November is National Adoption Month. This year, the theme is Youth Voices: Why Family Matters.
Permanency matters, even for older children and teens. Currently, there are nearly 1,000 children waiting for an adoptive family in Virginia. Of those 1,000 children, 33% are 13 years of age or older.
Unfortunately, these teens are at risk of aging out of foster care. In Virginia, about 500 young people “age-out” of Virginia’s foster care system each year. These youth then lack supportive relationships and a sense of belonging, which are crucial to their well-being.
Children and teens are never too old to be adopted.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about adoption. By clearing up adoption myths, we can help people like you who are considering adoption feel more comfortable.
#1 Adoption is Expensive
You probably think that adoption costs a lot of money. The truth is, most adoptions from US foster care are at no cost. There is also usually financial help and financial reimbursements for families who adopt.
Foster and adoptive families receive a monthly maintenance payment from social services to off-set the care of the child. Youth who are adopted from foster care are also eligible for an adoption subsidy that gets paid to the adoptive parents. This subsidy is based on the youth’s emotional, physical and behavioral needs.
On the other hand, international adoption programs can average between $25,000 and $40,000.
#2 You Have to be Married to Adopt
You do not have to be married to adopt. You can give a child or teen a permanent loving home no matter if you’re single, married, divorced, or widowed. The ability to provide a safe, supportive and loving home is more important than your marital status.
#3 Biological Parents Can Take Their Children Back
This myth creates a lot of fear around adoption. In reality, this myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Once the court terminates the biological parents’ rights, a birth parent has no legal right to the child.
Adoption is forever.
#4 You Have to Own a Home to Adopt
If you rent an apartment or a home, you can adopt too! You also don’t have to be wealthy, have children already, or be a stay-at-home parent to adopt.
#5 Foster Kids Are Out of Control and Dangerous
This myth is the saddest of them all. Unfortunately, youth who are in foster care have experienced abuse or neglect. They may then have developmental or behavioral issues. However, that does not mean that they are bad kids. They are wonderful, sweet kids who sadly have suffered unthinkable circumstances during a time when they should have been safe.
By placing the youth in a nurturing loving environment, foster kids can bloom into exceptional individuals. Permanency makes all the difference for their future — just look at the statistics.
When teens “age-out” of Virginia’s foster care system, they’re not prepared to be on their own. The outcomes are overwhelming:
- Within two years, one in four will be incarcerated.
- One in five will be homeless.
- Fewer than one in six will graduate from high school.
They also face higher rates of unemployment, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and domestic violence.
By adopting an older child or teen, you are rewriting history.
#6 International Adoption is Easier Than US Adoption
In recent years, new regulations governing international adoptions have made adoption from other countries more difficult. On average, it takes anywhere from 79 days to two years to finish an international adoption.
In most cases, it takes one year to adopt a child from the US foster care system, depending on the timing of training classes, your personal schedule and the amount of time it takes to get matched with a child. Virginia requires six months of supervision before a legal adoption.
#7 You Can Only Adopt a Child Who is the Same Race as You
Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child in the US foster care and the prospective parent or parents who are seeking to adopt them.
Foster care adoption is a great option for families who want to adopt regardless of the youth’s age, race, gender or special needs.
#8 You Can’t Adopt if You’re in the Military
Military personnel are not prohibited from adopting. Regardless if you’re stationed overseas or within the US, you are eligible to adopt children from the US foster care system.
Children’s Home Society | Virginia Adoption Agency
There are a lot of questions you may have about adoption. That’s why we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions for your convenience. Education is the best way to prepare for the possibility of adoption.
At Children’s Home Society of Virginia, we believe every child deserves a home. For 120 years, we have been dedicated to our mission of service to children and families in the commonwealth.
We change the lives of children of all ages – from infants to teens to young adults. We have had the joy of placing more than 14,000 youth into safe, permanent, loving homes.
This month, grant the wish that matters most. Adopt an older child or teen today.
Be happy together, be healthy together, be safe together, be better together.
If you want more information on how to give a child in need a forever home, get in touch with us today: 804-353-0191 (Richmond) | 540-226-0583 (Fredericksburg)
You can also click the button below: