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The Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption in Arizona

Is your dream to become a parent? If you want to give a deserving child a loving home, there are a few paths available. The two most common options for family growth are Arizona adoption and foster care. But what’s the difference between adoption and foster care in Arizona?

Arizona foster care vs. adoption offers two very different paths to becoming a parent. Each serves as an act of love by giving a child in the need the home they deserve. But beyond that similarity, the differences between becoming a foster parent and adoption in AZ are significant. 

Unsure whether fostering or adopting a child in Arizona is the best path for you? Speaking to an adoption professional is a helpful first step. We want to help you sort out the difference between foster and adoption in Arizona. To connect with one of our specialists, simply call 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our free online form.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the distinctions between foster care versus adoption in AZ, domestic infant adoption vs. foster to adopt in Arizona, and why private infant adoption may offer the best path to achieving your adoption goals.

What is the Difference Between Fostering and Adoption in Arizona? 

The most easily observable difference between adopting and fostering a child in Arizona is the tenure of each of the two options for family growth. Fostering is a temporary situation, and adoption is permanent.

Fostering means you’re opening your home to a child in foster care to temporarily give them a home and family. The foster system always makes biological family reunification a priority if it’s possible.

Adoption is always intended as a way of building a permanent family. Unlike fostering, adopting a child legally means the adoptee is your child in the eyes of the law. That’s the most significant difference between foster and adopt in AZ.

What 7 Factors Highlight the Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption in Arizona?

Regardless of whether you foster or adopt in AZ, you’re doing something great. You’re giving a waiting child the home they deserve, and that’s a beautiful thing. Still, there are key differences between these two forms of family expansion. Let’s dive deeper into some of the important differences between foster vs. adopt in Arizona

1. Consent of Biological Parents to Child Placement

A notable distinction between foster care vs. adoption in AZ pertains to the consent of the biological parents to the placement of the child outside of their biological home.

The expectant birth mother voluntarily provides consent to the placement and relinquishes her parental rights in private infant adoption. The mother creates her own adoption plan, chooses the right family for her child, and can change her mind about the family or adoption in general at any time in the process.

Conversely, when a child is removed from the biological home and placed in the care of the foster system, it’s almost always involuntary. Removal of the child usually occurs due to a dangerous or unhealthy environment in the child’s biological family home. As a result, foster care placement is involuntary.  

2. Degree of Open Communication

An important point of comparison between foster care vs. adoption in Arizona is the difference in how much contact takes place between the parties involved in the placement.

The parties involved in a private infant adoption often choose an open adoption contact arrangement that allows for regular contact with one another. At American Adoptions, we require prospective parents to welcome open adoption because the benefits are great and help birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees move forward.

Though some degree of openness could be part of a foster care adoption, it’s not likely. In a foster care placement, it’s even more rare. It’s not unusual for there to be no interaction or contact with the child’s birth parents, especially when the conditions that led to the child’s removal were dangerous or unhealthy.

3. Family Selection Method

A substantial difference between foster care and adoption in AZ involves the way families are selected to raise the child being placed in a new home.

The birth mother gets to choose the family that she wants to raise her child through her adoption plan in private adoption. She’s in full control of the process. In foster care placements, birth parents have no control over which family is selected to care for their child. That choice is made by the state, which matches children with foster families that can meet their needs.

4. Length of Wait Times

Wait times should also be considered a point of distinction if you’re considering adoption versus foster care in AZ. Wait times for an adoption opportunity with American Adoptions, for example, are usually around 9-12 months.

In foster care situations, wait times can vary depending on your goals. If you simply want to foster with no expectation of adoption, wait times for placement are generally much shorter. Foster homes are in demand because there are more kids in need of a home than there are foster families to care for them. Therefore, placement could come almost immediately after you become eligible to foster.

However, adopting from foster care is a different story. The wait is almost always longer than with private infant adoption. You may wait years to adopt before the birth parent’s parental rights are terminated by the courts, and adoption isn’t possible until that happens. In some cases, it doesn’t happen at all before the child ages out of foster care, so some hopeful parents foster children for years without an adoption opportunity.

