Story and photo by FLOR OLIVO
For parents expecting to adopt the process can be long and expensive, making alternative options that can cut down costs attractive.
With agencies claiming to help and facilitate the process and couples desperate to parent, high emotions can cloud judgment. In Utah, where fraud is a common problem, the adoption realm has not remained immune to the trend. Agencies like Adoption.org and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation provide checklists to aid those interested in adopting.
For some parents the idea of paying large amounts of money creates a moral dilemma.
“We didn’t want to feel like we were buying a baby so we ended up doing a non-conventional private adoption,” Diana Olson said.
When they decided to adopt they told a couple friends and family, visited some agencies and paid one for their services. They were quickly disillusioned with the traditional methods. Instead, they began telling those around them about their desire to adopt, relying on word of mouth. One day they got the call. They would soon be parents. “The process was inexpensive and smooth from there,” Olson said.
Many adoptive parents are not as fortunate as the Olson’s, paying thousands into scams or waiting for years to get the opportunity to parent.
The Utah Foster Care System provides an inexpensive alternative. The process according to Cesar Mendoza, a former foster parent is very simple.
The Utah Department of Child Services has an open invite to expectant parents. According to AdoptUSKids.com, a cooperative agreement with the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children & Families, and the Department of Health & Human Services, on any given day in the state of Utah there are 2,100 to 2,600 children in state custody and guardianship. On average 13 to 18 percent of those children will not be able to return to their families, and will need a permanent home.
In the United States, the numbers are magnified to 424,000 children in the system and 115,000 waiting for adoption.
Expectant parents and children waiting for a forever home make an ideal combination. Although officials say there are set backs through this process, such as behavior problems or adjustment issues, they parallel those experienced through private adoption agencies. There are resources, parent groups and parent networks that have been set up to serve as a support system for the foster parent community.
Another benefit, the cost that can often reach the thousands through private adoption is significantly reduced with the choice to foster parent first. Foster parent agencies provide health care and pay the parent a basic expense stipend each month to cover the additional costs of foster parenting.
The foster care process begins with an initial consultation. More information can be found at Utah Foster Care Network website, Utah Department of Human Services, Utah’s Child and Family Services Adoption Connection and through the US Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway website.