The more you actually know about adoption and fostering, the less viable of an option it sounds like.
Now, if your sole goal is to “help children” (and this is almost never the reason anyone wants to be parent, infertile or otherwise) then absolutely, being a foster parent helps more children than any other option- BUT…you will most likely never adopt from foster care.
Most kids are reunited with their drug-addicted parents because the ultimate goal of the foster system is reunification except in extreme cases. And at least 99% of kids in foster care have major trauma or disabilities. Most people are not emotionally strong enough to deal with the special needs AND the inevitable goodbye when they have to send the kids off to their bio parents.
It’s one thing to say “I’ll give birth to a child and in the rare event that it’s born with a major disability, I’d accept that and be a great parent” and another thing to say “I will voluntarily go through grueling processes with the government to temporarily take care of a child who is guaranteed to have a major disability and who will leave my house a year later to go back to an abusive home.”
Now, infant adoption is another story, but it’s a nearly extinct thing. International adoption is almost entirely over. Most countries have stopped doing it. There are far more waiting parents in the US than available babies. It’s not charitable to adopt a healthy baby, if it wasn’t you, it would be 200 other loving couples waiting for that particular baby.
And expense? While foster care isn’t going to be terribly expensive (but has the aforementioned issues), adoption is far far more expensive than anyone imagines. There are couples who spend north of $100K+ and NEVER GET A BABY. Yes, really. It’s common for birth mothers to scam adoptive parents, tell them they plan on giving the child up, but secretly never have that intention. They just want their bills paid for 9 months. There is no law prohibiting this. It’s completely legal to dangle an imaginary adoption in front of someone to get $50K in expenses paid. Most adoptive parents go through numerous scams before eventually getting a baby (if it happens at all).
There are no orphanages full of Orphan Annies waiting to be adopted. The vast majority of children are adopted by other family members before it ever comes to that. When they say there are 100,000 waiting children in the system they are talking about kids who are probably still going to be reunited with their birth parents, and kids who have major issues that most people are not equipped to handle. For example, a kid strapped to a ventilator who needs someone to be home 24/7. If both parents work (which most people do these days) that just isn’t an option.
To be clear there absolutely are happy foster parent stories! There are children who thrive with a foster parent who later adopts them. But it would be untrue to say that adopting from foster care doesn’t involve a lot of tough emotions and trauma most of the time. Most foster kids are not physically disabled but almost all have experienced trauma that not everyone is equipped to help with. I really admire those who are, but I know my own mental health issues would make me a bad candidate. The goal of the foster system IS reunification and foster parents are discouraged from fostering with the intention of adopting.