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A Guide to Fostering Before Adoption in Arkansas

Have you heard the phrase “foster to adopt in Arkansas? Most people aren’t sure what it involves. For some hopeful parents, fostering before adoption in Arkansas can be a rewarding, low-cost way to build a family. 

If you know little about adoption and fostering to adopt in AR, you probably have plenty of questions about it. Before you can truly consider fostering with a view to adoption in Arkansas, you should research a few issues, like:

  • Your average wait time for permanent adoption through foster care
  • The pros and cons of adopting a child you are fostering in Arkansas
  • Whether fostering before adoption in Arkansas is a viable way to start or grow your family

Many Arkansas foster parents adopting child find that there are challenges involved, so you may discover that private domestic adoption is your best path to parenthood. If that’s the case, we’re here to help. To discuss your situation with an adoption specialist, call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our online form.

In the meantime, please read our overview of adopting a child you’re fostering in AR to learn about your options.

What Is Foster to Adopt in Arkansas, and Will It Work for You?

Every adoption journey begins with answering a few key questions, such as:

  • What is foster care adoption?
  • How do you pursue a foster care adoption?
  • Is adopting your foster child in Arkansas possible?
  • How do I know if fostering before adoption in Arkansas is right for my family?
  • Can you foster only to adopt in Arkansas?
  • Among others

First, let’s define foster care adoption. It’s a type of adoption involving a child who is cared for by the foster system after the biological parents’ rights are terminated by family court. Arkansas foster parents who wish to adopt must comply with the state’s eligibility requirements. You can pursue adoption from foster care without becoming a foster parent before adoption in Arkansas. Also, foster parents who want to adopt in Arkansas can seek permanent adoption if the child’s biological parents’ rights are terminated. That’s known as foster to adopt in Arkansas.

For hopeful parents who want to adopt from foster care, foster parenting or foster care adoption offers a direct path to family expansion. More than 4,500 children are cared for every year by the foster system in Arkansas. In 2020, around 1,000 children were waiting for a permanent home in the foster care system. Of that number, 768 were adopted.

How Does Fostering to Adopt in Arkansas Work?

The foster care system is charged with providing safe, stable homes for kids in foster care as they await reunification with the biological family. Most kids placed in foster care have experienced adverse circumstances in their family home. When that happens, a judge gives the birth parents a path to reunification through corrective action.

If reunification isn’t an option, the birth parents’ parental rights are terminated by the court. At that point, the child becomes eligible for permanent adoption from foster care.

Foster care adoption professionals seek a family to adopt the child permanently. They usually try to place the child with relatives. When none are able or willing to take custody of the child, foster parents planning to adopt in Arkansas can open their home to a child they’ve been fostering.

Who Are the Kids Involved in Pre-Adoption Foster Care in Arkansas?

Children available for fostering before adoption in Arkansas come from many different backgrounds and they all have unique stories. Most of them are older children. Adopting an infant from foster care is possible, but it’s rare since children eligible for adoption are usually older when their parents’ rights are exhausted. Most children in foster care are older than 2 years of age, and many are older than 8 years old. The average age of a child in foster care is 7.7 years old.

Some of their other differences in characteristics include:

  • Race  
  • Gender  
  • Medical background
  • Age
  • Special needs

Many foster children have attachment or developmental issues due to adverse situations in their previous home environment. Foster parents planning to adopt in Arkansas must be supportive of kids dealing with this kind of trauma in a patient, loving way.

It’s also common for kids in foster care to be part of a sibling group that needs foster parents considering adoption in Arkansas. Sibling groups are placed jointly as a rule, so prospective parents must determine if they’re ready and able to welcome in multiple kids. Joint placements are often more challenging for state foster care professionals. 

Who Are Foster to Adopt Parents in Arkansas?

Private domestic adoption lets you quickly expand your family, but some hopeful parents are still called to pursue fostering before adoption in Arkansas. That includes these kinds of families:

  • Families who are fostering a child for whom reunification is impossible
  • Families planning to adopt a waiting child that doesn’t have preferences for age, race, gender or special needs
  • Families that want to provide a stable, loving home for a child though there’s a chance of reunification
  • Families that want to adopt but have limited funds for more costly adoption methods

What Are the Requirements for Arkansas Adoption and Fostering to Adopt?

The requirements to adopt from foster care in Arkansas are:

  • You must be at least 21.
  • You may have no more than a 45-year age difference between yourself and the child you wish to adopt.
  • You can be either single or in a two-parent home with a stable relationship.
  • You must be healthy enough to parent a child.
  • You must have a home in which each bedroom has at least 50 square feet of space per occupant.
  • You must keep any and all firearms in a locked, secure location and stored separately from ammunition.
  • You must provide all children of opposite sexes over 4 years of age with separate bedrooms.
  • You must not smoke around children.
  • You must pass background checks.

