It used to be that people who had first become foster parents, with the sole intent of providing a safe and loving interim environment for one or more children, then perhaps decided to carry on and adopt.
But now there is the 'Fost Adopt' scheme. Where people have the intention of adopting right from the beginning, and are able to provide the child with a safe and loving foster home, whilst the adoption process runs its course.
Fost-Adopt programs were created to bridge the gap between a child’s initial need for temporary care and the long-term need for a permanent home.
Babies and children who come into the fost-adopt scheme are usually considered special needs children.
For purposes of adoption, special needs children are often considered to be:
- Older children, generally over the age of two, but the age varies from state to state
- Racial or ethnic factors (any child of color)
- Member of a sibling group of two or more children
- Children with a physical or mental disability
- Children with an emotional disturbance, or
- A recognized high risk of physical or mental disease, or
- Any combination of the above factors or conditions
All the initial checks must be carried out to first ensure you would be a suitable foster parent. But once all these criteria are met, its quite common for a baby or child to become available at very short notice. The social worker may already know that the baby or child going into care would be very unlikely to be placed back with the biological parents, and would be looking for long term foster care or people who have shown an interest in fost-adopt.
The parameters for fost-adopt parents are fairly broad
- Single or married
- If you are married, you must have been married for at least 2 years
- You may own or rent your home, as long as it meets the size requirements for your state
- Ages vary from state to state, but a general age bracket is age 21 to age 55
- No felony convictions- this can also include drunk driving and drug issues
- Any race or religion
In most states, you are considered a foster parent during the period between placement and adoption. You have all the rights and responsibilities that accompany foster parents, but this may limit what you can and can not do in regards to your child, be sure to check with you social worker.