Fostering and adoption are two things that happen to children and teenagers for lots of different reasons.
Another term for fostering you may have heard of is being “taken into care”; some birth families can’t look after their children any more, so they are placed into care with people who can look after them. The reasons children are placed into care are diverse; it can be because of illness, bad lifestyle choices, thoughtless and bad behaviour towards their children, and so on. No child deserves to live in a home where they’re not treated right, so social workers, foster carers, and judges keep them safe while deciding what to do next.
Being fostered can be a really confusing time for kids; it can often be a surprise when it first happens, and they don’t understand why it’s happened. They’re often worried about their birth family and can sometimes think they have done something wrong when they absolutely haven’t; it’s never the child’s fault.
All the people who have got to know the kids (social workers, judges, foster carers) have to decide what’s best for them; that’s their job, and they want to make sure the kids are safe and happy and healthy. The social workers and judges will either decide that the kids should be fostered until they’re eighteen (when they become adults) or that adoption is best (when they are given a forever family); it allows the kids to have a brand-new family who have chosen them and want to give them the best possible life forever. An adoptive family looks the same as any other family; there are two-parent and one-parent families; two mums, two dads, a mum and a dad, or a single parent (I’m a single dad to a brilliant kid, and I’m so proud of him).
Adoptive parents do a lot of work before they’re allowed to adopt, to make sure they’re the right sort of people to look after a child. They don’t mind doing the work, though, because it means that they get to become parents to kids they love just as much as if they had given birth to them.
When kids are adopted, they get a “blended family”, made up of people who love and care for the kids. It’s often made up of different people – their new, forever family, their brothers and sisters (who might live with them or with other adoptive families), and sometimes their foster carers as well. It just goes to show how important they are to the adults who love them very much. The kids become part of a forever family who chose them; that’s the special thing about being adopted, the kids are chosen by their forever family, which is really cool. They’re really wanted.
Being fostered and adopted are both good things, as they give kids a happy future (which they deserve) and lots of love (which they deserve).