What is the difference between Foster Care and Adoption?

Pregnant and afraid

Adoption & foster care both involve out-of-home placement for a child but they are very different. 

Foster care is the removal of a child from their home by Child Protective Services. Due to safety concerns, the child is placed in the house of another caregiver or family member. Foster care has the possibility of reuniting the family but it is not permanent. Child Protective Services runs your State foster care program.

Adoption, on the other hand, is when a birth parent transfers their parental rights, to adoptive parents of their choice, for the well-being of the child. This is a permanent decision that the birth parent has control over. Birth parents are the ones who make an adoption plan for their baby


When a child goes into foster care, the parent does not have say in this process. When the baby is taken, who takes the baby, where the baby will go. Parents do, however, have the choice to work with the State in an attempt to regain custody. If a parent chooses adoption at any time before the baby is taken by CPS, she can then work with her pregnancy counselor. This lets her decide how the baby is picked up from the hospital, what adoptive home the baby goes to.  

If you think Child Protective Services may place your child in foster care, it does not mean that you need to place your baby for adoption. It is important that you are counseled on all of your options. Feel empowered to make the right choice for you and your baby. Our pregnancy counselors are trained in helping you process your options with all information available, so you can feel confident about your choice. 

If you are pregnant and considering adoption or foster care for your baby, talk with a pregnancy counselor who can help you gather all the information you need. We can help you, whether you just found out you need unplanned pregnancy options or you had your baby and are considering a last minute adoption plan instead of foster care.

When you find out you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, choices & Having support are important!

If you would like to meet with a Pregnancy Counselor, reach out through our  24/7 FREE, HOTLINE! Live chat, text, or phone at 1-800-875-5595.  You can submit a request  for one of our Pregnancy Counselors to reach out to you. 

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