Foster Care and Adoption in Maine
Adopting From Foster Care can be a Great Way to Start Your Family
If you're thinking about adopting a child in Maine, there are several different paths available. Adoption can be a great way to grow your family no matter which route you take.
While American Adoptions specializes in domestic infant adoptions, Maine foster care adoption is another one of your available options.
So, what's the difference? Reach out to an adoption specialist today to get more information about each of your adoption options.
Even though American Adoptions cannot offer services to assist your foster care adoption in Maine, we want to do everything we can to help any hopeful parent grow their family. Foster care adoption creates a way for you to provide loving care to a child as well as bring a child into your family like you’ve always dreamed.
So, how does foster care adoption work in Maine? What are the requirements? How do you get started? We’ve answered some of these big questions below to help you decide if a Maine foster care adoption is right for your family.
How many children are there in the Maine foster care system?
There are approximately 1,900 children living in out-of-home care situations in the state of Maine, according to this report from the Child Welfare League of America. Of those children, more than 600, or 35 percent, are waiting to be adopted.
You can view some of the foster children for adoption in Maine through this foster care adoption photo listing.
These numbers are constantly changing because of the complex situations of each child and family. However, the CWLA did find that the number of children living in foster care in Maine has been on the rise since 2011, and a local newspaper reported in 2016 that Maine’s lack of foster families was reaching a “crisis level.”
What are the requirements to be a foster parent in Maine?
The requirements to become a foster parent in Maine are similar to the requirements to become an adoptive parent in Maine. You must:
Be at least 21 years old
Be physically and mentally prepared to care for a child
Provide three reference letters from non-family members
Pass a criminal background check
Complete a foster care home study
These requirements are in place to protect you and the child. The state needs to be as sure as possible that this will be a good situation for a child, and that you are ready for the responsibility that comes with fostering to adopt.
How does foster care adoption in Maine work?
A child may be removed from their home and placed into foster care due to a variety of dangerous circumstances, including neglect, abuse, substance abuse or other situations that would have a harmful effect.
When this happens, a judge will present the child’s biological parents with a reunification plan — which is a set of steps with the goal of the child returning to the care of his/her biological family. In nearly every foster care situation, reunification is the primary goal at first.
However, there are some children whose parents have, by choice or by legal verdict, had their parental rights terminated. In these cases, the child becomes eligible for adoption from foster care in Maine.
When the termination of parental rights occurs, a court will usually seek out family members who may be able to become the child’s permanent family. After this, the family the child has been placed with in foster care will have the option to adopt, which is commonly referred to as “foster to adopt.”
Each year, more than 400,000 children spend time in foster care in America. Of those, nearly half will leave a foster care situation at some point during the year, and 21 percent of children who exit foster care do so through adoption.
How do I get started?
The first thing you can do is reach out to your local foster care professionals by contacting the Maine Child and Family Services department to ask about adopting a foster child in Maine. You should ask as many questions as possible and thoroughly research all your options before making a decision.
What are the costs for foster care?
One of the most significant advantages to pursuing adoption from foster care in Maine is the cost. The average foster care adoption costs between $0 –$2,500. The cost may include:
Home study fees
The general cost of parenting a child
While the unpredictability that comes with the foster care system can be a drawback, the low cost of foster care adoption is certainly a positive aspect for families. And along with the low cost, an adoption subsidy is available to families adopting from foster care in Maine.
There is help along the way.
This isn’t an easy thing to do. There will be moments when it feels overwhelming, and sometimes it helps in those moments to remember that you aren’t alone. There are foster adoption forums and foster care support groups you can reach out to for advice and encouragement.
There will always be more to learn about fostering to adopt in Maine, and it is likely that your unique situation will present its own challenges. We hope this brief overview is a helpful tool as you parse through the options and decide what is best for your family.
Remember, if you still considering private infant adoption, you can always get free information about American Adoptions’ services at any time. Our adoption agency will do our best to provide more resources for your current situation.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.