A Family Tree supports the practice of qualified families adopting children who wait for permanency in the United States foster care system. Adopting a waiting child requires parents who are willing and able to seek and receive on-going support if necessary, who are open to contact with birth family in some cases, and who are eager to take on the toughest job they will ever love!
Foster care adoption
There are more than 400,000 foster children in the United States. This means, there are 400,000 children who do not know the unconditional love of a supportive legal parent. There are 400,000 children who wonder what will happen to them when they "age out" of the foster care system, who worry about their futures, who experience stress and anxiety on a regular basis.
Parents interested in stepping up for the life-expanding experience of changing a life, should be aware that the reward is mutual. Parents who adopt children report a 98% rate of "being really satisfied" with their decision to adopt. Raising a child is not easy work, raising a child who has experienced countless disappointments, traumatic attachment breaks, and myriad other challenges, requires a parent who is confident, committed, able to be flexible, and willing to continue learning.
i want to adopt a waiting child
Important note about waiting children:
The State of Hawai'i does not offer a foster to adoption program. Children in the Hawai'i state foster care system are intended for reunification with any member of their birth family who qualifies and/or who is able to adopt. Hawai'i does not offer a foster to adopt program for the public. Hawai'i does seek interested Resource Caregiver families who are able and willing to receive training, complete a home study, and accept foster children who are intended for reunification with birth family at some point.
I want to adopt a child from foster care:
If you live in Hawai'i and want to adopt a child from foster care, we recommend working with us through AdoptUSKids.org This site offers information on children waiting for adoption from nearly all 50 states (not Hawai'i). A Family Tree can work with you, complete your home study and required pre-adoption training, can support you as you seach for children on the AdoptUSKids.org website, and will then serve as your support team, interfacing with your intended child's social work team, in his/her/their home state.
Applicants interested in adopting a child through foster care should first complete a home study and the pre-adoption training through AFT. Once you have your home study in hand, you can apply to adopt specific waiting children. While we encourage applicants to look at the AdoptUSKids.org website sooner than later, it is important to remember that you cannot apply to be considered for a specific child, until you have a completed, approved home study.
Once you have your home study, you will work with AFT to identify a child or sibling group on AdoptUSKids.org If that child or children you are drawn to, are available for placement, and meet the child parameters outlined in your home stud report, you may submit your home study and application to the child or children's case worker. In some cases AFT may be required to manage all communications on your behalf.
Once your home study has been accepted by a child's case worker, you will wait to hear whether you are being considered for matching and placement. Note that in many cases there may be multiple families hoping to adopt the same child. You will likely receive more detailed information about the child, and will be invited for case conferences (over phone or Zoom) to review and discuss the child's situation in more detail. In most cases your AFT case worker will be on these calls.
Once you have been approved for a child match, you and your child will meet. In some cases the meetings take place in your child's current home, and in some cases the child may be brought to you here in Hawai'i. In most cases there will be a get to know you period, during which AFT will provide supervision. In some cases you will be asked to travel to and spend time in your child's current place of residence.
Once your child has been permanently placed with you, your case will go to court for adoption finalization. In some cases this process takes place before your child moves in to your home. In all cases post placement supervision and reporting is required for at least one (1) year.
It is difficult to gauge the length of time required to complete a foster adoption. Considerations include: length of time it takes you to complete the home study paperwork, pre-adoption training, and home study interviews. The time it takes for you to identify the child you feel most prepared to love and nuture is difficult to determine. Many of the children waiting for families are older, are part of sibling groups, or have challenges that require parents to commit to on-going support services. Families who are open to these factors are likely to have an easier time identifying and being approved for a child.
You will pay for the AFT home study and training. In most cases, these fees are reimbursed by your child's sending entity. In most cases, stipends are provided by your child's sending entity, which cover on-going supervision and in some cases, medical insurance and other expenses. In many cases families adopting through the foster care system incur little or no expense once all reimbursements have been paid. AFT charges a $1,000 basic Foster Care case support fee. This fee may be reimbursed by you child's sending state.
Families wishing to consider adopting a foster child should be able to complete and be approved to adopt, meeting the basic adoption requirements which are standard for all adoptions. These include but are not limited to:
demonstration of mental and physical health,
a suitable home,
consistent employment or independent wealth,
excellent personal and professional references,
no criminal or child abuse record,
ability to receive training and agree to on-going cooperation with services