Infant Adoption vs. Foster Care in California

There are several types of adoption, and none are "better" than the others. It all depends on your unique situation. Regardless of the type of adoption you choose, we can help.

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Oftentimes, when a prospective adoptive family approaches our agency and is still unsure which family-building path to pursue, they’re usually trying to decide between private infant adoption and foster care adoption. In knowing they want to be permanent parents of a child and want to adopt within the United States, these are the two options they’ve narrowed down to in their family-building journey.

But, how do you choose between adoption from foster care or adoption from a prospective birth mother?

Ultimately, the decision will be up to you and what you think is best for your family.

Our adoption professionals will be available to support you through this choice by explaining exactly what each process entails at our agency and whether your adoption goals and preferences fit one process more than the other. Because we complete several different kinds of adoptions at FCCA, we can help you find the exact process that works best for you.

As you’re considering your options of adoption from foster care and adoption through a private process, there are some important things about each path to consider.

Foster Care Adoption

First off, when we’re talking about foster care, it’s important to recognize the difference between foster care adoption and foster care in California. The first is a permanent placement, while the second is a temporary placement designed to reunify foster children with their birth parents.

At FCCA, we focus on foster care adoptions. Our fos-adopt program is a low-risk program that places children waiting for adoption into homes with families who are ready to permanently commit to being their parents. Many of these children are older and in desperate need of stable, supportive homes to reach their hopes and dreams.

When you work with our fos-adopt program, we provide the services you need to bring a child from foster care into your family. Our adoption professionals will provide you with the training and education to find the right waiting child, as well as post-placement services to help your family adjust to this new addition and finalization services when your adoption is ready to be completed. We know how beautiful but challenging the foster care adoption process can be, which is why we are dedicated to providing the services that hopeful families need to successfully adopt.

So, why do people choose adoption from foster care vs. adoption from a prospective birth mother? There are several reasons:

  • They are willing to parent older children. Many of the children in foster care are older, and a small number of infants and babies available for adoption through foster care make a younger child placement more difficult, unless those younger children are also placed with older siblings. Those who choose foster care adoption are willing and ready to bring an older child into their home, even with the unique challenges of doing so.
  • They are willing to adopt a child with special needs. Many of the children in the foster care system have different levels of special needs, whether that means being of a racial minority or having emotional and behavioral problems. In most cases, these needs can be solved by placement in a supportive, stable family that has been trained to help children heal from trauma. Remember, FCCA adoption professionals provide all the resources and training needed for a special needs adoption.
  • They want a shorter wait time to placement. Adoptive parents who work with FCCA typically receive a placement within 3-12 months of starting their adoption process, although the adoption finalization will usually take at least another six months to be completed. International and private domestic infant adoptions have longer wait periods, so parents who want to adopt with a shorter wait time may choose foster care adoption instead.
  • They prefer a lower adoption cost. Foster care adoption is the least expensive adoption process, with adoptive parents paying an average of $2,000 (and receiving financial assistance during and after the process). Private infant adoption and international adoption can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so foster care adoption provides an alternative, affordable family-building process.

These are just a few of the reasons prospective adoptive parents choose foster care adoption over private domestic infant adoption — but certainly not all of them. Each family is unique, with different adoption goals and preferences. It is vitally important that you determine what’s best for your family before deciding to pursue foster care adoption in California.

What if you’re thinking about adoption versus foster care, as in being a foster parent? Some signs may indicate you’re ready for a permanent foster care adoption, but if you’re not, know that being a foster parent is in no way any less noble than adoption. It’s a temporary state, where you’ll serve as a therapeutic, short-term home for a child in need, helping them to reunify with their biological parents. If you’re interested in this process, please contact your local county child welfare agency.

Private Domestic Infant Adoption

In addition to foster care adoption, FCCA also has a private domestic infant adoption program. In this family-building process, a pregnant woman decides to place her infant for adoption with a waiting adoptive family and usually maintains some kind of contact as her child grows up, whether it’s through a personal relationship or mediated contact by adoption professionals.

Like with our fos-adopt program, FCCA’s adoption professionals will explain to you how the private domestic infant adoption process works and guide you along the way. We’ll help you complete your home study, post-placement and finalization requirements, as well as your adoption profile for marketing to prospective birth mothers. To increase your chances of a quicker match, you can simultaneously work with an adoption matching service to help you find an adoption opportunity. However, it is important to closely investigate such services, many of which are unlicensed entities with no regulatory oversight. Reputable matching services are usually licensed as an adoption agency in at least one state, or they are run by experienced adoption attorneys. Complete your due diligence before handing over any large sum of money for a matching service, especially if they try to pressure you based on the need to make a quick match with an imminently-due birth mother.

Parents looking to adopt domestically choose private domestic adoption vs. foster care adoption in California for several reasons:

  • They want to adopt a baby. Adopting an infant from the foster care system usually requires a long wait and high legal risk. If parents want to raise a child from infancy, they will usually pursue a private domestic infant adoption to ensure placement of a newborn or young infant.
  • They are comfortable with birth parent contact. Many women who choose to place their child for adoption do so with the comfort that they will be able to see their baby grow up in a happy, supportive family — and maybe even have a personal relationship with their child. Adoptive parents who choose this kind of adoption are willing to maintain this kind of relationship (based on the birth mother’s preferences) for the best interest of their child.
  • They have specific desires for adopting a single child at a time. With both private domestic infant adoption and foster care adoption, adoptive parents can choose or refuse any specific placement. However, while most adoptive parents of foster children should be willing to accept those with special needs or behavioral issues, those adopting through the private domestic infant adoption can be more selective about medical history, race, gender and contact preferences, among other things. These adoption preferences may impact the overall wait time but helps the family to adopt children that fit the family’s adoption goals.

Deciding Which Option is Right for You

Choosing between adoption from foster care and adoption from a prospective birth mother is an important decision to make, and it should be done only after you have researched as much as you can about each process. Fortunately, the knowledge base of FCCA’s adoption professionals can help you through this life-changing decision. To learn more about each of these processes and to discuss which might fit your adoption goals best, please contact our offices today.