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Foster Care vs. Adoption in Texas [A Comparison]

The Pros and Cons of Fostering and Adopting

If you are considering growing your family, foster care and adoption can both take you closer to fulfilling that dream. But, there are major differences between the two.

What is Foster Care vs. Adoption in Texas?

Foster care and adoption both involve a child transitioning care from their birth family to another family (either a foster family or adoptive family). The main difference between foster care and adoption in Texas is that foster care is meant to provide children with a temporary home and family, while adoption is meant to give a permanent home and family to a child.

If you are interested in adopting, you can get more information through our online form. We will also highlight some of the similarities and differences with fostering below.

Comparing Becoming a Foster Parent vs. Adoption in Texas


  • Both Require a Home Study — Whether you choose to foster or adopt in Texas, you will almost certainly complete a home study.
  • Each Option Takes Time — If you decide to foster or adopt a child in Texas, there will almost certainly be a waiting time as you get educated, approved, and find a placement.
  • You are Parenting Full Time — Whether you choose adoption or foster care in Texas, once you have a child who is placed in your care, you will be supporting them 24/7 as long as they are in your care.
  • You Will Need Professional Support — Both fostering and adoption require steps that you will need professional help with, and some of that help will almost always come from a social work professional.


  • Purpose — If you compare foster care versus adoption in Texas, in foster care everyone involved is working towards reuniting the child with their birth parents as a first priority, but that is not the case with adoption.
  • Length of Placement — If you choose to foster vs. adopt in Texas, you are meant as a temporary placement, but if you choose adoption, your placement will be permanent and you will have a child for the rest of your life.
  • How Placements are Decided — When a child is placed in a foster home vs. adoption in Texas, the child is placed by state social services staff. In adoptions, social service workers sometimes place children, but adoptive families are generally chosen by birth parents in private domestic adoptions.
  • Wait Time — There may or may not be a large difference in wait time between foster care and adoption, but in most cases adoption will take longer due to the time it takes to find matches for placements and the required paperwork.
  • Type of Support — Because foster placements are temporary and children in foster care come from hardship situations, children often need more support in foster care, and state services will often help foster parents meet a foster child’s needs. In many adoptions, there is support during the process, but adoptive children often need less extra support over time.

What is Private Adoption vs. Foster Adopt in Texas?

If you choose adoption, you may be choosing between public or private adoption. Public adoptions, also called foster care adoptions, are adoptions that happen through the foster care system. Private adoptions, on the other hand, are adoptions that are matched by non-government adoption agencies.

Private Adoption

If you choose private adoption, you will likely be choosing between international or domestic adoption.

In international adoptions, adoptive children are adopted across international borders and tend to be older.

Domestic adoptions happen within the borders of one country. Most private domestic adoptions are infant adoptions.

Public (or Foster) Adoption

Public adoptions (or foster adoptions) can either be direct adoptions or foster-to-adopt. Children in public adoptions tend to be older.

Foster-to-adopt adoptions happen when a family begins fostering and eventually adopts one of the children that they foster.

In some cases, when birth parent rights are terminated, a child can be adopted directly from foster care by people who are not their foster family. This is called a direct adoption.

The Process of Domestic Infant Adoption vs. Foster to Adopt in Texas

The process of domestic infant adoptions is often predictable, whereas the foster adoption process can be more unpredictable.

Domestic infant adoptions begin when a current or expectant mother contacts an adoption agency that has waiting potential adoptive families. The birth parents find a family that they are excited about, and when the birth is complete, the birth parents and adoptive family complete the legal steps of adoption.

If you adopt from foster care, direct adoptions are usually simpler because in those cases birth parent rights have been terminated by the state. However, the foster-to-adopt process is much more unpredictable.

If you become a foster parent, there is no guarantee that you will ever be able to adopt a child you foster. And in some cases, you may spend months or years bonding with a child only for the child to be reunified with their birth parents permanently or temporarily.

Who Chooses Domestic Adoption vs. Foster Adopt in Texas?

Reasons Why People Choose Private Domestic Adoption

  • They want to bond with and raise a child from the time they are an infant
  • There can be less risk of adoption disruption than if you choose to foster to adopt
  • People who choose domestic adoption can experience more predictable wait times
  • Families find it appealing to be chosen as an adoptive family by a birth parent who is excited about them
  • They may want personalized help from an adoption agency to make sure their adoption goes smoothly
  • Families may want the ability to build a positive open adoption relationship with their child’s birth parents

Reasons Why People Choose Foster Adoption

  • Families that are open to adopting older children, sibling groups, or children with special needs may be able to adopt more quickly
  • People who want to grow their family by multiple children may be able to more easily
  • Families may feel that supporting children temporarily through foster care is worth the risk of being unable to adopt a child they have bonded with
  • They may have had experience with foster care themselves
  • They may want to help children who are in high-risk groups or who have been waiting to be adopted

If you are interested in private domestic adoption, American Adoptions can help.

As a fully licensed, national domestic adoption agency, we can help you with your domestic adoption in the following ways:

  • Minimizing wait time and reducing your chance of adoption disruption
  • Providing accurate estimated wait times for an adoption opportunity that fits your family
  • Supporting birth parents and helping pregnant women facing difficult circumstances through adoption
  • Providing guidance and support for open adoptions, where you can build positive relationships 
  • Helping you create a personalized adoption video profile that can get prospective birth parents excited about you
  • Providing extensive support from a staff with over 30 years of adoption experience
  • Offering  financial protection in case of adoption disruption 


Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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