Foster Care Adoption in Alaska
How to Adopt From Foster Care in Alaska
There are several different ways to grow your family through adoption. It’s impossible to say which one of these ways is “the best,” because that all depends on you. Your life, your home, your unique context and community — these factors and more will determine which type of adoption could make the most sense for your family.
Even though American Adoptions only works in domestic infant adoption, we want to help you fulfill your dream of parenthood however we can. That’s why we created this guide to Alaska foster care adoption.
Foster care adoption in Alaska, also called foster to adopt, is the way thousands of people have used to grow their family. It can be a wonderful opportunity to become parents while meeting the serious needs of a waiting child. If you are considering adoption through foster care in Alaska, you probably have a lot of questions.
How does foster care adoption in Alaska work? How many children are there in foster care? How do I find foster children for adoption in Alaska? And what about an adoption subsidy from foster care?
We’ll answer these questions to help you gain a better understanding of foster adoption in Alaska.
How Does Foster to Adopt in Alaska Work?
Foster care is a national system operated on a local level by agencies and departments. The primary goal of the system is something called “reunification,” which is the act of reunifying a child with his or her biological parents after a time apart in the system. In many cases, a child may be removed from a home because of an unsafe living situation, and be allowed to return when the situation has improved.
However, many children who are in the foster care system will not be reunified with their biological parents. For a myriad of reasons, parental rights have been terminated; making these foster children who need adoption in Alaska. Of the approximately 3,000 children in the Alaska foster care system, more than 700 are waiting to be adopted.
The number of children in Alaska’s foster care system has been increasing at an alarming rate — jumping 50 percent in four years from 2012 to 2016. Alaska’s state legislature has attempted to pass bills that will improve the system, but there is still an immense need for qualified foster parents. By stepping into this role, you can not only grow your family through adoption, but also meet the needs of children.
How Do I Become a Foster Parent in Alaska?
If this sounds like the right path for your family, you will need to become a foster parent in Alaska. When you do this, you can communicate your intent to foster to adopt, and an appropriate placement will be sought for your family.
In order to adopt a foster child in Alaska, there are several requirements you must meet to become a foster parent. You must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be physically and emotionally capable of caring for children
- Demonstrate a lifestyle free of criminal activity and drug use
- Have adequate resources to support a child
- Provide at least three personal character references
- Have a safe home that is suitable for children
If you meet these requirements, you are off to a good start. The next step to becoming a foster parent with the intent to adopt a foster child in Alaska is to contact your local Office of Children’s Services. After doing this, you will need to submit an application and complete several hours of training before being ready for placement with a foster child.
Adoption vs Foster Care: Advantages and Disadvantages of Foster Care Adoption in Alaska
There are several distinct advantages and disadvantages to foster care adoption in Alaska. Only you can know what is best for your family, and these factors should help you make that determination.
Advantage: Foster care adoption can be much less expensive than other types of adoption. While the exact cost of adoption can be difficult to estimate, foster to adopt in Alaska typically only costs an average of $0 - $2,500. Additionally, there are adoption subsidy options in Alaska. This, it should be noted, is just the cost of the adoption process, which can include legal fees, medical bills and other expenses. The cost of parenting is, of course, just as high as any other way of becoming a parent.
Disadvantage: Parents may be more likely to face unpredictability and long wait times in foster care adoption in Alaska than during a domestic infant adoption. The nature of the foster care system allows for unexpected changes with little notice, including having a child removed from your care. This can be very difficult for parents pursuing adoption through foster care in Alaska.
Advantage: There will be little to no travel involved in an Alaska foster care adoption. Whereas you may need to go to a different state for a domestic infant adoption, you will most likely not have to leave your county when adopting from foster care in Alaska.
Disadvantage: Local news outlets have reported that the Alaska foster care system is overwhelmed. This means that there may be less professional assistance available to you during foster care adoption in Alaska. Timely professional service can be vital to a successful adoption.
Is Alaska Foster Care Adoption Right for You?
Now that you know a little bit more about how foster to adopt in Alaska works, how to become a foster parents and some of the advantages of foster care adoption, you are in a better place to decide if this is right for you.
If you’re still unsure, or if you have more questions about foster care adoption in Alaska, you can reach out to your local Alaska foster care agency for more information on support groups, parenting classes, and more. If you are considering private domestic infant adoption, you can always reach out to American Adoptions for free information at any time, or to speak with an adoption specialist.
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