For every adoption in Arkansas, the state requires hopeful parents to complete an adoption home study before becoming eligible to foster to adopt in AR. The home study includes interviews and background checks for each family member in your home. To learn about the home study for a scenario involving foster to adopt in Arkansas, visit

American Adoptions doesn’t perform foster care adoptions, but we do support families who choose this type of adoption. We’re licensed to perform home studies in Arkansas, and we’ve helped thousands of families prepare for them over the last three decades. To work with us on this step in the process to foster to adopt placement in Arkansas, please complete our free info form or call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time.

What’s the Cost for Adopting Your Foster Child in Arkansas?

One of the main advantages of fostering before adoption in Arkansas is the reduced expense associated with this type of adoption. Fostering with a view to adoption in Arkansas is cost-effective when compared to other ways of starting a family. Usually, the cost ranges between $0 to $2,500.

In fact, in many cases, foster care adoption is mostly free. The only fees you may encounter will come from:

  • Home Study – An adoption home study is required for every adoption, and there is a fee involved in some cases, even in foster care adoption. That’s specifically true for any fees charged for home study-related medical examinations or FBI background checks. Thankfully, many states pay home study fees for families fostering before adoption.
  • Home Preparations – If the home visit reveals deficiencies or safety issues in your home that must be addressed, there could be a cost for those updates.
  • Legal Costs – An adoptive family may need to pay some legal fees involved in adoption in some situations, though those fees are generally negligible. As with home study costs, many states will pay legal fees for families fostering before adoption.

In addition to the low cost of foster to adopt in Arkansas, you could be eligible for a monthly stipend to help relieve the costs of raising a child. That amount can be influenced by many variables, such as any special needs your foster child may have.

Comparing Private Infant Adoption vs. Fostering Before Adoption in Arkansas

Private domestic adoption and fostering before adoption in Arkansas are both noble and effective ways to build a family. Though they have that in common, there are important distinctions to consider.

An obvious difference between foster-to-adopt placement in Arkansas and private adoption is the adoptee's age. Most situations involving foster to adopt in Arkansas feature children who are older. Another difference is the amount of uncertainty you may also experience if you choose fostering before adoption in Arkansas. You won’t know when your foster child will be eligible for adoption, if it ever even happens at all. 

If any of those things about foster to adopt in Arkansas concern you, we want you to know that partnering with American Adoptions for private infant adoption gives you a direct, certain path to family growth. Birth parents voluntarily choose to sign their adoption paperworkin private adoption. Once consent is offered and legal proceedings take place, finalization occurs. Then, you’ll know your child will be yours forever.

To get additional information on the benefits of private domestic infant adoption with American Adoptions, simply call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our free information form.

Keep reading below to learn more about the similarities and differences separating private infant adoption from fostering before adoption in AR.


  • You get to give a deserving child a safe home and loving family.
  • You get to fulfill your dream of becoming a parent, with full parental rights.
  • You get to determine what adoption situations you’ll consider.
  • You must undergo an adoption home study before you’re considered eligible to adopt a child.


  • Eligible children in scenarios involving foster to adopt in Arkansas are often older, have siblings, or have special needs. If you’ll only consider adopting an infant, private domestic adoption is your preferred path.
  • Fostering before adoption in AR has a lower cost. Domestic infant adoption is more expensive because of services such as agency fees, advertising and matching services, medical fees, and other expenses.
  • Domestic infant adoption gives you the option of choosing open or semi-open adoption. The parties in this option remain in touch after placement. That’s usually not an option when fostering before adoption in Arkansas. Ongoing post-placement contact with the birth parents varies.
  • Most children you could foster to adopt in Arkansas have been through adverse conditions throughout childhood. That’s not true of private infant adoption since you’re adopting an infant.

Where Do You Look for Foster to Adopt Agencies in Arkansas?

Again, American Adoptions doesn’t handle foster-to-adopt placements in Arkansas. We can help you with your home study as a fully licensed home study provider in the state.

But if you’re looking for agencies that do assist with fostering before adoption in Arkansas, you can check a directory of these agencies, or you can visit the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. Please see the below agencies for more information:

Following Up on Fostering Before Adoption in Arkansas

Fostering before adoption in Arkansas can be tough at times, but for some parents, the benefits outweigh the challenges. You can grow your family and undertake a noble act of loving kindness for a child in need, and that makes it gratifying to adopt a child from foster care.

If foster care adoption appeals to you, take time to contemplate the pros and cons of foster-to-adopt placement in Arkansas before making your choice. To discuss your options, you can connect with one of our specialists today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing our free 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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