Myths and Facts
Myths and Facts About Foster Care Adoption
by Kathy Searle, MSW - Utah Director of Programs
I think I’m too old to adopt.
Utah law requires a person to be 10 years older than the child they adopt. That being said the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) may not be willing to place a 2 year old with a couple that are in their late 50’s or 60’s unless they are a relative to the child. But parents in this age group are great for teens and school age children.
I’ve heard all of the children in foster care have a lot of problems. Is this true?
Children who are in foster care waiting for an adoptive home have been removed from their homes because of the issues of their biological parents. Almost always they have suffered from some form of abuse and or neglect. These children are resilient and sometimes have a hard time learning to trust anyone after what they have been through but like all of us they want and need the love that a family can provide.
If I adopt a child from foster care, can their biological family still come and take them back?
Children who are adopted from the foster care system have had parental rights terminated or the biological parents have relinquished custody to DCFS. Initially when coming into care, DCFS takes great care to try to locate kin or close family friends that might take the children in. Usually by the time a child is being publicly recruited for all of those options have been explored and ruled out. Once an adoption is finalized in court no one from the biological family can take them from their adoptive family.
If I foster a child, I’ve heard that it takes years before I can adopt them. Is this true?
Currently the average time a child spent in foster care before they were adopted is 18.4 months. The courts try to move as quickly as possible but they also need to allow time for the biological family to make the necessary changes to be reunified with their children. It is a hard balance between the rights of the biological parents and the need for permanency for the children. Unless a case goes on appeal finalization of an adoption can occur as soon as parental rights are terminated as long as the child has been in the adoptive home for at least six months.