Expectant Parent Call 480-900-5520 Text 602-922-0408 Or 602-922-0401
Para español 888-222-8702
Adoptive Parent Call 480-999-4310
Serving Expectant Parents Statewide With Offices located in:
Phoenix | Flagstaff | Tuscon

What is the Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption?

Foster care and adoption are two very different processes by which children are introduced to new homes, separate from their birth parents. While these two function on the same premise of providing a positive and healthy environment for children without an environment like this at home, the way that they function and operate is very different. 

Our primary focus at Adoption Choices of Arizona is informing birth mothers like you about the adoption process and how it benefits you, and we are dedicated to helping you out every step of the way. Giving you a basic understanding of adoption is key to your success, so here is a little more information about the difference between foster care and adoption.

The Core Differences between Foster Care and Adoption

Many of the primary differences between foster care and adoption are structured from a legal standpoint. While both involve an alternative caretaker to the birth mother taking in a child and raising them for a given period of time, they are very much not the same thing. 

At its most basic level, adoption is the process by which an expectant mother does not feel adequately prepared to care for her child and finds a new home for them before or after they are born. Foster care is the process by which the state government determines a biological mother cannot properly care for her child in the current environment they live in. They then remove him or her from the biological mother’s care and place them into a temporary foster home. 

In other words, adoption is traditionally the choice of the birth mother to willingly ensure her child a better future. Foster care, on the other hand, is more of a forced relocation by legal means on the part of the state.

Your Rights as a Mother in Foster Care vs. Adoption

Another major difference between these two processes is the ultimate issue of a mother’s rights. When your child is finally given to an adoptive family through the adoption process, you have officially and legally given up your parental right to make decisions for your child. This may not cut off all communication with your child, provided you have an open or semi-open adoption and maintain a positive relationship with the adoptive family, but you can no longer legally claim responsibility or authority over your child. 

Foster care is a bit more complicated, as children removed from the care of their birth parents are still legally considered under the care of their birth parents as far as rights are concerned. However, these rights are managed by the state while the child is in foster care, and birth parents do not get a say in where their child is placed or how long he or she lives there.

What Happens to Your Child in Foster Care vs. Adoption

Yet another significant difference between foster care and adoption is the end result of these separate cases. In adoption, you are choosing to legally sign away your parental rights in favor of giving your child the best chance at life when you are unable to provide for them. Foster care is a temporary solution to removing a child from a bad situation at home. 

The purpose of foster care is to give biological parents time to reorganize and reclaim their lifestyle to create a safe environment for their children, at which point their children can potentially be returned. The period of time that the children spend in foster care can last greatly varies, depending on the case in question. It should be stated that, after a certain period of time in the foster care system, it is possible that your parental rights can be terminated and your child can be placed for permanent adoption elsewhere, which is why it is important for you to cooperate with state officials and work towards getting your child back.

What is the Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption?

Bringing together all of this information should help to clarify any misconceptions you have about the relatedness of foster care and adoption. They both stem from the same hope of protecting children and giving them the helpful environment they need to succeed in life, but, at the end of the day, they are two very different processes. 

If you are struggling with creating a healthy and positive environment for your child at home, and you believe it might be beneficial for them to be placed elsewhere, don’t hesitate to contact us and get started on your adoption journey today. Adoption Choices of Arizona wants to help you determine the right decision, and making an informed decision is the first step in finding what’s best for you and your child.

For adoption resources or to begin your adoption journey, birth parents can visit us at Adoption Choices of Arizona or call or text us at 1-480-900-5520. If you are an prospective adoptive family hoping to adopt a baby, please instead, visit us here!

Meet the AuthorJosh Drogemuller is a Senior at Grand Valley State University and has interests in writing and digital studies. A relative newcomer to the field of professional writing, Josh has spent the last eight years of his educational career honing his skills on the page. Josh is currently working towards a Bachelor of Science in Writing. 

Living in the Midwest, Josh looks forward to long baseball games and longer sentences.