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Becoming a Parent Through Foster Care Adoption

Have you thought about foster care adoption?

Did you know there are 100,000 kids in the foster care system waiting to be adopted and that 20,000 of those kids are likely to age out without finding a family? Did you know that nearly 40% of those children identify as LGBT? Here’s what LGBT foster parents should know about helping LGBT foster children.

LGBT foster parents and children

If you’re interested in adopting children, providing a safe, supportive home for a foster child, LGBT or otherwise, is one of the greatest gifts you can give. The foster care system is welcoming to the LGBT community, encouraging any adult with the potential to offer a loving family.

Jillian Johnsrud is the creator of Montana Money Adventures, an online platform that helps people custom build a lifestyle that reflects their values, passion and purpose. She also happens to be the mother of six children, four of whom were adopted through the foster care system. Remarkably, Jillian and her husband adopted their first foster child when she was only 22-years-old. Since then, she has had two biological children and adopted a sibling group through the foster system.

Today, Jillian joins us to share her passion for helping foster kids, discussing what LGBT foster parents should know, the expenses associated with foster care adoption and the potential to foster or adopt LGBT kids specifically. Jillian explains the process of becoming a foster parent and the key differences between foster care and private adoption. Jillian offers insight around the challenges of working with birth parents and what it means to foster kids with ‘high needs.’

Hear about LGBT foster parents and LGBT foster kids:

Topics covered on LGBT foster parents

Jillian’s passion for helping foster kids

  • A loving family = greatest gift can give

The challenges around placing LGBT kids

  • Need for supportive community

What it’s like to be a foster parent

  • Kids dealing with trauma, neglect and abuse
  • Amazing to watch them become who meant to be

The technical side of being a foster parent

  • Training class
  • Home study

The difference between foster care and private adoption

  • Private—infants, mother plans to give up a child
  • Foster—removed from birth parents (not their decision)

The expenses associated with foster care adoption

  • State tries to make as low-friction as possible
  • Cost of home study, training and licensing covered
  • Average of $1K, otherwise like biological kids

The other expenses that may be covered by the state

  • Usually, provide healthcare to age 18
  • Small stipend to offset groceries, gas

The skills you need to adopt a foster child

  • Open to learning
  • Empathetic to trauma, abuse

How you can support foster kids without adopting

  • Short-term, emergency respite placement
  • Pair with other families to watch in emergency

The challenges of working with birth parents

  • Shame around having kids removed
  • ALL want what’s best for kids

The foster children with high needs

  • Any kids that are difficult to place
  • Includes sibling groups, different race
  • Educational delays, behavior issues and medical needs

The potential to foster or adopt LGBT kids

  • Caseworker builds file with needs, unique challenges
  • LGBT kids considered high needs in most states
  • Try to match with supportive family and community

The LGBT foster care adoption experience in red states

  • Foster system open-minded to any safe, loving home
  • May experience discrimination from subcontractors

Jillian’s advice to potential adoptive parents

  • Call and get started with a long process
  • See if a good fit for you

Other ways to help foster kids

  • Sign up to be a court-appointed advocate
  • Support, encourage potential foster parents
  • Donate to organizations like Help Us Adopt

Connect with Jillian about LGBT foster parents

Resources for LGBT foster parents

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