Foster Parent Self-Assessment Quiz

Whether you are an older adult or a younger adult, single, or married, a working or a stay-at-home-parent, a home owner or renter, adoption or foster care may be a good option for you. The questionnaire below will help you determine if foster or adopting is the best choice for you now. If you answer Yes to the statements below, you are ready to begin the process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent.

I am 21 years old or older
Foster/adoptive parents must be 21 years old or older; single or legally married and must have a valid driver’s license (you may be divorced or widowed).

Am I in good health?
Being a parent can be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for foster/adoptive children. All those living in your home must have a health statement completed by a physician showing that you are free of communicable diseases.

My home is safe
During the home study, a safety inspection of your home will be conducted. You must have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.

I am open to working with children who have moderate behaviors
Many children have experienced trauma and loss and can react by running away, stealing, lying, or with physical and verbal aggression.

I am open to working with biological families
Typically, foster-to-adopt children have visits with their biological siblings, biological parents, and relatives. Sometimes foster parents may need to supervise visits.

I have not had a case of child abuse or neglect
All potential foster/adoptive parents are required to submit to background checks prior to certification including other states where an applicant has resided.

I have adequate income
You do not have to be wealthy to become a foster/adoptive parent. However, you must have enough income to meet your own family’s needs and be able to demonstrate that you can financially support an additional child for up to 6 weeks without financial reimbursement. During the certification process you will be asked to provide proof of income and to review family expenses.

I am able to attend training
Foster/adoptive parents must complete training and all required paper work. Parents must commit to continuing training and workshops. Additional training is important to making the relationship a success.

No adult in my home has been convicted of a crime
If you or any adult living in your home has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, you cannot become a foster/adoptive parent. Each adult member in your household over age 18 will be fingerprinted.

I am ready to begin a home study now
You are ready to begin the home study if your life and home are stable. “Stable” means that you are not about to move and are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties or making any major life changes in the near future.

Who can I talk to about the next steps?
You can contact us at 323-417-1440 or email us to find out about becoming a foster parent.

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When husbands Robert and Tony, (pictured above in photo by chrisjamesmedia.com), began researching their family building options, they quickly began to feel a little overwhelmed by all of their options. In addition, the men had their concerns about whether they would even be welcomed to build a family. Then a friend suggested they consider fostering to adopt and put them touch with The Village Family Services, a RaiseAChild partner agency located on North Hollywood.

“The Village Family Services staff made us feel very comfortable from the very beginning,” explained Robert. “The agency had no issues with us being a gay couple and we trusted them with making the biggest decision of our lives.” According to Tony, “It would be difficult to imagine going through the family building process any other way. The best part is there is no cost for their services, but the rewards have been tremendous.”

Cristina Bostanian-Quezada, Adoptions Program Manager at The Village Family Services explained, “Our goal is to meet the critical needs of children throughout Southern California. There are over 13,000 children in our foster care system that are waiting for a forever family. Our job is to assist in creating families to nurture and heal these kids.”

Continue reading Preconceived Notions Disappeared for these Foster Parents

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In the backyard, Jackson is putting the finishing touches on his army fort made of sticks and leaves while his brother, Peyton, sits nearby flipping through his new favorite book. Dad keeps an eye on his kids through the kitchen window as he is preparing dinner. A typical evening in a suburban New Jersey town.

In 2017, each family is unique in its structure and its beginning, and for the Edge household, it all started on a spring day in Iowa in 2002. Daniel was in veterinary medical school in Ames and had just met a guy online, gone on a few dates, and soon he and A.J. began dreaming of their future together.

“During our first year of dating, a lot of our early conversations were about kids,” Daniel revealed. “We both had a desire to be Dads, and A.J. was pretty adamant about only wanting one child. But life often has other plans, and it is a pretty great story on how we became the parents of our two boys.”

That story really starts in 2005, when in anticipation for starting their family, A.J. legally changed his name and took Daniels’ last name, Edge. According to A.J., “It was four years before we could legally marry in Iowa, and we reasoned that when we adopted a child it would be easier if we all had the same name. That was the first step in our journey to become a family.” The two would eventually marry in 2009.

Continue reading These Two Dads Would, “do whatever it takes to build our family.”