5. Related Expenses

Most hopeful parents considering foster care or adoption are concerned with the cost. That’s another important difference between foster care and adoption in Arizona: one is quite costly, while the other is nearly free to pursue.

Infant adoptions are expensive, with costs often reaching $50,000 prior to adoption finalization with a private adoption agency. On the other hand, fostering and adopting from foster care are nearly free. In Arizona, there’s little (if any) associated cost. Foster parents can even get a stipend for fostering, and most expenses accrued by parents who adopt through foster care are reimbursed by the state.

6. Age of Adoptees

A key difference between foster care and adoption in Arizona involves the age of the children involved. Private domestic adoptions almost always involve infants. The birth parents sign paperwork soon after birth to provide their consent to the adoption and relinquish their parental rights prior to placement.

Most children involved in foster care and foster care adoption are older children. Though sometimes possible, infant adoption from foster care is exceedingly rare. The average age of children in the foster system in the U.S. is 7.7 years old.

7. Level of Uncertainty

One final difference to consider if you’re considering getting licensed as a foster home vs. adoption in Arizona is the degree of certainty about reaching your family goals through AZ foster care versus adoption.

Being motivated to serve as a foster parent is at least partially about helping deserving children in foster care who need a stable home. Foster care adoption is a possibility, but foster care, in general, is intended as a temporary way to give a child a safe home environment. Some parents foster a child through their 18th birthday without getting a chance to permanently adopt, so it’s important to face that fact. If you don’t mind that, foster care adoption is a good option.

If you want a certain path to an adoption opportunity, however, private domestic adoption will give you that chance. Birth parents voluntarily consent to adoption, so you don’t have to wait for court action to terminate their parental rights. After the legal requirements are observed, and the adoption paperwork is signed, you can fully adopt your child.

Reasons Hopeful Adoptive Parents Choose Infant Adoption Versus Foster Care in Arizona

Deciding between foster care vs. adoption in AZ is all about determining your family goals and making your plan. If permanent adoption is your dream, private domestic adoption is your best path forward because it offers a direct, certain path to building the family you’ve always wanted.

Again, at American Adoptions, we fully support parents who wish to participate in foster care and foster care adoption. Giving a foster child in Arizona a home in their time of need is noble and loving. However, the same is true of private domestic adoption. Families pursuing private infant adoption often find it to be a life-changing journey.

A few of the advantages of private infant adoption include:

  • You get to adopt an infant
  • You can use your Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ) to set your preferences and find the perfect adoption opportunity
  • You won’t have to worry about preexisting trauma or difficulties associated with childhood adversity
  • Your path to family growth will be shorter because there are fewer steps required for private adoption
  • You’ll enjoy a certain path to family expansion because birth parents provide consent before private adoption can proceed
  • You won’t have to wait for the court to terminate the parental rights of biological parents
  • You (and everyone else in the adoption) can benefit from an open adoption that allows open communication between you, your child, and the birth parents
  • And many more

If you think private infant adoption aligns with your family goals, you should consider partnering with American Adoptions. For almost three decades, we’ve assisted more than 13,000 families in bringing their adoption dreams to reality. Our industry-leading 96% success rate is partially due to the fact that we offer 800x more marketing than leading competitors. That results in significantly shorter wait times (between 9-12 months) than with other leading agencies.

Another advantage of working with American Adoptions is our staff. They’re not just compassionate, experienced, licensed adoption professionals. Many of our staff members are also adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth mothers, so they know what you’re going through and can share their experiences with you during your adoption journey.

If you’re still wondering whether foster care vs. adoption in AZ is right for you, we’re here to help. Please reach out to our specialists by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing our online form whenever you’re ready. 

Last Words on Adoption Versus Foster Care in Arizona

You can’t go wrong when choosing to foster or adopt in Arizona. Either path to family growth represents a loving act and noble desire to give a deserving kid the stability and love they need. Both private adoption and foster care allow you to build a loving, supportive family.

If you’re still processing the difference between foster care and adoption in AZ, we’re here to get you the answers you need and chart your path forward. To speak with one of our specialists today, simply call 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our online form

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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