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Foster Facts

Did you know over 100,000 children in the US are sitting in foster care right now waiting to be adopted?

Family-Match is a revolutionary adoption technology that better matches foster children with their forever family.

“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”

2016-2017 US Florida
Waiting to be adopted 117,794 850
Adopted 56.507 3692
Average time in care 31.2 30.87
Adoptions type 34% Relatives
52% Foster Parents
14% Recruited
26% Relatives
50% Foster Parents
24% Recruited

SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON OF US AND FL.

Let Selfless Love Foundation be a part of your adoption journey now!

*Families new to
Family-Match

*Families enrolled with
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If you’d like to support our efforts to find forever families for foster children, you can make a donation to support our mission. Each donation is greatly appreciated.

FAMILY-MATCH

“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”

FIRST COAST NEWS SPOTLIGHT

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“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”

FOSTER MYTHS

TRUTH: There are children who need adoption in the United States.

In the United States foster care system, there are more than 100,000 children who are waiting for adoption into family.

TRUTH: It’s easier to adopt from U.S. foster care.

On average, it takes a year to adopt a child from the United States foster care system. The average time it took to complete an international adoption in 2011 from Hague Convention countries ranged from 79 days to almost two years. Additionally, most adoptions from foster care lower financial costs for the family, while international adoption programs can average between $25,000 and $40,000.

TRUTH: In order to adopt, you just have to be willing and ready to share your life.

Families do not need to be wealthy or have a substantial amount tucked away in savings in order to welcome a child into their family through foster care adoption. Adoption costs can often be offset by state and federal tax credits and subsidies offered for adoptions through foster care.

TRUTH: You can adopt any race or ethnicity.

Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child and his/her prospective parents. The only exception to this law is the adoption of Native American children where special considerations may apply.

TRUTH: Not all children in foster care have special needs.

The majority of children in foster were removed from their families due to abuse or neglect. A child whose file has been classified as “special needs” may qualify for adoption assistance due to specific factors such as: being an older child, being part of a sibling group needing to be placed together as one unit, medical conditions, and physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. A child considered to have special needs should not be confused with a child who requires special educational resources.

TRUTH: Every situation is different, but the danger is mitigated by the courts.

It is through no fault of their own that children are placed into foster care. For adoptive placements, very few birth parents reappear after their parental rights have been legally terminated. In the instances where children have continued relationships with their birth family, it’s because the arrangement is determined to be beneficial, safe, and healthy for everyone involved.

TRUTH: Sibling relationships do matter and can help the children involved to stay emotionally connected.

Placing siblings together is almost always the optimal outcome after being separated from birth parents. It helps provide continuity and prevents the trauma of additional loss.

TRUTH: This is not true if the parents’ rights have been legally terminated.

Adoption from foster care is a legally binding agreement that is not finalized until the rights of all parents have been legally terminated by a court of law. It’s very rare that an adoption is challenged in court.

TRUTH: Older parents are often sought to become adoptive families.

Many people believe that in order to be eligible to adopt, prospective parents must be within the age range of natural childbearing. While it is true that requirements differ based on a country’s particular adoption program, older parents and/or empty nesters are often among the demographic sought for adoptive families.

TRUTH: You can absolutely love your child just as much as a biological child.

Many prospective adoptive parents are influenced by this fear/myth. The truth that is testified to over and over again after adopting, is that you can and do love a child who came home through adoption just as much as a biological child. The love for your children is not a matter of blood; it is a matter of love.

TRUTH: Florida’s restriction on LGBT people adopting was declared unconstitutional and was officially removed from Florida statute in June of 2015.

LGBT people and same sex couples are open to foster and/or adopt in Florida. In fact, same-sex foster parents are six times more likely to be raising foster children than opposite-sex couples. Married same-sex couples can now adopt children jointly, rather than having one partner adopt the child and the other partner go through a second-parent adoption.

BENEFITS OF ADOPTING

Adoption provides unique opportunities to change children’s lives and enrich the life of the adoptive parent or family that welcomes them in. Adopting one of Florida’s children from foster care offers many special benefits.

While private forms of adoption can cost upwards of $30,000, adopting one of Florida’s children from foster care costs little or nothing. The required adoptive parent training class and home study are provided free of charge, and even court costs and fees can be paid by the agency if the family cannot afford them.

Florida’s children adopted from care are eligible for free tuition at any Florida state university, community college or vocational school in Florida up until age 28. Additionally, some Florida private institutions of higher learning will provide free tuition for children who have been adopted from foster care. This is a great benefit for those considering adopting an older child who is closer to college age.

