Editor’s Note: This is the last in Evita Nancy Torre’s series of questions and answers on Foster Parenting in celebration of National Foster Care Month.

Q: Can I adopt a child from foster care without being a foster parent?

A: Yes. The majority of children waiting to be adopted are African-American and Hispanic, older children and youth – ages 8 to 17, many with developmental, emotional, learning and or physical disabilities, and/or in sibling groups who wait in the New York City foster care system.

There are agency programs, which focus on placing these “waiting children,” or children already legally freed for adoption but without an adoptive home. For example, the New York Council on Adoptable Children has a recruitment program which trains, prepares, and matches prospective adoptive parents with “special needs” children: children of color, older children, emotionally or medically fragile children, and sibling groups. As a prospective adoptive parent, you can identify what personal parameters are appropriate for your family.

Another program, You Gotta Believe, facilitates the adoption process with either a child known to the parents or by matching parents with a child who is new to them. Prospective adoptive parents can set gender, age, race, and sibling group details for the child(ren) they would like to adopt, and find those children through WNBC 4’s Wednesday’s Child and the program’s cable access programming,

The primary difference between foster children and waiting children is that foster children maintain the goal of reunification with the birth family and waiting children have a goal of adoption.

For answers to your adoption questions or to set up a free consultation, please visit

Evita Nancy Torre is an adoption attorney with Greenberg Adoption: The Law Offices of Clifford L. Greenberg in New York City. The firm’s founder, Cliff Greenberg, is the resident legal expert at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, and published a children’s book (illustrated by his young daughter) about a girl’s adoption by two loving mothers, “Living the Dream with Mommy and Mama.” Greenberg Adoption hosts The Center’s monthly Family Law Clinic, and exclusively practices adoption law.

Please Note: This article, or its content, does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is about legal issues but it is not intended as legal advice.

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