Myths About Foster Care Adoption

  • Myth #1: All foster children remain in State care forever.  Most children enter foster care because of abuse, neglect or abandonment. If the problems leading to placement are solved, children may be returned home. If not, children may become free for adoption. Children in state care range in age from birth -18 and have various backgrounds.
  • Myth #2: There is a set limit for how long a foster child may stay in my home. There is no set length for a foster placement. It depends on the circumstances of the child and his/her birth family. When a child is placed in your home, there may be an estimated length of time the child is expected to stay.
  • Myth #3: I do not have a say in which child is placed in my home. Foster and adoptive parents specify the race, age, gender and number of children they wish to care for. You have the option to decline a placement.
  • Myth #4: My foster child must attend school in their home district. Day care is not provided for adopted children, only children in foster/relative care. Child care and after school child care for youth up to age 13 is paid for by the state. Foster parents don’t have to pay for this.. The state pays the provider directly.
  • Myth #5: Once I become a foster parent, the rest is up to me:  When a child is placed in your home as a foster or adoptive placement you receive a monthly reimbursement for expenses you will incur. The reimbursement depends upon the child’s age and the number of foster children in the home. Medical and dental insurance are provided by the state. A yearly clothing allowance and transportation reimbursement is also available. If counseling or therapy services are needed, the state also provides for those services. The Coalition offers services through our Family Works program, which includes 24/7 crisis intervention for families that meet eligibility guidelines. Along with monetary supports, there are support groups, education advocates, and continuing education training available to foster and adoptive parents.
  • Myth #6: I must own my home to foster or adopt a child. Foster and adoptive parents may own, rent, or be in the process of buying a home, apartment or condo. Families who rent must have their landlord’s permission to become foster parents.  Your local municipality may also require an occupancy permit.
  • Myth #7: It is expensive to adopt children. Though a private adoption can cost $20,000 or more, almost all of the expenses in a public adoption are borne by the state, including court and attorney fees.
  • Myth #8: I cannot afford to raise someone else’s child.  Parents who adopt children from foster care are eligible for programs designed to ease the financial burden.
  • Myth #9: I cannot afford education for the child. Illinois provides foster children a college tuition waiver available up to $5,000 and parents may receive financial assistance from the state, depending on the severity of their child’s needs. Click here for college financial aid available for IL current and former foster youth. There are also financial awards and many scholarships available to youth in foster care. There are also other college financial aid information available on our Educational Advocacy page.
  • Myth #10: It takes forever to adopt a foster child. The entire adoption process — including orientation, training, background-screening, home visits and the legal formalities — can be completed in about nine months.
  • Myth #11: Birth parents usually change their minds. A question we hear often is “can I lose a child I’ve come to love because the adoption falls apart?”. The answer is NO. In the state child welfare system, children do not become eligible for adoption until the rights of their birth parents to raise them have been permanently terminated by a judge.
  • Myth #12: I can’t handle abused or neglected children because they are hardened, difficult and unruly. Many of the children available for adoption through the state child welfare system have endured very serious trauma in their young lives. Nearly half of all children in foster care have special needs, meaning they are either developmentally delayed, physically disabled, or suffer mental or emotional disabilities. But these are often the children who have the greatest need for a loving, stable and nurturing home. That’s why the adoption process focuses so heavily on building trust among prospective parents and the children they wish to adopt – and in ensuring expectations are realistic for everyone involved. Through the state, all adoptive parents receive training on the dynamics of abuse and neglect, and they have the opportunity to meet with other adoptive parents to learn what they may experience.