of having it fall on you.
In contrast, when you adopt, you take on all responsibility for a child. Their parents or home were deemed unfit, and you will now have the possibility to keep that child in your home. That child becomes your child with all that that implies.
If the child cannot go back to their home or with a relative, the state will place the child into foster homes, group homes, or other places. They will remain in care of the state until a permanent family comes forward. Sometimes, these children can stay in these environments until adulthood.
How Fostering Can Lead to Adoption in South Carolina
The state of South Carolina actively updates lists of the children under government care who are searching for a permanent home. You can foster a child and then apply for adoption for that child. You can foster children temporarily, but you may find you bond in a special way with a particular child.
In such cases, you will still have to go through the normal adoption process. However, you will have a few things in your favor you might not otherwise have.
The state already knows that you have a stable home, income, and meet other basic requirements for the adoption process. You have already spent time with the child and have essentially established a life that includes that particular child. You already know the child and his or her personality.
Additionally the state will see the improvements in that child’s life that came as a result of your care. They state will not overlook how that child feels in your home. Also, as a former/current foster parent, the state may pay for some of the costs associated with the early stages of adoption.
You Will Need Help with Going from Fostering to Adoption in South Carolina
However, even if you start as a foster parent, you may still run into some problems during the adoption process. It can become complicated, so it is strongly recommended that you speak to an attorney about your situation. Even if the process goes smoothly, it's a good idea to have an attorney to guide you through the adoption finalization phases.
Adoption is a legal process, so it helps to have legal representation. If you want to transition from a foster parent to an adoptive one, contact Paul A. Meding, P.A., Attorney at Law to discuss what steps you need to take to keep your child in your family forever.