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Since founding RaiseAChild, I have had the great fortune to travel our nation to meet and speak with thousands of LGBT people curious about becoming foster and adoptive parents. Over these five years, I have learned to anticipate a list of common questions about building a family through the foster and adoption process. I do my best to correct myths and provide truths about the three most common questions involving the costs, the risks, and the children. However, it is the more private questions and concerns that some LGBT people hold back that I want most to address.

Ten years ago, the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law published research showing that 50 percent of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians wanted to raise a child. The study went on to estimate that two million GLB people were interested in adopting. So today, with the number of children in the nation’s foster care system growing to 425,000, a continuing upward trend over the past three years, the RaiseAChild team constantly challenges ourselves to improve methods to encourage and support more people in our LGBT community to build more families for these children.

Continue reading What’s Keeping You From Becoming an LBGT Parent?

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In this installment, RaiseAChild Founder and CEO, Rich Valenza, interviews two dads who dream of expanding their family.

Richard Avila-Winburn: I grew up in a pretty small family, just me and my sister. But I have a lot of cousins, uncles and aunts. I always knew I wanted a bigger family. At the time, I didn’t know how to make that happen as a gay man, but I definitely wanted to go in that direction.

Jason Avila-Winburn: I’ve always wanted a big family. I come from a large family myself. My mom had seven children, six boys and a girl. Then I have two step sisters that lived with us several months out of the year. There was usually about nine kids, if not more at my house. The more the merrier. So growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be a dad, I wanted a big ole house with a bunch of kids.

Rich Valenza: When I think about raising kids, it can seem like a huge task and responsibility. On the other hand, it all seems to come naturally too. What are your thoughts on being a parent?

Richard: I’m not going to lie to you, it was pretty tough when our son, Jackson, first arrived at our home. He was just a five-month old baby and he cried for what seemed like three days straight! Those first few days that he was with us, I was real close to saying, “I can’t do this.” I think Jason was stronger than I was. He’s been around kids a lot more than me because he is a school teacher. For me, it was more difficult to get adjusted. I felt such a responsibility to this baby. Because he was a foster kid, I had to make sure that I crossed all of our t’s and dotted all of our i’s. I was extra careful. I recorded everything. The kid pooped, I wrote it down. I probably went a little overboard the first couple of months. It all paid off. We got to adopt our son.

Continue reading Parenthood Brings These Dads Closer Each Day

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A family can have its start just about anywhere, for Kama Kaina and Mat Rivera it was the New Orleans airport. Both were there on vacation and Mat was returning to San Diego, while Kama, who was originally from Hawaii and was going to his home in Los Angeles. The terminal was packed and Mat offered Kama his seat. The two struck up a conversation and Kama tore his ticket in half to get Mat’s phone number. They texted each other on the flights home and have been together ever since.

Just like their chance meeting, building a family has its surprises as well. Before it happens, you never know exactly how it will happen or the impact it will have on your life. Kama and Mat Kaina-Rivera had their initial home evaluation through the foster family agency, Penny Lane Centers, and were granted their foster care license on November 4th, 2014. They were prepared to wait for a call about available siblings that needed a home. So they were shocked when the social worker called just one month later with the prospect of a boy named Jeremy that was a ward of the state and looking for placement. Ironically, Jeremy had been born on the same day they got their license, November 4th.

Continue reading How One Good Deed Led To Building This Beautiful Family

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Depending on who is asked, Shaun and Kurt met through mutual friends. That’s Kurt’s abbreviated story. Shaun filled in the much more romantic details and said, for him, it was love at first sight.

“Kurt had a housewarming party in 2007 and invited a group of friends,” Shaun explained. “I was dating one of those guys and that’s how I ended up at Kurt’s party. We didn’t date very long after that.”

The two had a small ceremony in 2012 with family and friends. A year later, they celebrated with a larger wedding/anniversary party.

The topic of fatherhood and family was always at the forefront after Kurt and Shaun Oaklee were married.

According to Kurt, “I always wanted to be a Dad. I was a suburban kid living a white picket fence life. As I got older and came to terms with my sexuality, I often wondered if fatherhood would be in the cards for me.”

Continue reading Marriage Changed These Two Men’s View On Creating A Family

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