Difference Between Foster and Adopt (With Table)

We can unanimously agree that giving birth to a life is nothing short of a miracle, but isn’t it heartbreaking when the new life that comes to the world has no one to welcome it? To ensure that every innocent life has someone to love them even when their parents cannot be there for them or have deserted them, we have various programs such as adoption and foster care.

Foster vs Adopt

The difference between Foster and Adopt is that while the first term implies that a child whose parents are unable to perform any parent-like duties has been welcomed by a different family to reside with them for a limited period, the latter means that a child is taken in by a biologically unrelated family.

‘Foster’ is a term that denotes that a child does not have his parents to provide for him as they are both unfit as per the law to rear a child without harming the child’s upbringing and therefore, is assigned a family by the child-care services with whom the child resides for a limited period.

On the other hand, ‘Adopt’ connotes the scenario where a child is welcomed into the house and lives of a biologically unrelated family. This family then provides for the child as if it were their own. All the responsibilities that a parent is expected to perform have to be performed by them.

Comparison Table Between Foster and Adopt

Parameters of ComparisonFosterAdopt
MeaningA child is taken in by a family for a limited timeA child is taken in by a biologically unrelated family forever
Duration of stayThe child stays with the family as long as the child-care services deem fit or as espoused by the lawsThe child is taken in by the family forever
Geographical scopeThe child has to be in the same state as that of his parent/sNo geographical barriers
RolesAn imminent role is played by the Child-care services at every stepThe Child-care Services along with the Court plays a crucial role in deciding whether or not a family is fit to adopt
Family’s ResponsibilitiesTo ensure a conducive environment for the child but they do not have a say in the personal matters of the childThey take on the complete responsibilities of parents and have a say in making decisions for the child

What is Foster?

Foster, as the term in its grammatical sense implies, is to care or provide for someone. In terms of fostering a child, the term signifies the process by which a child whose parents are unfit as per the law to rear the child is taken in by a biologically unrelated family for a limited period. This family then is tasked with the responsibility of creating a friendly and suitable environment for the child.

The concept sounds blissful as it involves looking after an innocent child who does not have the fortune of being bread by his/her parents. This unfortunate circumstance unfurls when the child’s parent is too reckless for and uninvolved in the child’s affairs, but there’s more to it, the parent also engages in activities that can mold a child’s impressionable mind in an unhealthy manner. In other words, the presence of the parents in the child’s life will only leave the child with scarred memories of destructive ideas.

Furthermore, in this system of child-care, the families cannot keep a child with them indefinitely. They will be frequently visited by an authority which belongs to the child-care services, which will maintain reports on the nature of the behavior that the family extends towards the child by taking their statements, and based on the report, the child will either be removed from their house immediately due to negative reports or will live with them until the legalized period, and will them to assign a new family.

What is Adopt?

In this system of child-care service, a child is taken in by a biologically unrelated family forever as if the child was their own. This family will have to rear the child without discriminating against him on any parameter.

There is a cumbersome plethora of legal barriers that one has to pass before adopting a child. Furthermore, certain countries have legal limits on the ages of the child and the single adoptive mother or father. They mandatorily have to be certain years apart.

Because of the tediousness of the process, many couples lose the will to finally adopt and go ahead with other less demotivating methods.

The willing parents will have to fill out details about themselves, and after going through the forms, if the child-services authorities are convinced that they are able enough to rear a child, then they will be selected for an interview. Sometimes the mother of the child wishes to give the child for adoption. In those events, the mother can interview the prospective parents personally and choose them to take in her child. The matter will then be taken ahead by the Court, and once it deems the family fit enough, the child can be taken in by the family.

Main Differences Between Foster and Adopt

  1. While in ‘foster,’ a child is taken in by a family for a limited period. In ‘adopt,’ a child is taken in by a biologically unrelated family forever.
  2. In foster, the child stays with the family as long as the child-care services deem fit or as espoused by the laws. Whereas in adoption, the child is taken in by the family forever, and the family will have to rear the child as if he was their own without discriminating against him in any manner.
  3. In foster, the law mandates that the child cannot leave the perimeters of the State in which the parent/s reside, and therefore, the family will have to be in that very State. On the other hand, in adoption, the law has not prescribed any geographical limits as long as the Court finds the parents fit to rear a child.
  4. In foster, the Court has a less frequent role to play, whereas, in the latter, the Court is the most crucial player.
  5. Where in foster, the extent of the responsibilities of the family is to ensure a conducive environment for the child, but they do not have a say in the personal affairs of the child. In adoption, the adoptive parents take on the complete responsibilities of parents and have a say in making decisions for the child.

Conclusion

Those who are blessed cannot think of a life devoid of their parents, but there are unfortunates in plentitudes who have to come of age without ever living under the comforting wings of their mother and father. Their parents are either dead or are in a position that the law describes as unfit to rear children and are, therefore, left to struggle to find something that we take for granted- the bond of a family!

Two programs that afford the much-needed ray of hope to these desperate children are foster and adoption. Though the two were introduced to benefit a child without a safe shelter and livelihood, they are both different. While the first term implies that a child whose parents are unable to perform any parent-like duties has been welcomed by a different family to reside with them for a limited period, the latter means that a child is taken in by a biologically unrelated family.

References

  1. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2v4528cx
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10560-010-0192-y
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