Frequently Asked Questions:
Where are the children waiting for
Some of the children live with foster care families, in foster
care group homes, in residential treatment facilities or nursing
homes, due to their special medical needs, but none of the children
are living with their birth families or relatives.
Have all legal ties to their birth
parents been terminated?
All children photo-listed in state and national online Heart Gallery
photo-listings are considered "legally-free". This means
that a court has determined the rights of the parents to be legally
Why are the children living in foster
The reasons may include death or permanent, total incapacity of
the parent(s), and no relatives available to care for the child(ren).
A child or sibling group may have been legally removed from the
birth family for reasons of neglect, or where physical, sexual or
emotional abuse is proved. When the children cannot be returned
to the family and be properly protected and cared for, the legal
rights of the parents are terminated by a court and a permanent
living situation for the child(ren) is sought. If suitable relatives
are not able to care for them, adoption by a non-relative is the
next, best alternative.
Why is the term "Special
Needs" used to define these children?
Does "special needs" mean that a child is physically
disabled or has severe medical or emotional challenges? Certainly
these needs would be considered "special needs". However
"special needs" within the adoption field most likely
means the children are simply older, belong to an ethnic minority,
or are part of a sibling group and bear the emotional burden of having
been abused or neglected. Sometimes a child may have a risk factor
such as prior exposure to drugs or alcohol before birth which may
put them at risk for developmental delays or learning problems in
the future. They may have been abandoned. There may be no family
or relative history, which would also put them at risk.
A child considered to have "special needs" is frequently
entitled to receive benefits, such as increased financial assistance,
Medicaid, or therapeutic support services, while in foster care.
These benefits can continue after adoption.
"Special Needs" refers to children in foster care who
meet one or more of the following criteria:
- The child is at least age 2 and part of an ethnic minority.
- The child is at least eight years old.
- The child is mentally, physically, or emotionally disabled.
- The child belongs to an ethnic minority.
- The child is a part of a sibling group that needs to be placed
What do the children need or expect?
The children are real, unique personalities who need love, understanding
and, above all, acceptance. Each child is an individual. What one
child expects, or hopes for, may be quite different from another.
Many children really don't know what to expect. Their experience
of family life may have been neglectful, abusive or hurtful. What
all children hope, deep down, is that any family with whom they
are placed will care about them, be patient and accept them for
who they are and demonstrate love and tender affection.
What is the cost of adoption? Can
I receive any assistance to adopt? What are the tax implications?
The cost of adoption through a public state agency is nominal.
Adoption assistance is available in different forms including
We both work and can't afford for
one of us to quit to take care of an adoptive child.
Both parents may work and still adopt children.
I am single and do
not own my home. Can I still adopt?
Yes, single parent families can adopt and you do not have to
own your home to adopt a child.
We have children
and we want to adopt.
Many families who adopt have birth children who are still living
in their homes or who have grown up and moved out on their own.
You have to be rich.
You have to own your house.
You have to be married.
You can't have your own children.
That it's easy and that anyone can do it.
That the foster parents always adopt the children.
That the children are going to love you instantly.
That you need to be a perfect parent in order
to foster or adopt.
"Adoptive parents know that solutions are
never simple and there are no roadmaps."
Sharing your life and home with children who
are angry, hurt and scared.
Sharing your life with children who have experienced
losses and now spend their days anticipating the next one.
Sharing your adopted children with all of the
other "moms and dads" they have had.
Loving children, whose past experiences will
impact their ability and willingness to trust and become part
of a new family.