Adoption vs. Foster Parenting

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Adoption vs. Foster Parenting
When I had cable TV, I used to watch a show on the Learning Channel, called "An Adoption Story". The show followed the story of a different couple each time, as they adopted a child. It was beautiful to see a childless couple be able to adopt a child of their own. The love and joy was the same as if they had given birth to the child. Adoption is truly a blessing, both for the childless couples, and for the birth mother searching for a loving home for her baby. I always wondered what it would be like to adopt a child or provide a foster home for a few underprivileged children. I have always had a soft spot for children and I thought that by doing something so small for someone else could be so rewarding in the end but then after hearing all the horror stories of adopted and foster children, it makes me wonder if either one is such a good choice. Not just the emotional and physical abuse that they suffer at the hands of others, but what they have to endure their whole life growing up thinking that no one wants them or they aren't good enough to be adopted. I would never want my child to have to endure this type of turmoil but for some the option isn't really and option.

Foster parenting is the temporary care of a child in crisis. Generally, the children have been taken away from their birth parents due to abuse, neglect, or other reasons. Financial support for foster parents is offered in all 50 states (Wilson-Buterbaugh 24). You must be 21 years old, and have pre-placement training, as well as a stable income. In some cases, foster parenting can lead to adoption. There are two very unfortunate misperceptions about foster parenting: One is that it is somehow inferior to adoption, and the other is that there is only one kind of meaningful foster care: long-term. Foster parenting and adoption serve different functions. Fostering requires special qualities. It is not an alternative for people who aren't "good enough" to adopt. In many ways foster care is more challenging than adoption: the children may be more troubled, especially at arrival, although it is definitely not true that foster children are all damaged or delinquents, working closely with birth families can be difficult, social services have parental authority, and there is the constant knowledge that you will probably lose the children to their birth families or another foster or adoptive family. "Foster care" covers a number of different ways of caring for children. Some might be possibilities for people who are not planning to adopt, for example, because of age. Some are possible ways for people who aren't yet ready to adopt to get experience with caring for children. Some types of foster care are very short-term; some offer specialized levels of care; some are longer-term, and some are designed to lead to adoption when and if the child's biological parents lose their parental rights (Rist 56). And in some states, New York for example, those hoping to adopt through their state foster care system must first be licensed as foster parents. Foster children who are taken or relinquished into foster care are among the most vulnerable and at-risk children in our society, and there is a critical shortage of qualified foster parents in the United States (Lynn 10).

This leads to a lot of foster children being placed in already crowded foster homes and being abused and/or ignored because the foster parents don't have time for them or is so over worked and frustrated that they take it out on the children. This just adds on to the problems that most of these children already have. Some people go through the classes and procedures to become foster parents because it's a steady check coming in the mail for each child. Free government checks, why not! Not even considering what the whole "Foster Parent" title entails. These children need love and care and someone who is going to be there for them. Not someone there to just get a check and do...
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