Why Some Foster Children Do not want To Be Adopted?

A foster child with No written on her hand

Adoption is an incredible journey of love, bringing together parent and child to provide a safe and nurturing environment that allows young people to flourish.

While many children are exuberant to find their "forever family," others are not.

As a parent, you may be dreaming about adoption day. Still, your enthusiasm may not be matched by the child living in foster care. Understanding why a foster child may not feel this way is crucial.

Let's take a look at some of the most common reasons below.

Reasons That Foster Kids Don't want to be adopted

Children may be taken into foster care by child protective services, including abuse and neglect. Figures suggest that approximately 90% of foster youth have been exposed to a traumatic event in their childhood, and being removed from their home is just one. Some children may carry no trauma, but some may have bad memories of their past.

Children in foster care have a different perspective than children who have not been removed for safety. Understandably, they may have negative feelings toward traditional family structures.

Painful experiences with either their biological family or a foster family can create resistance to becoming part of a new family adoptive family.

It can take a lot of time to convince a child that you can provide them with a loving and stable home and support all their mental health, physical, and personal safety concerns. It may require patience from the prospective adoptive parents and support from your adoption agencies. If you are interested in adopting a child, fill out this form on our website to learn more about your foster-to-adopt options.

A Fear of Change 

Many people of all ages fear a change of circumstances. This fear is not limited to foster children. Walking toward the unfamiliar and unknown can be scary, especially if you have a traumatic past. One of the reasons a foster-adopt child has to live with a foster parent for six months under Virginia adoption laws is to give a child and a parent to make sure the family will be successful before the final adoption papers can be filed with the court. 

It also ensures that you, the child, and the family are confident with the match for the forever home. The children understand the journey; this is part of the adoption services provided by all your foster care programs.

While foster parents are often excited to welcome a child into their home, the child may be more apprehensive. There are plenty of new things that could unsettle them. To name just a few, they'll have to face a new home, school, rules, and ways of being. A birth parent and an adoptive parent's house will differ, and adjusting takes time.

It can be overwhelming for children, and they may fear that a significant change like this could worsen their lives. To help ease this burden of fear, communicate with the child, offering support through simple words of kindness and understanding. If they are age-appropriate, have an informed discussion about the adoption.

Talk to them about the Adoption Home study you went through. So they can see the effort you put into this domestic adoption and discuss the post-placement services that could still be available to them and what they feel they need.

Given the opportunity, a foster parent can make an incredible impact on the child and our communities. Please don't give up because 95% of foster parents said they would make the same decision again.

They Want to Reunite With Their Biological Family

Another reason a child may not want to be adopted is due to a strong desire to return to their biological family. They may be in denial about their situation and are still holding out hope of being reunited with their birth parents.

A "forever home" may sound daunting to a child who still dreams of returning to their original home even though the adoption may be in the child's interest. The child may not see it that way! In some cases, foster children may need to prove their loyalty to their biological parents by refusing legitimate adoption options.

They may also feel guilt about saying yes to foster parents if they are still attached to an idea of their biological family. Using your tools of love and understanding, you should speak with them to get to the root of the problem. Your Child Placing Agency CPA will be able to give you great advice in this area with your Clinical Specialist.

They're Not Ready

You may feel that you're ready to be a parent to this child, but there are many complex reasons why a child may not yet want to be adopted.

They may have lost their trust in adults, and it will take time and patience for them to come around. Check out this blog to understand better how foster children feel and the safety they seek.

The child may be just not ready. Be understanding while helping them to open up about their feelings. Then, you'll be better placed to put them at ease over their fears and anxieties.

No one said adoption is easy, and the process can be challenging. But, guided by the incredible force of love, adopting a kid will change their life and yours for the better.

Must Foster Children Give Consent?

It's vital to take into account child rights. Depending on the state, a child over a certain age may be required to agree to the adoption verbally.

In Virginia, the law states that a child aged 14 or older must consent to the adoption. Without their consent, the adoption cannot go forward. For younger children, their feelings about adoption may be considered by the court.

Ideally, foster parents should help the child be optimistic about adoption before going through with it. Communicate with them, understand their concerns, and talk to your local adoption agency about their concerns.

It's incredible to help take a child out of foster care, but adopting them against their will is likely to start your lives together on the wrong note.

What Are My Options Now?

There are other opportunities if the child still doesn't want to give their consent after you've offered them patience and understanding. Sometimes it's just not meant to be. Please speak with your child's caseworker and take their opinion on board.

While you may feel many complex emotions after missing out on the opportunity to become foster to adopt parents, many children are eligible for adoption in the foster care system. In 2019, more than 71,000 children in the USA were waiting to be adopted.

Don't Give Up on Adoption.

You may be ready to open your heart and home to complete a home study process, protect children in need and work the adoption process and adopt a foster child. Still, it's not uncommon for a child to have reservations. There can be a range of reasons why they feel this way.

It's your job to listen to them, understand their fears and anxieties, and support them through the process. Remember not to be afraid to accept adoption counseling to talk through and support you in this journey if you feel it will help you process your feelings. If it doesn't work out, there are other adoption options available.

Contact us if you have further questions or want help to become a foster to adopt parent.

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