Is Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas Right for You? What You Should Know.
Thinking of adopting but not sure if you’re ready for a baby? Adoption through foster care in Arkansas lets you give a home to a deserving child in the foster care system and enjoy a gratifying method of family building.
Adopting from foster care in Arkansas can be challenging, but many adoptive parents find it rewarding. Private adoption offers shorter wait times and greater control of the process, but adoption through foster care in Arkansas has its benefits.
Are you considering foster parent adoption in Arkansas? Our goal is to help you better understand the process, learn the reasons people choose foster care adoption in AR, and recognize potential challenges you could face with adoption through foster care in Arkansas.
That all begins with speaking to one of our licensed adoption professionals. You can speak to someone today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing our online form.
Now, read on in this guide as we take a closer look at foster care adoption in Arkansas and how it can shape your family.
What Is Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas?
Foster care adoption in Arkansas involves the adoption of a child in foster care after their biological parent’s rights are terminated. In foster care adoption in Arkansas, a child is eligible for adoption by foster parents or other families meeting Arkansas’s eligibility criteria.
To adopt from foster care in Arkansas, you can either pursue a straight adoption through foster care in Arkansas without fostering, or you can pursue a form of foster parent adoption in Arkansas known as fostering to adopt. The latter lets you serve as a foster parent while waiting for the completion of the birth parents’ court case.
There are usually about 4,500 children in Arkansas’s foster system at any time, and a lot of them are eligible for permanent adoption. At American Adoptions, we focus on domestic infant adoption only, but we know not everyone wants to adopt an infant. Other forms of adoption include international adoption and foster care adoption in Arkansas. You get to decide which kind of adoption is right for you.
Is Adopting from Foster Care in Arkansas Similar to Private Adoption?
It’s true that foster care adoption in Arkansas and private domestic adoption are alike in some ways, but there are several important differences between the two types of adoption.
Adoption through foster care in Arkansas is similar to state foster care adoption anywhere in the U.S. It’s focused on children in the care of the foster system. They may be in foster care for a variety of reasons, but in most cases, children have been removed from the biological home because of adverse circumstances.
If the adverse conditions are corrected, the foster system will attempt to reunite the biological parents and the child. That’s not always possible, though. If a child can’t be reunited with their biological parents, the birth parents’ parental rights are terminated, and the child can be permanently adopted by another family.
Reunification is always the first preference, however. It can even happen after the child has lived in a foster home for years. Biological family reunification could mean that an adoption opportunity never comes to fruition and that may be difficult for a family to accept.
That’s one of the reasons that adoption out of the foster care system in Arkansas isn’t right for every hopeful family. There’s far less certainty than with domestic infant adoption. If you want a direct path to parenthood, private adoption may be a better choice as there’s no true risk of reunification.
When reunification isn’t possible, adoption from foster care in Arkansas can provide a deserving child with a home and give you the family you’ve always wanted. Usually, the state first seeks a suitable home through the child’s biological relatives but if that’s not an option, a foster family adoption in Arkansas can move forward.
How Do You Pursue Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas? The 6-Step Process
All adoptions are unique because the child’s circumstances and the parents’ method of adopting out of the foster care system in Arkansas may differ. Still, most families go through these steps when pursuing foster system adoption in AR.
Step 1: Settle on Your Goals for Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas
You’ve chosen foster care adoption in Arkansas. You have three ways to do it, and they are:
- Becoming a temporary foster parent
- Fostering to adopt while you wait for termination of birth parent rights
- Waiting for a direct adoption in foster care in AR without fostering.
Your adoption plan will be influenced by the path you choose, so you’ll need to set your adoption goals early on. Your chosen method of foster care adoption will guide your way forward.
Step 2: Find the Right Professional for State Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas
The adoption professional you choose will be your guide and ally throughout the process. They’re there to give you needed support and resources from start to finish.
In foster care adoption in Arkansas, you’ll work with specialized public and private agencies that focus on foster care adoption. Though not the case in every state, Arkansas gives hopeful parents an opportunity to select a licensed agency that best suits them, just like with other kinds of adoption. The choice is all yours to make.
Step 3: Undergo Training for Adoption Foster Parents in Arkansas
Every type of foster care adoption requires prospective parents to attend pre-adoption parenting classes before moving forward with foster parent adoption in Arkansas. That training can 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 or in person. In Arkansas, the training course includes at least 30 hours of pre-adoption training.
Step 4: Apply for Adoption Through Foster Care in Arkansas
Your next step is applying for adoption through foster care in Arkansas. You’ll be required to submit information about your life and your experience with children. There will also be mandatory child abuse and neglect checks as well as a general criminal background check.
Step 5: Complete an adoption home study conducted by a licensed professional
The adoption home study is a critical moment in almost every adoption, and the same is true in foster care adoption in Arkansas. Hopeful foster or adoptive parents are required to complete an Arkansas home study conducted by a licensed home study professional.
