Learning About Foster Care Adoption in Ohio: Is It Right for You?
Are you prepared to start a family but not sure if you’re ready to raise an infant? Maybe you are motivated to provide a home to a deserving child in the foster care system. In either case, adoption through foster care in Ohio can be a satisfying way to grow the family you’ve always wanted.
Adopting from foster care in Ohio certainly has its challenges, but it’s often a rewarding experience. Private adoption gives you shorter wait times and more control of the process, but there are also distinct benefits to adoption through foster care in OH.
If you’re considering OH foster parent adoption, there may be a few areas of concern you should think about. Our goal is to help you gain an understanding of the process, learn the reasons some families choose foster care adoption in OH, and come to terms with the potential challenges you could face with adoption through foster care in Ohio.
A good first step if you’re considering any type of adoption is to speak to a licensed adoption professional. We can help you with that. You can talk to one of our compassionate, knowledgeable specialists today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing our online form.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at foster care adoption in Ohio and how it could impact your family.
What’s Foster Care Adoption in Ohio?
So what is adoption through foster care in Ohio, and what does it entail? Foster care adoption in Ohio is the adoption of a child in the foster system following the termination of their biological parents’ rights. In OH foster care adoption, a child is eligible for adoption by their foster parents or other families that have met Ohio’s eligibility criteria.
There are two ways to adopt from foster care in the state of OH. You can pursue a straight adoption through foster care in Ohio without ever fostering, or you can pursue a form of OH foster parent adoption called fostering to adopt, in which you serve as a foster parent while awaiting the termination of the birth parent’s rights.
On any day, there could be around 16,000 children in Ohio’s foster system, many of whom can be adopted permanently. Our agency, American Adoptions, is focused on domestic infant adoption only, but we understand that may not be the right path for everyone. You can pursue adoption from another country through international adoption, or maybe you’d rather grow your family through foster care adoption in Ohio. That’s totally fine. It’s your choice to make.
Is Adopting from Foster Care in Ohio the Same as Private Adoption?
Though foster care adoption in OH and private domestic adoption do share some common characteristics and requirements, there are also some important distinctions to make between the two types of adoption.
In Ohio, adoption through foster care is similar to state foster care adoption anywhere else in the U.S. It always involves a child in the care of the foster system. That placement may stem from a variety of causes, but it usually happens after a child is removed from the biological home due to adverse circumstances.
The foster system attempts to reunite the biological parents and the child once the adverse conditions are remediated. However, that’s not always possible. When the child can’t be reunited with the biological parents, the birth parent’s parental rights may be terminated, and the child can be permanently adopted into another family.
However, in some cases, reunification occurs. It may even happen after the child spends a long period, possibly even years, in foster care. For prospective parents seeking a foster care adoption opportunity, that can be particularly difficult. Biological family reunification could mean that an adoption opportunity never comes to fruition.
That’s one of the reasons that adoption out of the foster care system in OH may not appeal to every hopeful family. If the idea of never getting an adoption opportunity after years of fostering is a concern for you, domestic infant adoption may be a better choice since there’s no real risk of reunification in private adoption.
Still, reunification isn’t always an option, and in those cases, adoption from foster care in OH is possible. Following the termination of the parental rights of the biological parents, the state can seek a home for the child through the child’s biological relatives to identify a permanent family to adopt them. If that’s not a viable option, a foster family adoption in OH can move forward.
How Do You Pursue Foster Care Adoption in Ohio? [6 Steps]
Every adoption scenario is different because the child’s circumstances and the parents’ chosen way of adopting out of the foster care system in OH can vary. Still, many families go through the following steps when pursuing foster system adoption in OH.
Step 1: Decide What You Want to Accomplish Through OH Foster Care Adoption
You’ve decided Ohio foster care adoption is right for you. There are three ways to go about it. You can:
- Become a temporary foster parent
- Foster to adopt while waiting for termination of birth parent rights
- Wait for a direct adoption in foster care in OH without fostering.
Before you can move forward with your adoption plan, you’ll need to set your adoption goals. Your chosen method of foster care adoption will guide your path.
Step 2: Identify the Best OH State Foster Care Adoption Professional
Adoption professionals will serve as your guide throughout the process, providing support and resources from start to finish.
In foster care adoption in Ohio, you’ll work with specialized public agencies that facilitate the process. To get started, you’ll need to find one and make contact. Though not the case in every state, Ohio gives hopeful parents an opportunity to select a licensed agency that best suits them, just like with other kinds of adoption.
Step 3: Undertake OH Adoption Foster Parent Training
No matter how you choose to adopt through foster care, you’ll probably be required to attend pre-adoption parenting classes before moving forward with foster parent adoption in OH. That training may include:
- PS-MAPP (Permanence and Safety-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting)
- PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education.)
In most states, that training can be attended online and in person. In Ohio, the training course includes 24 hours of coursework.
Step 4: Apply for Adoption Through Foster Care in OH
The next step in your journey is applying for adoption through foster care in Ohio. Through the application process, you’ll be required to submit information about your life and your experience with children. Also included in the application process are mandatory child abuse and neglect checks and a general criminal background check.
Step 5: Go through the required home study conducted by a licensed professional
The adoption home study is a pivotal point in almost every adoption journey, and that’s also true in foster care adoption in Ohio. Hopeful foster or adoptive parents are required to complete an Ohio home study conducted by a licensed home study professional.
Step 6: Wait for the perfect adoption opportunity
If you decide to foster while awaiting a permanent adoption opportunity, your wait time will probably be short. Approximately 16,000 children are under the care of Ohio’s foster system, and around 2,600 need homes now.