Other parents who have adopted Florida’s children offer a wealth of support and information for new adoptive parents, and even maintain a 24-hour helpline. For more information, visit www.fsfapa.org. Plus, in many communities, adoptive parent support groups, community-based care agencies, faith-based, civic and other organizations help support families that adopt Florida’s children. Efforts are underway to strengthen these supports. View resources in your community.

The maximum federal adoption tax credit has been raised to $13,400 per child for adoptions finalized in 2015. The 2015 adoption tax credit is NOT a refundable credit, which means taxpayers can only get the credit refunded if they have federal income tax liability. In general, the credit is based on the reasonable and necessary expenses related to a legal adoption.

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All of the children who receive a monthly subsidy are eligible to receive health care through the Medicaid program until age 18. Some children are eligible for Medicaid until age 21. Upon moving out of the State, your child may no longer be eligible for Medicaid due to their initial IV-E status, which is determined at the time of the child’s initial removal from their home.

Prospective adoptive parents often worry that a child’s birth parents may change their minds and want the child back. Because Florida’s children are not made available for adoption until a court has already terminated the parental rights of their birth parents, this form of adoption is very secure.

Families that adopt one of Florida’s children in care will likely qualify for a monthly subsidy to help offset ongoing costs through the “Florida’s Adoption Assistance Program” until he/she turns 18 years old. This amount is negotiated on a child-by-child basis, depending on the child’s unique needs and the availability of funds. Specific subsidy information for Florida can be found at the Florida State Subsidy Profile portion of the North American Council on Adoptable Children web site.

There are real advantages to adopting an older child. First of all, the long trek from diapers to college is shortened considerably if the child you are adopting is 10, 14, or even 16. Some adoptees may be eligible for additional Education and Medicaid benefits if he/she was adopted after reaching 16-years of age and spent a minimum of 6 months in foster care immediately preceding the adoption placement.

Imagine an instant family. Even a large family can become reality if you adopt a sibling group. The bond among siblings is often powerfully strong. By adopting a sibling group, you are giving brothers and sisters who care deeply about each other a chance to grow up together in a new family – yours.

STEPS TO ADOPT

If you are just beginning your adoption journey, become part of the Selfless Love Family by registering at www.selflesslovefoundation.org/family-match. This will connect you with a member of our team who can help you start the adoption process in your area.

Orientation is a one to two-hour presentation that will give you a chance to meet and talk with experienced adoptive parents and counselors who will provide an overview of the entire adoption process from start to finish.

There are several different trainings and preparation courses made available throughout the state. These adoptive parent preparation courses are designed to give you the opportunity to assess yourself and your family as well as to explore and learn about adoption issues. These training sessions are usually scheduled at night or on weekends.

The purpose of the home study is to make sure you can provide a child with a safe and secure home. During this time, local, state and federal background checks will be conducted on all adults living in the household. You will be required to supply references from your employer and school officials if you have children in school, and character references from individuals who have known you and your family. An adoption worker will visit your home at least once to talk to you and other family members about adoption.

All of this information is gathered into a home study packet and sent for approval to an adoption specialist. You will be notified as soon as your application is approved.

Once you are home study approved or in the process of obtaining approval, you can register on Family-Match, create a profile, and complete a compatibility assessment. Being part of the Family-Match database offers your family a unique opportunity to be seen by child welfare worker across the state of Florida looking to match available children.

At last, you and an adoption worker have identified a child who seems to be a perfect match. Now is the time to learn as much as you can about the child. You may talk to the child’s foster parents or social worker to gain valuable insight into the child’s personality and background. At the same time you are learning about the child, the adoption worker is sharing information about you and your family with the child. When the child is comfortable, an initial short visit occurs. This initial visit is followed by longer and longer visits until the adoption worker, child and family agree that an overnight or extended visit can occur. There is no set timeframe for getting to know each other. The official placement in your home will occur when you, the child and the adoption worker determine that the child is ready.

After the child is placed in your home, an adoption worker must make monthly visits in order to assess the child’s adjustment and to determine whether new or additional services are needed. The supervision period ends when the counselor provides “Consents to Adopt” to your attorney.

After a successful match and visitation period with the child(ren), your family will have a three-month supervision period in which the child(ren) will live in your home prior to the legal adoption finalization date. At the end of this period, your attorney will schedule a hearing before a judge. The adoption will be legalized at the hearing and the child will officially become part of your family.

FAMILY-MATCH

*Families new to
Family-Match

*Families enrolled with
Family-Match

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#FosteringFamilies | #FosteringChange

If you’d like to support our efforts to find forever families for foster children, you can make a donation to support our mission. Each donation is greatly appreciated.

#FOSTERINGFAMILIES

There are no unwanted children. Just unfound families.