We can help with that because American Adoptions is fully licensed to perform adoption home studies in Arkansas. To speak with someone about your home study needs, simply call 1-800-ADOPTION or request information through our online form.
Step 6: Wait for the right adoption opportunity
If you want to foster before finding a permanent adoption opportunity, you won’t have a long wait time. About 4,500 children are cared for by Arkansas’s foster system, and around 1,000 need homes now. If you chose direct foster care adoption in Arkansas, your wait will be much longer.
If you aren’t interested in fostering, aren’t concerned with the age of the adoptee, and want the shortest possible wait time, you may be better suited for private domestic adoption. We can help with that. To get started, call 1-800-ADOPTION or request information through our online form.
What Requirements Must I Meet for Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas?
The requirements for foster care adoption in Arkansas are slightly different from the ones that apply to private domestic adoption. Potential parents seeking opportunities for foster care adoption in Arkansas must meet these requirements:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have no more than a 45-year age difference between yourself and the child you wish to adopt
- Be either single or in a two-parent home with a stable relationship
- Be healthy enough to parent a child
- Have a home in which each bedroom has at least 50 square feet of space per occupant.
- Keep any and all firearms in a locked, secure location and stored separately from ammunition.
- Be able to provide all children of opposite sexes over 4 years of age with separate bedrooms.
- Not smoke around children
- Pass background checks
Pros and Cons of Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas
Adoption out of the foster care system in Arkansas gives you a satisfying way to start a family if you aren’t set on adopting an infant. Still, you’ll be wise to consider these pros and cons of foster care adoption in AR before deciding.
Pros of Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas
- Abbreviated wait time if fostering to adopt: There are always more children in foster care waiting for adoption adoptive parents. Every kid needs a stable home, a loving family, and a chance to be the person they’re destined to become. Foster parent adoption in Arkansas lets you provide those things. Fostering to adopt means you can get a placement soon after meeting the requirements, though direct adoption through foster care in AR can mean longer wait times compared to private domestic adoption. The average wait time with American Adoptions is 9-12 months, but adoption through foster care in AR could take years if it ever happens at all.
- Disrupted adoptions are uncommon: No prospective parent wants to endure disrupted adoption. The risk of a disruption is lower in foster care adoption in Arkansas because kids in the foster system aren’t available for adoption until their birth parents’ rights are terminated. Following foster care adoption in Arkansas, reunification isn’t usually an option. (It’s worth noting that disrupted adoptions are rare with American Adoptions. Our 96% success rate in private adoptions results from our birth mother counseling and pre-screening. We also protect hopeful parents from financial risk through an industry-leading adoption financial protection program, so you’ll get a full refund on adoption costs if a disruption occurs.)
- Reduced cost: Domestic and international infant adoptions are expensive (almost $50,000 in some cases.) The high cost can be an obstacle for some families. But foster care adoption in AR is far less expensive. You may also get financial assistance to cover some of the foster care adoption costs you may incur.
Cons of Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas
- Tough circumstances result in trauma: Kids awaiting adoption through foster care in Arkansas have likely faced significant hardship and adversity in childhood. As a result, some kids in foster care adoption in Arkansas have difficulty adapting to their post-placement circumstances. Some need to work with a counselor, which requires additional investments of time, emotion, and funds on your part.
- Open adoption isn’t possible: Choosing private adoption gives you the benefits of open adoption. Open adoption helps adoptees deal with feelings of rejection and grief, and they grow up knowing who they are and where they come from. Unfortunately, it’s not an option in foster care adoption in Arkansas. Because of foster care placement and the negative circumstances that lead up to it, contact with the birth parents after their parental rights are terminated by the court is rare.
- Extra steps required: There are more steps involved in foster care adoption in Arkansas, like additional training that’s not required for waiting parents in private domestic adoption. These important steps can slow down the adoption process. Some hopeful parents struggle to attend the training since, in Arkansas, it includes 30 hours of coursework over several weeks. There is no such required training for private domestic adoption, however.
- Fostering-to-adopt is sometimes hard: Hopeful parents pursuing foster care adoption in Arkansas may begin with “fostering to adopt” while they await the termination of the birth parent’s rights. That doesn’t happen immediately in most cases, and the wait time can stretch for years. That can be difficult to process. The foster system focuses on reunification of biological families, and adoption is a secondary goal if it’s not possible. That may be disappointing when pursuing adoption through foster care in AR. If you want to be certain you’ll get a permanent adoption opportunity, private domestic adoption may be right for you. Once adoption papers are signed, your child is fully yours forever.
Last Words About Foster Care Adoption in Arkansas
Foster care adoption in Arkansas is a great option for prospective parents who can provide a stable home and loving family for a deserving child. You can give a kid a brighter future through foster system adoption in Arkansas, and it’s a noble and kind act. You also get to build the family you’ve always wanted, which is a beautiful thing.
Still wondering if private adoption or foster care adoption in Arkansas is best for you? Thankfully, we can 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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