If you opted for direct foster care adoption in Ohio, you might be waiting a while for a match. If you don’t want to foster, aren’t concerned with the age of the adoptee, and want the shortest possible wait time, private domestic adoption may be a better choice for your family.
What are the Requirements for Foster Care Adoption in Ohio?
The requirements for foster care adoption in Ohio differ from those that govern private domestic adoption. Potential parents who want to become eligible for foster care adoption in OH must meet these requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years of age to adopt. To foster, you must be 21 years of age.
- At least one person in your home must be able to read, write and speak English or be able to communicate effectively with both the child and the agency that placed the child in your home.
- You may be single or married. All orientations are acceptable.
- All religious affiliations are acceptable.
- You must be able to provide contact information for individuals who can provide references for you.
- Your household must have enough income to meet the basic needs of those already living in the home and to make timely payments of shelter costs.
- You do not have to own a home but must have enough space available for foster children and their belongings.
- For foster children, you must have a separate bed for each child and separate bedrooms for children if there are boys and girls over age 5.
- You must be free of any physical, emotional or mental conditions that could endanger the child or seriously impair your ability to care for the child.
- Everyone 18 and over living in the home must have criminal background checks completed, as well as child abuse and neglect checks.
- Your home must be free of hazardous conditions and pass a fire inspection and safety audit.
- You must complete all training required by your agency.
The Pros and Cons of Foster Care Adoption in Ohio
Adoption out of the foster care system in Ohio offers a rewarding way to build a family if you don’t necessarily wish to adopt an infant. That said, it’s wise to consider these pros and cons of foster care adoption in OH before deciding.
Pros of Foster Care Adoption in Ohio
- Shorter wait time when fostering to adopt: At any given time, there are more children in foster care waiting for adoption than there are available adoptive parents. All kids deserve a loving home, a supportive family, and an opportunity to become the person they’re meant to be. You can provide all those things through Ohio foster parent adoption. Fostering to adopt means you’ll likely get a placement soon after fulfilling the requirements. However, direct adoption through foster care in OH can lead to longer wait times than those in private domestic adoption. The average wait time with American Adoptions is 9-12 months, but straight adoption through foster care in OH may involve wait times measured in years. A permanent adoption may never happen at all.
- Disrupted adoptions are rare: No prospective parent wants to go through a disrupted adoption. The risk of disruption is much lower in Ohio foster care adoption since kids in foster care aren’t eligible for adoption until their birth parent’s rights are terminated. Reunification just isn’t a real possibility after foster care adoption in OH. (Please note that with American Adoptions, disrupted adoptions rarely occur. We have a 96% success rate in private adoptions because we work to prevent disruptions through birth mother counseling and pre-screening. We also protect hopeful parents from financial risk with our industry-leading adoption financial protection program that provides you a full refund on adoption costs if a disruption occurs.
- Lower cost: Domestic and international infant adoptions are costly (almost $50,000 in some cases.), and that can be an obstacle for some families. But foster care adoption in OH is far less expensive. You may also get financial assistance to help offset any foster care adoption costs you may incur.
Cons of Foster Care Adoption in Ohio
- Difficult circumstances result in trauma: Kids awaiting adoption through foster care in OH may have been through great hardship and adversity in childhood. The result is that some children in OH foster care adoption have considerable difficulty adapting to their new lives after placement. That means they will need to work with a counselor, which requires additional investments of time, emotion, and funds needed to help your child adapt to your home. That’s not an issue in private domestic infant adoption because your baby will grow up in the safe, loving home you provide.
- Open adoption isn’t an option: If you choose private adoption, you can enjoy the benefits of open adoption. That’s a good thing because it helps adoptees confront feelings of rejection and grief, and it lets them know who they are and where they come from. Open adoption isn’t an option in foster care adoption in OH. Due to the nature of foster care placement and the negative circumstances that usually lead to it, there’s usually little, or no contact with the birth parents after their parental rights are terminated by the court.
- Additional steps required: There are additional steps involved in foster care adoption in OH, such as additional training that’s not required for hopeful parents in private domestic adoption. These extra steps, though important, slow down the adoption process. Some parents find attending the training to be difficult since the training in Ohio includes 24 hours of coursework over several weeks. There is no such required training for private domestic adoption, however.
- Fostering-to-adopt is sometimes difficult: Hopeful parents pursuing foster care adoption in OH can start with “fostering to adopt” until the child’s birth parents no longer have their parental rights. It’s not a given that those rights will be terminated, so the wait time for permanent adoption can stretch for years. Many potential adoptive families find that difficult to process. Remember, the foster system strives to reunify biological families when possible, and adoption is only a secondary goal if reunification isn’t an option. It can be disappointing if an opportunity for permanent adoption through foster care in OH never materializes. If you want to guarantee you’ll get a permanent adoption opportunity, consider private domestic adoption. After adoption papers are signed by the birth parents, your child will become yours fully to love forever.
Final Words Regarding Foster Care Adoption in Ohio
Foster care adoption in OH is a wonderful option for potential parents who want to provide a stable home and loving family for a child in need. Giving a child a chance to be the person they’re meant to become with a bright future through OH foster system adoption is noble and kind. It also lets you build the family you’ve always wanted.
Not sure whether OH foster care adoption or private adoption is right for you? The good news is we’re here to help you explore your options. You can speak to an experienced professional today by completing our online form or calling 1-800-ADOPTION.
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