Birth Mother Blog

4 Important Differences between Foster Care and Adoption 

If you are a pregnant woman and you have decided that you cannot keep your child, you are likely educating yourself with your available options for adoption. Perhaps you are deciding between adoption and foster care, but don’t know enough about each to make a choice. 

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we understand that your top priority is finding a happy and loving home for your child. We are here to answer all your questions and to provide you with support to make the decisions that are best for your own unique situation. Adoption and foster care do have some similarities, but there are a number of key differences as well. 

The Differences between Foster Care and Adoption

  • The Length of Foster Care vs. Adoption

Foster care is a state-run program that removes children from dangerous or unhealthy home and family situations. The ultimate goal of foster care is to provide a temporary solution to such a problem. Ideally, once your child’s home life is more secure and safe, he or she will return home permanently. In some cases, however, if a child’s home life does not improve, their foster family may legally adopt them. 

Adoption is the process of granting an adoptive family legal guardianship of your child. This is not a temporary solution, but a permanent one. Your child’s adoptive family will raise them as their own. 

  • Legal Parental Rights of a Foster Family vs. an Adoptive Family

When your child enters into the foster care system, you still have the right to make any important legal decisions in your child’s life. These decisions are monitored by the state, and can include anything from schooling choices to religious events to sport’s practices. If the court finds that you are unable to provide a safe environment for your child, your legal rights will be terminated and passed on to the state or an adoptive family. 

In adoption, an adoptive family will have full legal custody of your child. This means that they are responsible for all legal decisions in your child’s life, large or small. Adoption provides the opportunity for adoptive families to raise your child as a permanent member of their family. This gives the adoptive family the chance to raise your child with all their love and provide opportunities that will allow your child to flourish. 

  • The Selection of a Family in Foster Care vs. Adoption

Foster care is a state system where you do not get to participate in choosing the family your child is placed with. Additionally, you do not have the option to decide how long your child will remain in foster care. This depends on a number of factors, including the safety of your own home and your capability to adequately provide for your child.

Should you choose adoption, you will always have the option of selecting an adoptive family for your child. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, you have the opportunity to look through our portfolios of prospective adoptive families. Once you have matched with an adoptive family that feels right, you have the option to speak on the phone before you meet them in person. You will also be matched with an adoption caseworker who will provide you with support throughout your adoption journey. 

  • The Benefits of Adoption 

Both adoption and foster care are available options if you are unable to raise your child. However, it is important to keep in mind the well-being and needs of your child. Choosing adoption holds many benefits for both you and your child. As a birth mother, you will have much more agency in the adoption process. Not only will you get to select your child’s adoptive family, but you can also choose the type of adoption you’d prefer. This means that it is possible to continue to have a relationship with your child, if that is something that you are interested in. 

Stability is often a key component of a happy and healthy childhood. Moving your child through different homes can create confusion and a lack of trust. If you are unsure that you can provide a stable home for your child, it is worth considering adoption. Your child’s adoptive family will be able to provide a loving home for them. This will also allow you the space and opportunity to plan for your own future. 

The Differences between Foster Care and Adoption

Whether you choose adoption or foster care depends on your individual situation. Because this is an emotional and life-changing decision for you and your baby, it is important that you spend the time to make a thoughtful and educated choice. Adoption Choices of Missouri is happy to help you with the decision process, as well as give you the information and support you need to begin your adoption journey. 

Adoption Choices of Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond, please call us or text us to learn more! Call us toll free at 877-903-4488 or, in Missouri call or text us at 1-816-527-9800

Meet the Author: Molly Doyle is a native San Franciscan, Molly is an experienced educator and a dedicated writer. She holds her multiple subject teaching credential as well as her Masters of Arts in Teaching. When not teaching children or creating new written pieces, Molly can be found kicking around a soccer ball, going for urban hikes or whipping up a fruit pie. 

She currently lives in Seattle, her first home outside of California.