When the children of South Carolina lay their head to rest at night, nearly 3,000 of them are not in their own beds at home with a parent. For South Carolina’s foster children, sometimes a temporary home is the most stable home. Out of those 3,000 children, 1,200 of them are legally available for adoption.
November is National Adoption Month, and foster care adoption is plagued with more fear and misconceptions than any other area. Below are some myths and truths about foster care adoption.
Myth: The children have done something wrong and had to be removed from the home.
Truth: The children in foster care who are available for adoption are in this situation because their parents had their parental rights terminated by the courts or were placed for adoption voluntarily. These children have not been able to find a permanent home with family members and are seeking a permanent, loving and supportive home.
Myth: Foster children have a lot of behavioral problems.
Truth: I have known many foster children in my life and they were very sweet and loving. Yes some had an emotional protective wall around them and some made poor decisions, but lots of other kids do, too. Children who are in foster care have experienced trauma, and with trauma comes a general feeling of insecurity and instability. These feelings can result in some unexpected behaviors, but many of these issues get better as a child builds a trusting attachment to a parent.
Myth: Adoption costs a lot of money.
Truth: Some adoptions do cost a significant amount of money. However, adoption through the foster care system is nearly free. The state will pay for background checks, the homestudy, home visits and post placement visits. There may be nominal fees for medical checks or equipment needed to pass the home visit (such as a fire alarm) but those fees are deductible through the adoption tax credit.
Myth: Nothing is being done to help find homes for foster kids available for adoption.
Truth: The Department of Social Services has various ways to highlight children who are in need of permanent, loving families. The South Carolina Heart Gallery takes photos and interviews children who are in need of families. The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation also has a Facebook page.
Myth: As long as kids have a home, they don’t need to formally be adopted.
Truth: Kids who grow up in foster care are at greater risk for dropping out of school, developing mental health difficulties, being underemployed and at risk for homelessness. A permanent home for a child in need is the first crucial step to a healthier future.
Not everyone is called to adopt a child, and that is ok. But, you can still help South Carolina’s most vulnerable. Foster children are in need of tutors, mentors, school supplies, Christmas presents, and summer camp experiences. Please call 1-888-227-3487 to discuss how you can help make a difference in the life of a young South Carolinian searching for a family.
Do you have an experience with foster care adoption? We’d love to hear about it! Share in comments below.