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What Is The Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption in Arkansas?

Dreaming of becoming a parent? Maybe you’ve experienced the devastation of infertility, or maybe you haven’t been ready to parent a child. But if you’ve decided it’s time to build your family, Arkansas adoption or foster care can provide a way forward.

Foster care vs. adoption in Arkansas gives you two ways to become a parent. Any adoption is a selfless act born from a place of love. By adopting, you’re providing a supportive home to a deserving child. However, beyond that similarity, there are some important distinctions between becoming a foster parent and adoption in Arkansas you should consider.  

Are you wondering, “What’s the difference between adoption and foster care in Arkansas?” If so, you may want to discuss your options with an adoption professional. We’re here to help you learn the difference between foster and adoption in Arkansas, and you can connect with one of our specialists by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or filling out our free online form.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the differences between foster care versus adoption in Arkansas, domestic infant adoption vs foster to adopt in AR, and why private infant adoption may give you the most direct path to building the family you’re dreaming of.

What is the Difference Between Fostering and Adoption in Arkansas?

There are several distinctions to be made between foster and adoption, but possibly the most obvious difference between adopting and fostering a child in Arkansas is their level of permanency. Fostering is a temporary situation, while adoption is a permanent one.

Fostering means you’re opening your home to a child in foster care on a temporary basis. The living arrangement is temporary because the goal of the foster system is biological family reunification. When a child is removed from their birth parents’ home, it’s initially considered a temporary solution to protect the child from adverse conditions while a corrective action is completed.

Conversely, adoption is considered permanent. After an adoption is finalized, the child fully becomes a member of their new family forever. Unlike fostering, adopting a child means the adoptee legally becomes your child, and you have all the rights of a biological parent. That’s the most notable difference between foster and adopt in Arkansas.

What 7 Factors Highlight the Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption in Arkansas?

Regardless of if you choose to foster or adopt in Arkansas, it’s important you know the tremendous impact you’ll have on the life of a child. You’re giving the gift of a loving, stable, and supportive home, and that’s a beautiful thing. Still, there are notable differences between these two ways to expand your family.

Let’s look more closely at seven of the important differences between foster vs adopt in Arkansas

1. Kind of Consent Provided by Biological Parents

A main difference between foster care vs adoption in Arkansas is the level of consent from the biological parents that’s needed before a child is placed outside of their biological home.

The expectant birth mother voluntarily consents to placement of her child in private domestic adoption, and she willfully relinquishes her parental rights. Through her adoption plan, the mother expresses her wishes about every detail in the adoption. She gets to choose the family she wants for her child, and she can change her mind at any time.

When a child is placed in the care of the foster system, it’s not usually done with the consent of the parents. The child’s removal form the home of the birth parents generally occurs due to a dangerous or unhealthy home environment. As a result, foster care placement is usually involuntary.  

2. Degree of Open Communication

Yet another way to distinguish between foster care vs adoption in Arkansas is the amount of open contact the parties have with each other before and after placement.

Private adoption allows the involved parties to agree to an open adoption contact arrangement which provides for regular communication with one another. Open adoption is also beneficial for everyone involved. At American Adoptions, we require prospective parents to be open to open adoption.

Though there could be a some contact in a foster care adoption, it’s usually not possible. In foster care placement, it’s even more rare. Most of the time, there’s no contact with the child’s birth parents, especially when the child had to be removed because of dangerous or unhealthy conditions.

3. Way of Choosing Adoptive Families

The third important difference between foster care and adoption in Arkansas is the way families are selected to raise the child being placed in a new home.

The birth mother is totally in control of choosing the family that will raise her child in private adoptions. She gets to choose everything about the family through her adoption plan, and she can alter her plan at any point in the process.

With foster care placements, the opposite is true. The birth parents have a choice about the family that will care for their kid. The state chooses a viable foster family by matching children with foster families that can meet their needs.

4. Length of Wait Time

The length of the wait time with each option provides another, often more complicated, distinction between adoption versus foster care in Arkansas.

Private infant adoption offers a direct path to permanent adoption with short wait times for hopeful parents. At American Adoptions, our average wait times for an adoption opportunity are an average of 12 months. We work hard to minimize wait times so you can become a parent sooner when partnering with our agency.

Wait times can differ widely in foster care situations. When fostering with no expectation of adopting, your wait time for placement is usually short because there are never enough foster homes for the number of kids who need one. Therefore, placement is sometimes almost immediate once you’re eligible to foster.

It’s a different story if you want to adopt from foster care, though. The wait time is almost always longer than in private infant adoptions because the birth parents’ rights to be terminated by the courts. That could take years because adoption isn’t an option until that happens. There’s no guarantee you’ll even have a chance to permanently adopt the child at all before they turn 18.

