Discernment Quiz: 6 Questions for Clarity

Are YOU called to foster or adopt? Take our discernment quiz!

If you have been wondering if you are called to foster or adopt, try answering the questions below!

Some of your answers may not give you the results you were hoping for; don’t consider any of these details about fostering or adoption a “No!” to your call! Single parents foster and adopt; a couple can make room in a tiny apartment for a new child; families that otherwise wouldn’t have the means can fundraise in order to adopt. Please also keep in mind that laws and policies surrounding adoption and fostering vary by state; while we have tried to provide the most accurate details possible, you will want to do some research on your own to determine what guidelines apply where you are.

We hope the information provided will help you in your discernment process, give you a fun way to consider your different options, and maybe teach you some things you didn’t know about fostering and adopting along the way!

Discernment Quiz - 6 questions for clarity

1. How would you describe your family?

a. My spouse and I already have a child (or several!) at home.
b. We are empty nesters and have been thinking about possibly fostering or adopting.
c. My spouse and I have not been able to conceive and are interested in growing our family.
d. I am not married but feel called to parenthood.

While most agencies do not require you to be married to foster or adopt, most parents would agree that being in a solid marriage, where both parties are equally committed to parenting, makes it MUCH easier. 

If you answered A or B, you already have parenting experience, so you may be ready to handle a more challenging placement or sibling group. If you already have children at home, you will likely want to foster or adopt children younger than your youngest child. 

If you are an empty nester (B) and are wondering if you have the energy to jump into fostering or adopting, you might consider starting as a respite provider who takes children temporarily for emergency placements or to give a foster family a break. It is possible to develop an ongoing relationship with a foster family, so that you become like foster “grandparents” for the children in their care. These relationships are enriching and grounding for a child who might not have good relationships with extended family.

If you answered C, you might want to check out the community at our sister site, Springs in the Desert, to help you process any grief you or your spouse might be experiencing in your struggle with infertility. Working through grief over infertility can help you see fostering or adoption in a new light. As contributor Lori D. writes, “The Lord was cultivating a new reality for our family life, the reality He designed all along. Adoption was not our Plan B; it was our Plan A!” You might also want to also check out our “10 Steps to Adoption” for some first steps. 

If you answered D, you also might consider starting out as a respite care provider. You can provide a safe and loving space for kids in foster care, but on a short-term basis: just a few days at a time, giving foster families a much needed break. Once you have a good sense of single parenthood, you will be better able to discern long-term parenting options.  Having a strong community of support makes all the difference to any parent and a single person may have to be especially intentional about building up that support network while considering fostering or adoption. 

2. In terms of finances, I would say…

a. we aren’t financially stable at the moment, but understand that there is money provided to families and individuals who foster.
b. we have a steady income and make our payments on time, but don’t have a lot of extra money lying around.
c. we are financially stable and have money saved that we would put toward a child.

If you answered A, most foster and adoptive agencies will require you to be financially stable before allowing you to foster or adopt. Even though states provide stipends to foster families, this money is intended to be used toward the care of the child (for food, clothes, and other needs) rather than as a payment to the foster family. The amount provided per child varies by state, and can also vary based on a child’s needs. Children with greater needs may be eligible for higher rates. Most children who have been adopted from foster care are eligible for Medicaid, and many are eligible for an adoption subsidy that can continue, depending on the state, until the child is 21. If instead of pursuing a foster-to-adopt placement, a couple chooses to adopt through an agency or attorney, it is still possible to organize fundraisers to meet the financial requirements. Families who adopt are also eligible to receive the federal adoption tax credit which has ranged from $14,890-$16,810 in the past three years. On top of that, many states offer additional tax credits for adoptions.

If you answered B or C, then you would be eligible to become a foster parent, and could pursue the path of fostering to adopt. Many states continue to provide some benefits to foster children, such as health care, even after they have been adopted (see answer A).

If you answered C, then you could also consider adopting through an agency or attorney. If you go this route, you can expect to pay $20,000-$60,000. Those figures may be shocking right off the bat, but remember there are many expenses involved in adoption, including attorney and court fees; birth mother medical expenses, counseling, and support; homestudy fees; training for the parents; social work services; agency fees and more. All adoptions cost money. In the case of foster to adopt, these expenses are paid for by the state; in the case of private adoptions, these expenses are paid for by the adoptive parents.

God’s will can be surprising – if He is truly calling you to adopt, He will also help you find the way!

3. Look around your home. What do you see?

a. I could easily make space for a child in my home.
b. I could make space for a child in my home, but I only rent and don’t own a house.
c. I can’t picture a kid fitting into my space right now.

