Foster Care and Adoption: What’s the Difference?

Are you considering putting your baby up for adoption but don’t want them to be in foster care? Adoption and 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. The child is placed into the home of another caregiver or family member, due to safety concerns (abuse, neglect, substance use, etc). Foster care has the possibility of reuniting the family and it is not permanent. Child Protective Services runs your State foster care program, because it is a government-run system. 

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, how much the parent hears about the baby after they are in the foster home, etc. 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 to decide how the baby is picked up from the hospital, what adoptive home the baby goes to, and more.  

Making a Plan

While having a child removed and placed into foster care is very difficult, it is a temporary plan. Birth parents can have time to become stable and, if they follow the steps of the Child Protective Services case plan required of them, they can regain custody of their child. That is the hope and goal of foster care. If a birth parent does not desire to follow that case plan or parent in the future, adoption might be better option to consider when faced with the possibility of foster care.  

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 and 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 to make your decision. We can help you, whether you just found out you need unplanned pregnancy options or you have already had your baby and are considering a last minute adoption plan instead of foster care.

When you find out you’re experiencing unplanned pregnancy, choices are important, as is having support through your process! If you would like to meet with a Pregnancy Counselor, reach out through our  24/7 FREE, HOTLINE  by live chat, text, or phone at 1-800-875-5595.  Or you can submit a request  for one of our Pregnancy Counselors to reach out to you. 

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