Preparing to Adopt

The decision to adopt will likely be one of the most rewarding and challenging decisions you ever make. Familiarizing yourself with the adoption process, including where to find help when you need it, connecting with other adoptive families, and understanding the developmental and emotional needs of adolescents are all important steps when considering adopting an older youth from foster care.

In this section you will find information to help inform your decision and ways to prepare you and your family for welcoming a young person in to your home.

Preparing for an adoption from foster care

Adopting from Foster Care
Adoptive Families (2016)
Illustrates the process of adoption from foster care with answers to common questions.

Adoption Assistance for Children Adopted From Foster Care
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Ordene (Gratis)
Year Published 2011
In every State there are children with special needs waiting in foster care for adoptive families. The most recent data estimate that 126,000 children are available to be adopted from foster care. In the past, the costs of care and services were major obstacles to parents who would otherwise adopt and love these children, and most were not placed for adoption. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 provided the first Federal subsidies to encourage the adoption of children from the nation's foster care system. These subsidies, known as adoption assistance, serve to minimize the financial obstacles to adoption. In addition, other types of assistance often are available to help with medical care or other services. Adoption assistance serves to remove barriers and contribute to an increase in adoption of children with special needs. This factsheet discusses this assistance by reviewing: Federal Title IV-E adoption assistance, State adoption assistance, and how to arrange adoption assistance.

Foster Parents Considering Adoption
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Year Published 2012
Summarizes what foster parents should consider while deciding whether to adopt their foster child or youth. This factsheet does not address the specifics of how to adopt; it provides information on the differences between foster care and adoption, advantages of foster parent adoption, strategies for foster/adoptive families, and useful references.

State Guides and Manuals Search
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Lists State publications about adoption that are written for foster, adoptive, and prospective adoptive parents.

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Learning about adopting older youth

7 Key Ingredients for Successfully Adopting a Tween or Teen
Creating a Family
Lists seven things to keep in mind when going through the adoption process of a middle school or high school teen. This resource also includes a recorded radio show with an adoption professional, "Adopting Tweens and Teens—Special Issues to Consider."

Adopting Older Children: Questions Answered
AdoptUSKids
Provides answers to frequently asked questions about adopting an older child.

The Joys and Challenges of Parenting Older Adopted Children
Matloff (2014)
Adoption Advocate, 77
Places an emphasis on the importance of exercising flexibility and maintaining realistic expectations with older adopted children.

Parenting Your Adopted Teenager
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Author(s)
Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Year Published 2015
Offers information to help adoptive parents understand their adopted teenager’s experiences and needs so parents can respond with practical strategies that foster healthy development. These strategies include approaches that acknowledge trauma and loss, support effective communication, promote a teen’s independence, and address behavioral and mental health concerns.

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