It is a common myth that children are in foster care because they are “bad” kids or, in the case of older kids, juvenile delinquents. This is not true.
Kids are in foster care due to abuse or neglect. Either their parent(s) have treated them poorly or failed to care for them properly. These are very sad cases. When the system works, parents are able to learn from their mistakes and become the parent they need to be for their child. When they cannot or will not make the changes necessary, then their parental rights are terminated. Since each case is unique, individual plans are made to pursue reunification or termination based on the child and birth parent’s circumstances. An average case takes one to one and a half years to be completed with either reunification or adoption being the end goal.
A question that I asked at one of our training sessions was, “Are kids ever removed from the home due to poverty?” After watching the movie, God Bless This Child, we are terribly cautious of such a circumstance. We do not believe that being poor is a reason for a child to be adopted. I think we often believe as Americans that money solves problems when in reality we know that is not true. I recently listened to a fairly disturbing but interesting This American Life episode about an international adoption gone wrong. And when I hear stories like this, it makes me believe that we are very confused about what makes a good home: being rich or having loving parents? Families in poverty can still be loving families. In such cases, we (the church) should be helping these family’s in their poverty but adopting their children is not the answer.