Considering Adopting or Fostering a Child?

Expert advice about what to expect

man with child

Are you considering adopting a child or becoming a foster parent? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are over 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system who need a permanent family. There are also thousands of children abroad who need a loving home.

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Pediatrician Elaine Schulte, MD, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, says adoptive and foster parents may experience some challenges, but it’s important for them to approach this responsibility with an open heart and mind.

“I think people considering becoming foster or adoptive parents need to understand that any child entering their home will have some history that nobody is really going to be aware of, so they need to be flexible and open,” she says.

Experts agree that adoption into a supportive home helps children develop. Recent research focused on high-risk foster children found that children who were adopted, whether by heterosexual or same-sex parents, made positive strides mentally and socially.

Children simply do better with loving parents taking care of them, Dr. Schulte says.

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When it comes to international adoptions, which can be more complex, some parents opt for a pre-adoption consultation.

“I believe that pre-adoption consultations best prepare parents for the unique challenges and joys of international adoption,” says Dr. Schulte, who heads the MyConsult PAC Program, a pre-adoption program at Cleveland Clinic.

During these consultations, Dr. Schulte  reviews the child’s medical records, assesses the child’s growth and outlines the expectations of the child’s development and behavior.

More information

International Adoption Program

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Is International Adoption Right for You?

International Adoption Guide

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