Adopting a child through the foster care system

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If you have always seen your future with children in it, you are likely someone with a generous heart. Raising a child is a challenge, but it also comes with immeasurable rewards. Whether you already have children of your own or you are ready for your first child, if you are open to adoption, you should know how many options you have. The sad fact is that many children do not have homes and are eager to be part of a family like yours.

One way in which children find their forever homes is through the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Through this agency, children find foster homes, but many are also eligible for adoption. You may discover that adopting through DCS can fulfill your dreams and provide hope and joy for a child.

What to expect from the adoption process

Children come to foster care because their family circumstances create an unsafe home environment. The hope is that they will someday return to their parents, but this does not always happen. In some cases, the parents cannot provide for the child or surrender their parental rights. Because of the delicate situations from which these children come, the agents at DCS take every precaution to place them in homes where families can meet their needs.

To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old and a resident of Arizona. Your marital status — whether single, married, or widowed — is usually not an issue. You do not have to be a foster parent, but you will have to go through the certification process, which involves the following:

  • Completing an application
  • Attending orientation and training sessions for adoptive parents
  • Providing personal references
  • Releasing information about your financial stability
  • Releasing information about your mental and physical health
  • Undergoing a criminal background check that includes fingerprinting and investigation into your history, especially any allegations of child abuse
  • Submitting to a home study in which a licensed agent will visit your home and interview your family

You may have many factors to consider, such as a child who is not an infant, a child with siblings, and a child with other relatives who wish to maintain a relationship. DCS is only one way in which to adopt a child, and you may wish to explore other options. No matter the path you choose, the adoption process will grant you full parental rights and responsibilities, so you will want to be certain you have legal advice throughout the process.