Each November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month in the United States. The particular focus of this month has been on celebrating and raising awareness of permanency achieved through the adoption of children in foster care.
Foster Care and Adoption Statistics and Facts
As we aim to educate others during National Adoption Awareness Month, it is important to share a few, key statistics and facts on foster care and adoption in the United States:
- With nearly 450,000 children in foster care, over 100,000 of those children are waiting to be adopted
- It is not uncommon for children to wait two or more years to be adopted once becoming adoption-eligible, with over 20% of children waiting five or more years; some children never get adopted before reaching adulthood
- The average age of children waiting to be adopted is eight-years-old, and the older the child, the less likely they are to be adopted
- Priority for sibling group adoption is offered for those willing to open their families to more than one child at a time; there is a great need for adoptive homes for large sibling groups in foster care
- Up to 75% of all adoptions in the U.S. this year were “open adoptions,” which allow for specific conversations, visits, and relationships to be maintained between adoptive families and biological families.
- It is important to note that the majority of children in foster care have “return home” case plans. That means that the end goal of their time in foster care is to return back home to a biological parent once it is determined that the home is safe. In order to preserve families, adoption is only determined as the best option once a “return home” plan is not possible.
At SOS Illinois, we work diligently to ensure that the siblings in our care find stability in “forever homes” through reunification, independence, or adoption. When adoption is the best option available, we strive to ensure that the sibling groups we serve are placed in a home together, allowing the sibling bond to remain intact.
If we think back to Blog #4 written earlier this year, we remind ourselves of our discussion about the evolution of permanency in foster care. The way in which the child welfare industry now defines a safe and permanent home continues to change. This means the idea of what a “forever home” is also will continue to evolve. Organizations working with children in foster care, like SOS Illinois, must make ongoing and necessary adjustments to ensure children achieve their permanency goals. Still an important piece to permanency for many youth in care is the option of adoption. Again, preserving families is the highest priority, and so adoption becomes the best option once returning home to a birth parent or a kinship placement is not possible.
As our Child Welfare Specialists and Licensing Department work hard to determine qualified candidates for those children eligible for adoptions, they find one of the largest hurdles is that the process can be lengthy. In fact, individuals looking to adopt from foster care must first become a foster parent. In addition to this and the facts shared above, we want to shed light on a few unfounded myths about adopting a child from foster care that also seemed to serve as impediments in the adoption process.
We share again that more than 5,000 children in foster care were adopted in 2019 and able to celebrate receiving their ‘’forever homes.” A 2019 survey found that approximately one-quarter (24 percent or over eight million people) of Americans say that they have considered—or are currently considering—adoption. Viewing it mathematically, if 1 in 500 adults adopted a child in foster care, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family. No one knows how many people may decide not to adopt a child in foster care due to the myths surrounding foster care adoptions, here we share six common myths.
If you missed previous posts in our Did You Know?: Blog Series, we are sharing them here, so you can enjoy, while learning more about SOS Illinois – Blog #1 – History of SOS, Blog #2 – Founding of Lockport Village, Blog #3 – Celebrating Siblings, Blog #4 – Evolution of Permanency, Blog #5 – The 5th Pillar, Blog #6 – Sustainable Features, Blog #7 – Goya Foods Learning Kitchen, Blog # 8 – The Village Difference, Blog #9 – The Importance of Clinical Services, and Blog #10 – Our Homes the Center of Stability.