If you answered A or B, then you could be a great candidate for fostering or adopting! Foster and adoption agencies will do a home study to make sure your space is safe and ready for a child, but they do not have a preference as to whether you own or rent your place. Apartments and houses are also both equally viable options for your family. 

If you answered C, then you might not be ready to foster or adopt just yet; but if it is still something that interests you, you can start considering how your space might change to fit a child. Working toward becoming a respite care provider might be a great option for you, and completing a home study will provide you the opportunity to learn the requirements for a child in your space. 

4. In terms of my weekly schedule, I…

a. have raised kids at home and know how much time and energy it takes.
b. have not raised kids myself but understand that it will take up a lot of my time and energy.
c. don’t know how a kid would fit into our busy schedule.

If you answered A or B, it sounds like you are ready to commit to fostering or adopting! Parenting takes a LOT of time and energy, but is extremely rewarding. If you answered C, you might consider becoming a respite care provider. These are like foster care “babysitters,” who take children on weekends or a few days or sometimes hours at a time to give their foster families a break. This can be a great way to get all your paperwork together (home study, health study, background check, etc.) and then test out fostering and see how it works for you, before making a longer-term commitment.

5. When I think of kids from difficult backgrounds, older children, children with health issues, or kids with other special needs, I feel that:

a. my family would be ready to take on most special needs children, wrapping them with love and support.
b. my family would be much more capable of dealing with some special needs than others.
c. my family would not be equipped to deal with most children with intensive needs.
d. my family is really only interested in raising a healthy baby.

If you answered A, then you are exactly the type of family that foster agencies are looking for!  

Even if you answered B, you should know that there are all kinds of children who need care, and foster and adoptive agencies will ask about your limitations in caring for a child; for example, you could say you are not comfortable adopting a child with physical limitations, but are ready to handle heavy emotional needs. However, the more restrictions you put on your preferences, the fewer options you will have, and if you answered D, foster agencies may stop calling you because you keep turning down kids who need a placement. In that case, adoption is probably a better option for you. 

But remember, just like with a child you would have biologically, you can’t always predict what limitations a new baby will have. Springs of Love contributor Gabriela had a plan to adopt from a birth mother, only to learn after the child’s birth that she was born with Downs Syndrome. Gabriela and her husband had one weekend to decide if they were up for the challenge! Read their story. There are no guarantees with any type of parenting of what issues will come up and what struggles might arise; but it is important to be honest with yourself and the agencies that you are working with about what you can realistically handle.

6. When I imagine raising an adoptive child, I think…

a. I would prefer not to deal with the child’s birth family.
b. I would be open to sharing letters and pictures with the birth family.
c. I would be open to meeting the birth family and having occasional visits with them.
d. I would be open to having the birth family over to our home on a regular basis.

A closed adoption (A), is probably the only option where you are guaranteed to have no contact whatsoever with your child’s birth family. Even though this may seem like the easiest way to go, it is important to always consider what is best for the child. Most adoptees want to know as much as they can about their birth families, and many would like the opportunity to meet them at some point.

Most adoptions today are considered “open,” with varying degrees of openness (anywhere from B through D). Some families provide semi-regular updates, photos, and maybe even letters from their child. Others might have occasional visits with their child’s birth parent/s or family, or may even have an ongoing, in-person relationship with them. (See Springs of Love video stories, especially Laura & Kyle’s Family Story: Love Does Hard Things.)

For children who have been fostered before being adopted, they may have had visits with their birth parents and possibly birth siblings while they were in foster care. After the state receives permanent custody of a child, it is up to the adoptive family’s discretion if they want to continue the relationship. Depending on the circumstances, limited or no contact may be best and safest for everyone. Whatever situation you may find yourself in, it is important to remember that the SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF YOUR CHILD comes first, and you may have to adapt relationships with birth family members accordingly over time. 

A special note: Some fostered or adopted children have siblings or half-siblings that have been adopted/fostered by other families. Even though they may not be able to have any kind of relationship with their birth parents, they may be able to have some connection with their birth siblings.

Whether you answered A, B, C, or D, you and your child can and should regularly pray for their birth family, acknowledging their role in your child’s life and praying that they know the grace of God’s love and forgiveness. (See our Prayer for Birth Moms for ideas to start praying.)

Hopefully, taking our Discernment Quiz has given you some clarity about what you are ready to take on at this stage in life! Whichever route you take, you will want to do some research on your own, and get in touch with agencies in your area to find out the requirements for adoption and fostering in your state. Remember to continue discerning through prayer, and keep an open dialogue with your spouse and/or family to make sure you are on the same page.