If you are thinking about adopting a child in Florida, it may be worth your time to take a look a fostering first. Before we take a look at the benefits of fostering, though, let’s take a moment to dispel some common myths and ease any concerns that you might have.
Myths about fostering
I can’t afford it.
The state offers foster families subsidies for both maintenance (regular living expenses) and college education.
Only troubled kids are available.
Though foster kids come from troubled situations by definition, many of them do not have ongoing emotional or mental problems. In fact, the vast majority of them are simply looking for a stable home where they can naturally thrive.
The child will eventually return to his or her biological parents.
While this is frequently the case, you can help a child tremendously even during brief stays. They need to see that security is possible. You can offer them hope. Plus, there are no guarantees about who will end up taking care of the child.
I’m too old to be a foster parent.
Actually, empty nesters can be some of the best foster parents. They have already had years of experience with their own children, so they come into fostering with wisdom gained through trial and error.
Benefits of fostering
It’s a trial run if you are considering adoption.
Not ready to go all-in with adoption? Fostering can help you learn about the adoption process without a full commitment.
You get to learn how the system works.
There is a learning curve to the system, and fostering allows you to learn as you go.
You can give a child the support he or she desperately needs.
Over 100,000 children in the United States are waiting to be placed in homes. Your care will mean the world to them.
You can help an older child feel loved.
If a child is over six years old, their likelihood of adoption dramatically drops. Your commitment to an older child can boost their self-esteem and set them on a better path.
You can help keep a family together.
When a group of siblings is taken from a home, a difficult situation becomes much more painful if they aren’t placed together. If you foster siblings, you can strengthen family bonds.
Adopting a foster child is much less expensive.
The cost is usually less than $2,500, which is literally thousands less than just about any other type of adoption.
If you decide to foster a child
Your best self is the real you, the one with imperfections and quirks. Children in the foster system don’t need a squeaky-clean family to feel at home. They do need a real family and people who love and support one another no matter what.
It’s better to have realistic expectations rather than inflated expectations. Sometimes children go back to their original homes. You might even feel like they are going back into a bad situation. However, plenty of children are looking for forever homes, and yours may be the right one for a special child.
No child is put in the foster care system because they came from a good situation. You’ll need to be strong and compassionate while you help your foster child through the healing process. They need someone who will be patient with them as they grow.
Is fostering right for you? Do you still have questions about Florida’s fostering and adoption requirements? A skilled Florida family law attorney with years of experience in fostering and adoption cases can assist you. We can explain what is involved in a case like yours and how long the process will take. Contact us and we’ll help you get started in the process.