Analysis

Adoption and foster care are not the same, and it’s important to know the differences

adoption, foster care

Abortion advocates argue that abortion is necessary to keep children out of foster care, and somehow an erroneous idea pervades the public consciousness as a result: far too many people believe that if a woman places her child for adoption at birth, that child will enter the foster care system.

In truth, adoption agencies and the foster care system are two very different entities that exist for two very different reasons.

The goal of adoption

Though ideally, a child would be raised by her married, biological parents, sometimes this isn’t possible. When a pregnant woman determines that she is going to place her child for adoption at birth, she is able to select the adoptive parents she feels will be the best fit for her child. We have learned a lot about adoption over the decades, and now realize that when possible, open adoption is an excellent way to keep biological parents and biological children connected. These adopted children can have the benefit of knowing their birth mother/birth parents while also having the benefit of growing up in a safe and secure adoptive family from birth.

The goal of foster care

The foster care system, however, has a different goal in mind, existing to give children a safe place to live while their biological parents work to overcome obstacles such as substance abuse. While adoption agencies work to find permanent homes for children placed for adoption, the foster care system works towards family reunification first.

It is only after it is believed that safe reunification cannot occur, that social workers begin to search for adoptive families for children in foster care. In order for that to happen, the biological parents’ parental rights must be terminated, and since many parents are not fully willing to relinquish these rights, this process takes time. This can leave children in the foster care system for extended periods of time.

Placing a child for adoption vs placing a child in foster care

There are 36 families waiting to adopt for every single newborn placed for adoption. These children will not enter the foster care system but will be placed in their adoptive parents’ arms near-immediately after birth, and hopefully will remain in contact with their birth parents. But that leaves 35 families that won’t welcome newborns through adoption. Tragically, approximately 2,363 children are aborted every day because women believe abortion is an easier choice than allowing adoptive families to raise their children.

Meanwhile, there are more than 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system for reasons that led officials to believe that the birth parents were unable to safely care for the children. But about 75% of these children are still hoping to be reunited with their birth families — meaning they are ineligible for adoption.

About 100,000 children are currently eligible to be adopted through the foster care system.

However, while there are many families willing to adopt newborns, there are far fewer who feel equipped to adopt older children who have been through the foster care system. Part of the reason for this is the existence of numerous misconceptions regarding foster care.

Misconceptions don’t help anyone

Misconceptions surrounding foster care don’t help the situation. Actress Jameela Jamil once claimed, “So many children will end up in foster homes [if abortion is restricted]. So many lives ruined. So very cruel.”

This misconception fuels the idea that killing children through abortion is more desirable than foster care. It also makes families hesitant to adopt children from foster care, for fear that they are “damaged.” While many children do suffer trauma because of time spent living in homes that weren’t able to care for them properly, they aren’t “damaged goods.” Their lives aren’t “ruined.” They are children with the potential to overcome their challenges and who need loving and safe homes and families in order to do so. The foster care program will help prospective parents learn how to care for children who have been through trauma. It won’t always be easy — but no one ever claimed parenting (or love) would be.

So while one goal of both adoption and foster care is to ensure loving, safe, and stable homes for children, the process is much different for each. The goal of abortion, however, has nothing to do with protecting children at all.

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