View Full Version : The adoption system in the US

04-03-2008, 12:17 PM
I have never been to an orphanage or foster home in the US, so I'm not really familiar with the system there.

Are there still many orphanages in the US these days? If not, how are foster homes like? What about group homes? How exactly does the system work - does a foster parent simply act as a temporary caretaker, or are they usually eyeing on adopting the child long-term? Are foster homes institutionalized, or are they just like normal family homes?

Thanks all!

Jenan Mac
04-03-2008, 08:27 PM
I'm not exactly an expert, but I know Florida relies heavily on foster care. When I tried to adopt through Children's Services a few years ago, they insisted I take the foster care classes and foster, then adopt, the child in question.
They also try hard not to sever parental rights, even if it's a losing battle, which is why I ended up not adopting.

Kathie Freeman
04-03-2008, 08:30 PM
Orphanages are a thing of the past in the US. Children are placed in group homes (usually privately run but with govt money) or foster homes. A foster home can take any where from one child to half a dozen, depending on their available space and resources. They receive govt. funds, but usually not enough to cover all expenses. Some are looking to adopt, others do it as a way to contribute to the community, still others, hopefully a minority, are in it for the money. These are the ones that often end up on the news for abuse, neglect, etc. In some states the children are allowed to stay in a single home until they are reclaimed by the biolgical parents, or are adopted, or "age out". Other states make a practice of moving the kids around every year or so in order to keep them and the foster parents from getting too attached to each other. A good foster home is a loving family, often with natural kids of ther own, and in the best cases the foster kids and parents keep in touch with each other even after they have "aged out".

04-03-2008, 08:44 PM
Foster homes are usually just normal family homes. Sometimes the foster parent intends on adopting, but usually they act only as a temporary guardian. I had a foster mother for three months as a baby and from what I understand, she cared for one child at a time, typically newborn babies awaiting a placement that was in process. I have no memory of her, but she did make me a quilt, which I still have.

Here in NY, it is required that the foster child has his or her own bedroom. I'm sure there are group homes, but I don't know anything about them.

04-03-2008, 09:31 PM
The orphanage system has greatly changed but some of the larger few remaining children's homes today are:




These links may give some of the information that the original poster needs!

04-03-2008, 09:50 PM
I was adopted as an infant. I did, apparently, spend my first three months of life at an orphanage. Once upon a time, I couldn't get any verification of that. The orphanage was gone and the authorities were unequivocably NOT providing adoption information to adoptees. I did, however, find some information among my mother's papers after she passed away. Although I was given to my adoptive parents at the age of three months, they didn't legally adopt me until I was 12 months old. It cost them $27.50 for an attorney to present the adoption papers to the court.

My mother also told me once that they had ascertained that their were no genetic problems in the family I came from -- which led me to believe that my adoption was a favor to someone. I've always had a suspicion about one of my dad's younger sisters, but I can't prove it. Nor do I wish to. My real parents are the ones who raised me. My natural parents are the ones who gave me up. I'm content to be exactly what I was raised to be, and my parents were the type to encourage every single academic choice I made.

I know that's not much, but I hope it helps in some aspect. :)

04-03-2008, 11:50 PM
Some churches operate foster homes. There are some who house the expectant mothers until their babies are born. There are some that take only younger kids, and then there are some who take any age under eighteen.

The one where I worked as a houseparent had four homes, two for girls and two for boys. Each home housed up to eight kids, two to a room, two rooms to a bathroom. The kids' rooms were a separate wing, and then there was the common area, and the houseparents had a separate wing for themselves and relief parents.

Some of these kids are actually orphans, but many are kids who can't live at home for whatever reason.

I guess private foster homes differ from state to state, but in all of the states where I've fostered, they've been pretty standard as far as space for each child. They can share a bedroom, but there needs to be so much square footage per child, and boys and girls can only share rooms up to a certain age. Unless, of course, there is an emergency and they have several children that need temporary housing, then about anything goes. I've had a sibling group sleeping in my living room before, but only for the weekend.

All states have minimum guidelines, and some are extremely difficult to keep up with - so many hours of additional training per year, housing standards, fences, etc. Part of it depends on your inspector, and some of it depends on your worker. Some are better than others.

If I can help further, PM me.

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-04-2008, 11:01 PM
I have never been to an orphanage or foster home in the US, so I'm not really familiar with the system there.

It varies a bit from state to state, but there are few true "orphanages" of the Little Orphan Annie kind.

Foster homes, as described, can be for one or more children, with conditions ranging from excellent to abominable.

does a foster parent simply act as a temporary caretaker SOME
or are they usually eyeing on adopting the child long-term? SOME
Are foster homes institutionalized, SOME
or are they just like normal family homes SOME

My older sister was an "emergency infant caretaker": if somethig happened to the parents and the cops or CPS had an infant to deal with, she would take the baby for up to a week until they could locate relatives or the emergency was over. Officially, the child was "in the custody of CPS" but in reality it was in a private home supervised by CPS.
(CPS= Children's Protective Services)