Test your knowledge!

See what you know about the children and teens in foster care and what it takes to parent them

  1. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own, usually because their birth parents have struggled to keep them safe and healthy. Most come into care due to ________.

    More than half of children and teens enter foster care because they were seriously neglected. Parental substance abuse is also a factor in many cases.

    Though the children have done nothing wrong, they may feel like they are being punished when they are removed from their home and enter foster care. Too often they don’t know what is going to happen to them or where they’ll be sleeping from one day to the next.

    Learn more about the children in care.

  2. The primary difference between foster care and adoption is that children _______________.

    Most often, foster care is a temporary place for children who will go back home. Foster parents care for a child until they can be reunited with at least one of their birth parents or a relative. When children don’t go home or to a relative, they are often adopted by their foster parent.

    Adoption is a permanent, legal relationship between the child and the parent. It is only possible after social workers and judges have determined that a child cannot safely return home. As an adoptive parent, you have all the rights and responsibilities of any other parent.

    Learn more about being a foster parent and adopting from foster care.

  3. In the United States, the average age of children waiting to be adopted is _______.

    The average age of children in care is 8, and the majority of children featured on the AdoptUSKids photolisting are nine or older.

    Most younger children in care are adopted by relatives or their foster families. The older children in care have usually waited the longest for a family. These children and teens need support, guidance, and a family now and for the rest of their lives.

    Learn more about the children on AdoptUSKids.

  4. It typically takes ______________ to be approved to adopt.

    The adoption process takes some time because it is designed to ensure that children who have already been hurt have parents who can keep them safe and meet their needs. As a prospective adoptive parent, you will go through orientation, training, and a home study process before you are approved to adopt.

    After you are approved, your agency will work with you to find the child or sibling group for whom your family is a good fit.

    Learn more about adoption from foster care.

  5. All children removed from their families have experienced some form of _________.

    At a minimum, these children have had the trauma of entering care and losing their primary caregivers. Older children often lose all they know (friends, schoolmates, pets, teachers). Many have also been abused or neglected or have been present during domestic or other violence.

    The trauma children experience affects their brains, bodies, behaviors, and thinking. They may struggle to express and control emotions, concentrate, handle conflict, form healthy relationships, understand social cues, and distinguish safe from threatening situations.

    Learn more about understanding trauma.

  6. People who can be considered as foster or adoptive parents must _____________.

    People can foster or adopt from foster care if they are single or married, rent or own their home or apartment, or have children or not. Many foster and adoptive parents are of very modest means and work outside the home. Many haven’t been to college. People whose first language is not English, military families (living in the US or overseas), and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals and couples can and do adopt from US foster care.

    While there are typically either minimal or no fees to adopt from foster care, families do need to show that they can financially support themselves and a child.

    Learn more about adoption and foster care in your state.

  7. Successful foster and adoptive parents know that ______________:

    Successful foster and adoptive parents understand that they need training, support from their friends and family, and advice from other experienced foster and adoptive families to do the best job they can. As you think about fostering or adopting, it’s important to think about—and talk to your agency about—how you’ll develop your skills and create a support network for you and the children you’ll care for.

    Learn more about the types of support and where to find them.

  8. While it is important to make a child feel like part of the family, foster and adoptive parents must first __________.

    Parents have to learn and create new traditions for the whole family. It’s important to think about race, culture, ethnicity, and identity, especially for children who are placed in families with a different background.

    Foster and adoptive parents should learn about, celebrate, and honor the culture and traditions of the children who enter their home. Incorporating your children’s culture into your family can help them feel safe and develop a strong, positive sense of self.

    Read about transracial adoption and maintaining cultural connections.

  9. When adopting from foster care, it’s almost always better for children to have some ________.

    Most children and teens in foster care still care about their birth family, and their birth parents love them. Foster parents are almost always required to work with the birth family so that the child can go home again.

    In adoption, many children stay in touch with members of their birth family. Whatever the level of contact, it’s important to treat birth family with respect because children may feel that you are rejecting them if you criticize their kin.

    Read La Tika Smith-Jeffery’s story about balancing family relationships.

  10. A foster or adoptive parent can best support a child who has been in care by ___________.

    When parenting a child who has experienced trauma, loss, and grief, love alone can’t do the trick. Parents must parent based on what has happened to the child, which is called trauma-informed parenting.

    Successful foster and adoptive parents can best meet their children’s needs when they access training, support services, and advice from others. And they sometimes seek respite care for those times when they—or their child—just need a break from the emotional stress of becoming a family.

    And of course—flexibility and humor go a long way as well!

    Learn more about resources available to support families who adopt.

Ready to take the next step?