From Foster Parent to Adoptive Parent:
A Strengths and Needs Worksheet
By Heather L. Craig-Oldsen, M.S.W.
This worksheet is designed to be completed by foster parents who are
considering adopting a child who has been living with them through a foster care
program. If there are two parents, it is helpful for both to complete the
worksheet separately and then compare the strengths and needs. Designed as a
self-assessment tool, the worksheet should provide some ideas to be discussed
with the agency social worker for next steps in the decision making process
toward a foster parent adoption. Needs will indicate tasks to be accomplished.
Please note that this worksheet touches only a few of the critical issues
important to foster parents who are considering adoption.
Foster Parent Adoption Task Strengths:
(What I have done to accomplish this task.)
(What I still need to do.)
- I have discussed the entire placement history of my child with at least
one social worker and believe I have all information that is available.
- I have identified several strengths and several potential problems with
- I have discussed ways to solve the potential difficulties with those I
consider to be family.
- I have all information that is available about this child’s birth family
and have determined ways to help this child maintain positive connections
with his or her roots.
- I have considered levels of "openness" in adoption and have
planned for a level of openness that will meet the needs of this child and
work for our family.
- I have discussed the difference between attachment and commitment with
those I consider to be family. Those close to me understand that I am making
a lifetime commitment to a child who may later in life have challenges and
difficulties as a result of early experiences.
- This child has a lifebook which I plan to use to help him or her
understand the differences between foster care and adoption as well as to
help with developmental grieving.
- I have considered the ways this child expressed loss earlier in life and
have anticipated and planned for ways this child may grieve at the time of
adoption and at other important milestones during life (developmental
- I have planned ways to help this child maintain a tie to his or her
cultural, racial, or ethnic roots.
- I have planned ways to talk with other children in the family about this
adoption, including ways to help the family understand the differences
between foster care and adoption.
- I have planned for the future financial and medical needs of this child
and have thoroughly discussed subsidy with at least two social workers.
- I have identified people who will support me if I become discouraged.
- I am pursuing adoption willingly and at this time do not feel coerced by a
loved one or the agency.
- I have talked with at least one family who has adopted through the foster
- I have considered this decision for several months and believe that
adoption of this child is important for the well being of this child, my
family, and myself.
This worksheet is adapted with permission from material published in From
Foster Parent to Adoptive Parent, developed by Heather L. Craig-Oldsen, M.S.W.,
and published by the Child Welfare Institute, 1365 Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite
700, Atlanta, GA 3039, 1988.
preparing for adoption : understanding the issues
preparing for adoption : adopting your foster child