Adoption is one step in the long and joyous journey of being a permanent parent.
In our world, the turning point in a youth and a parent’s journey together is when both decide that they are part of a “forever family” – a relationship that is an unconditional, lifetime commitment. This step might happen fairly early in the relationship between parents and the youth, even while the youth is in foster care and not yet released for adoption. This is why it is important to distinguish that legal adoption is not always the determining factor in building forever families.
Legal adoption is the process by which the state recognizes the relationship between children and parents who care for them but who did not biologically create them. Since this type of recognition has legal, economic and other repercussions, legal adoption is an important goal, even for older youth.
But many young people are not even in the legal position to be adopted. And after a lifetime of loss as a result of the separation from family and their time in ‘the system’, many youth say they don’t want to be adopted. That doesn’t mean they don’t want the safety and security of a lifetime family. So we work with any young person that is at risk of leaving the foster care system alone and we prepare all of our families to make an unconditional, lifetime commitment to a child regardless of legal status. We call this “moral adoption”.