5. The Expense of Each Type

Most hopeful parents are interested in learning more about the costs associated with foster care and adoption. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you understand the difference between foster care and adoption in Arkansas when it comes to the expense of each option. 

Infant adoptions can be expensive, sometimes reaching $50,000 or more prior to adoption finalization with a private adoption agency. That method of family building may be financially out of reach for some families, though it’s worth noting that there are many ways to fund your journey if you decide adopting an infant is right for you.

In comparison, fostering and adopting from foster care are both almost free. There’s little (or no) associated cost that must be paid by prospective families. When fostering, you could potentially receive a stipend to help cover the cost of raising a kid. Most expenses accrued by parents who adopt through foster care are reimbursed by the state.

6.  Ages of the Children Involved

The age of the children involved is another important point of difference between foster care and adoption in Arkansas that you should consider. The children in private domestic adoptions are usually babies. Consent is generally given by the birth parents immediately after the child’s birth, and the baby leaves the hospital with the adoptive parents.

Children in foster care are usually older. Sometimes, there are opportunities for infant adoption through foster care, but that’s rare. The average age of children in the foster system in the U.S. is 7.7 years old.

7. Amount of Uncertainty

If you think you’d prefer to get licensed as a foster home vs adoption in Arkansas, that’s certainly a worthy endeavor. But you should know that taking that route can impact the certainty that you’ll reach your family building goals. There are differing degrees of certainty about building a permanent family through foster care versus adoption in Arkansas.

Choosing to become a foster parent is rooted in a desire to provide support and love to deserving children in foster care. Foster care adoption is possible, but you can truly only be certain that foster care will give you a temporary way to provide a safe home environment for a child. You may not get a chance for permanent adoption before their 18th birthday. If that’s not a concern for you, then foster care adoption may be a viable option.

But if permanent adoption is your goal, private domestic adoption is a far more certain process. Birth parents voluntarily give their consent to adoption, which means you won’t have to wait for termination of parental rights before moving forward. After the legal requirements are met and the adoption paperwork is signed, your child is permanently yours.

Why Hopeful Adoptive Parents Choose Infant Adoption Versus Foster Care in Arkansas

Deciding between foster care vs adoption in Arkansas involves choosing your family goals and building your plan. If an opportunity for a permanent adoption is your goal, private domestic adoption will be the best path forward. It provides a direct, certain path to building the family you want.

At American Adoptions, we respect and support the choice of those who wish to engage in foster care and foster care adoption. Giving a foster child in Arkansas a home in their time of need is noble and loving. But that’s also true of private domestic adoption. Private infant adoption is often life-altering for everyone involved.

A few of the advantages of private infant adoption include:

  • You can permanently adopt an infant
  • Your Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ) can help you guide your experience because you can set your preferences and find the right adoption opportunity
  • There’s no need to worry about preexisting trauma or difficulties associated with childhood adversity
  • The path to family growth is shorter because there are fewer steps involved in private adoption
  • You’ll have a guaranteed path to building the family you want because birth parents offer consent before private adoption can proceed
  • There’s no need to wait on the court to terminate parental rights of biological parents
  • You (and the other parties in the adoption) can benefit from an open adoption
  • And many others

If private infant adoption pairs well with your family goals, American Adoptions may be your best ally. We’ve helped more than 13,000 families brin their adoption dreams to life with support from our agency.

Our 96% success rate is among the leaders in the industry. This success can be traced in part to our marketing and promotion. We offer 12x more marketing than competing agencies, which means you’ll experience significantly shorter wait times (an average of 12 months) than with other leading agencies.

Partnering with American Adoptions also gives you access to our high-quality staff. They’re not just compassionate, knowledgeable adoption professionals who are fully licensed in Arkansas. They’re also adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth mothers. They know intimately what you’re going through and they’re willing to share their experiences with you.

Have you chosen whether foster care vs adoption in Arkansas is best for your family? Take your time. It’s a big decision with life-altering impacts. We’re here to help, and you can connect with one of our specialists by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing our online form when you’re ready. 

Last Thoughts on Adoption Versus Foster Care in Arkansas

No matter if you choose to foster or adopt in Arkansas, your action will change he life of a kid in need. Both options for family growth are noble acts born from a place of love and hope that you can give a deserving kid the stability they need to thrive. And, both private adoption and foster care let you build a loving, supportive family.

Still processing the difference between foster care and adoption in Arkansas? It’s fine. Take your time. We’re here to get you the answers you need and help you move forward when you’re ready. To speak with one of our specialists today, call 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our online form

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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