A time might come when you want to have a child. However, you may not be able to conceive through conventional means. If so, you might want to look into fostering a child or adopting one.

These two concepts are not quite the same. We will talk about each one in the following article. We’ll go over how they’re different and talk about a time when each one might be ideal for your situation.

What is Foster Care?

Foster care and adoption aren’t the same thing, though they share some commonalities. With foster care, you’re taking care of a child temporarily. This child might be available for you to adopt if you decide that you want to move in that direction.

Children enter the foster care system for different reasons. Some of them come from homes where the adults have struggled with mental health issues. Other times, the adults may have severe drug problems.

It could be that a child enters the foster care system because their parents die, and there are no other relatives who are able or willing to care for them. These children stay at government-run facilities, or private ones sometimes exist as well.

If you take care of a child through the foster care system, you will get a modest stipend to help with that. You can often find children of all different ages in the system. You can find infants sometimes, teenagers, or anything in between.

If you want to foster a child, the government will look at your living situation to decide if it makes sense for you to take on that responsibility. Child welfare services will look at whether you have a job and what kind of environment you can provide for the child while they’re under your roof.

It’s also possible for you to care for more than one foster child at a time. Some families will take on several of them at once. If you’re a caring individual, and you feel like you have the time to dedicate to a child or children, this could be an option for you.

You also don’t necessarily need to not have any biological children to foster one. You might have several kids of your own, but you still want to help a child in the system.

What is Adoption?

If you adopt a child, you agree to care for them as though they were your own for the rest of the time the state considers them a minor. In most cases, that means you have to care for the child till they turn eighteen.

At that point, they’re legally an adult, and they will probably move out of your house. However, you still have a lifelong tie to them. They will consider you to be their parent, and you will feel a bond with them as well.

Adoption isn’t something to pursue thoughtlessly. You should be sure that you can care for this child and that you have the time, energy, and love to do that.

You’ll need to keep in mind that some of the children you could adopt come from challenging backgrounds. They might not latch onto you immediately, especially if they’ve been in the foster system for years. They may have had poor experiences with previous caretakers.

If you’re patient with them, though, they might start to open up to you as time passes. If you show them that you remain dedicated to helping them, they should eventually respond to that.

Which is the Better Option?

Some adults who like raising children will have many foster kids come through their home throughout the years. They might not ever want to make the deeper commitment of adopting them, though.

If you adopt a child, that’s more permanent. You might regard the foster system as an adoption trial. 

You get to live with a child and see if you connect with them. If you don’t, though, they can always go back to a government or privately-run facility.

It’s often helpful to try fostering a child before you consider adoption. That way, you will get a sense of each other and try to figure out if you can make it work as family members.

Either adoption or fostering are socially responsible things to do. You can truly help a child if you do them. The situation can help you as well if you feel lonely or you find that you can’t conceive through traditional means.