Though not necessary to become an adoptive family, housing a foster child prior to permanent adoption is a natural progression. Many families, in both Ohio and across the country, foster children for several years before making the decision to legally adopt. However, it is a misconception that if you foster a child you will eventually be offered the chance to adopt them.

Foster care is meant to be a temporary measure. A child welfare agency will do everything in their power to rectify a situation and reunite a child with his or her own family. Even if a child is not allowed to enter back into the biological parents’ home, they are often taken into custody by other willing and able family members. It is always found to be within a child’s best interests to stay within their own family if at all safe and possible. For that reason, Ohio views a foster family to be part of the child welfare team. It is their hope that a foster family will support and advocate for biological family relationships to be repaired and restored.

After all reunification measures have been exhausted, which can take years, the court will grant permanent custody of a child to the welfare agency handling his or her case. It is at that point that a foster family may be given the option of permanent adoption.

An adoption attorney can assist a family in progressing through the process from foster to adoption. It is always helpful to have access to a neutral party who can make sure the best interests of all involved are taken into account.