Deciding how you want to grow your family through adoption or foster care can be challenging. There are many different paths you can choose, each with its own distinct process. If you want to visit with someone about determining which one feels right for you, please contact us.
The Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services is responsible for providing protective services to children. Foster care is one such service. Currently, there are more than 3,000 foster children in Montana and, sadly, there is a major shortage of foster families to care for these kids. These children range in age from newborns to teens; the average age is approximately nine. Most of them have been removed by court order from abusive or neglectful homes. Ultimately, the goal is for these kids to be reunited with their biological families so their stays with foster families vary from days to weeks, months or even years. When reunification is not appropriate, a judge may terminate the biological parents’ parental rights, making a child available for adoption.
Couples, singles, older adults, or even established families can foster. Prospective foster parents must complete state-required training, having a background check, provide fingerprints and complete a home study to be eligible for foster care. While there isn’t a specified requirement for income, foster parents must be able to prove they are financial stable and have appropriate living space for the child(ren) they hope to foster.
As mentioned above, training is required for foster parents. One specific topic of training covers trauma. Children entering the foster care system have difficult memories and familial situations to process. Parenting a child with a history of trauma can be very challenging. It is our hope that foster parents go into the process fully aware of the hurt these children need help processing.
Fost-adopt or foster-to-adopt is quickly becoming the national standard for state facilitated adoptions. This process allows—and when pertinent requires—foster parents to foster their child for a minimum of six months prior to finalizing an adoption. Parents hoping to adopt in this manner should not expect to adopt a newborn, though they might foster a newborn and ultimately adopt the child.
Typically, domestic adoptions take place when a birth mother—who is often still pregnant—chooses a family to adopt her baby. This process is usually facilitated through a private adoption agency. Sometimes, birth mothers choose to place their babies after their baby is born; in such situations, they would likely contact an agency to help them place their baby. Alternatively, a birth mother may choose a family through other social connections to adopt her baby. This type of adoption is often facilitated privately by a lawyer.
When adopting an infant, there are several things to consider. One of the biggest considerations is choosing an open or closed adoption. Some birth mothers insist on having an open adoption, while others may not want to keep contact.
Check out our resources page to find area foster care and adoption agencies to work with.