Can I pick the child I want to adopt through foster care in Virginia?

Can I pick the child I want to adopt?

Can I pick the child I want to adopt?

You’ve done all the research, and now you’re ready to dive into the world of adoption. It is quite possible you may be pondering, “Can I select the foster care child I would like to adopt?” The answer is a little complicated. 

The Virginia Department of Social Services reports, about 60% of foster care youth are adopted by their foster parent(s). These young people likely entered into the foster parent’s home with a permanency goal* of returning home, then throughout their foster care episode, their goal was changed to adoption because all other strategies to return the child home to their birth parents or to a relative have not been successful.

When this happens, in my experience, the local department of social services is going to ask the child’s current foster parent if they are interested in adoption before reaching out to any other adoption resources, as the foster parent(s) have a wealth of knowledge and affection for the youth already, and it would limit the number of changes the youth would need to make.

If that foster parent says no, then the department of social services will begin to reach out to their resources to begin the search for a forever family for the youth.

Adoption is the gift of life

What are the methods for searching for potential permanent families?

The local department of social services family service worker can reach out through their own pool of locally licensed foster families, call private foster care or adoption agencies like Extra Special Parents, and/or have the youth listed on sites like AdoptUsKids, a site created to help connect prospective adoptive families with youth available for adoption.

What does this process look like on the prospective adoptive parent’s end?

Here's how the adoption process works. To adopt children in foster care or a child in the child welfare system, you’re going to need to be licensed with either a local department of social service or a private foster care agency.

During this process, you’ll get a home study completed and get to know the process of adopting through foster care. If you’re solely focused on adopting, getting a child in your home may take time, as I mentioned above, most children adopted in foster care are adopted by their foster parents, and the journey from entering care to having adoption as a permanency goal can take up to or longer than thirteen months.

But, while getting your home study completed, you’ll talk with the person completing your home study about your life, your family, your interests, and why you want to adopt, among a number of other things, and this will be used by the department of social service workers to determine if you and a particular youth will be a good match for each other.

Is it possible to select the foster care child I would like to adopt ?

Basically, this all boils down to whether you can pick what youth you would like to be considered for. If you’re with some kind of fostering agency, either private or not, you may receive calls where someone will describe a youth in need of a family, or you may find a youth on a site like AdoptUSKids and tell your family service worker you’d like to be considered. If it’s a good match, ultimately determined by the local department of social services worker for the youth, then the getting-to-know-you process begins.

 *Permanency goal:  

What the department is social services is working toward for the youth. Foster care is a temporary solution. Examples include: Return home, relative placement, and adoption. 

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