If you have ever found yourself questioning the difference between foster care and adoption, you are not alone. There are many people who have a hard time understanding the difference between two as they do have many similarities such as bringing a child who is not biologically yours to care and nurture them. Here are the differences:

Your rights as a parent

Parental rights are tricky when it comes to foster care. More often than not, parental rights remain with the birth parent – even while the child is in foster care. Up until those rights are terminated or the child is placed for adoption. Parental rights can also be supervised by the state but foster parents will not be allowed to make medical decisions regarding for the child or have the final say on any major decisions until the adoption is finalized.  These major decisions include:

  • The type of religious services the child will attend
  • Where the child will go to school
  • What type of school the child will attend

The foster child can continue to live with their foster parent until they are legally adopted by them or another family. Once the adoption is complete, the adoptive parents will the be allowed to make major decisions when it comes to  the child’s education, medical, and financial care.

Length of stay

The goal is not for children to stay in foster care forever. Foster care is meant to be a temporary situation. State agencies do their best to assist families in fixing whatever issues caused the child to be removed with the hope of the child returning home one day. If the situation is beyond repair then, the child will be placed in a more permanent situation – adoption. Adoption legally binds the child to the family they are placed with and allows those parents all of the privileges and rights that biological parents would.

There are many foster parents around the world who choose to open their homes to many children and never adopt and there are also parents who start out as foster parents with the intention of adopting. Whether you choose to be a foster parent or an adoptive parent you are providing a great service to a child in need.