Introduction to the Florida Adoption Center’s Adoption Program
We at the Florida Adoption Center realize the decision to adopt often comes at the end of a long, emotional, and sometime expensive journey. Perhaps, you have tried to find information to help with your decision and are frustrated, or you can’t get the answer you are looking for, maybe you are new to the idea of adoption and are surfing the web to find information. Either way, you have come to the right place.
The Florida Adoption Center is pleased to offer a website packed with information. We are committed to making the adoption process as straightforward as possible for our families. Our website is designed to answer as many of your questions as possible, provide useful information, and demystify the process. If after checking out our pages you have more questions, or you are ready to get started, please call or email us. We will be pleased to help. No Obligation!
An Introduction to Adoption
Adoption is a time honored tradition which has evolved over the ages. Today, adoption is recognized as a legal process by which the parental responsibilities and rights are transferred from the Birth Parents to the Adoptive Parents. The Adoptive Parents assume all legal responsibilities and the child receives all legal rights as though the child were born into the Adoptive Family. Currently there are many children residing in institutions and foster homes in need of permanent families. However, many people prefer to adopt a child in infancy, but because of the legalization of abortion in the 1970’s the number of infants available for adoption has dropped significantly. Today, the process of adoption is highly regulated and designed to protect the rights of all parties.
Regulation, as is always the case brings with it cost increases. The current 21st Century view of adoption is a process designed to be in the best interests of the child, protecting confidentiality, offering options with regards to openness, and protecting the legal rights of all parties. The legal process of adoption is a one-time legal event, but the act of being a family lasts a lifetime. Parenting, while being a labor of love is also a financial responsibility and a lifelong emotional commitment which is why it is important to be fully educated on the process and aware of the ramifications.
A Brief Step by Step Overview of Adoption from First Call to Finalization
We have attempted to make our adoption process as easy to understand and as streamlined as possible. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork involved, but we have set up our system to be logical and minimize the amount of time you have to invest in this part of the process. The process includes an orientation session, training, background checks and an in depth home study. In addition, we give you the opportunity to explore your feelings about adoption and your expectations before you make a large financial commitment.
We have structured our fee schedule so the major part of the financial commitment is made at “Match” and at “Placement” (see below for more detailed explanation of these terms). In addition, our fee schedule is designed so that you know up front what the financial commitment is going to be. We also provide you with information on ways to help you afford the adoption (see section entitled “Help Paying for an Adoption”).
Call for Information
Whether you already have a Home Study, need a Home Study for a family or private adoption using an attorney who does not provide Home Study Services, need your Home Study updating, or need help starting from scratch, give us a call. We will be happy to explain the process and the fees involved. No Obligation for information!
During your orientation session you will meet with one of our Adoption Specialists who will give you an overview of our adoption agency, and the adoption program. In addition, you will receive an overview of the entire adoption process through to finalization. This will be your opportunity to fact find and ask questions.
Our training process entails a presentation which will give you the opportunity to talk to Adoptive Parents who have also experienced adoption, and Birth Parents who will provide an insight into adoption from their perspective. In addition, you will have the opportunity to meet with an Adoption Counselor to explore your feelings about the different types of adoption and what will work best for your family. See our section on Pre-Adoption training for more detailed information.
In order to have a child placed in an adoptive home, adoptive parents must have an Approved Home Study. A Home Study is an evaluation of a prospective adoptive family and their home environment, which must be approved before being submitted to the Court at finalization. The Home Study is such an important document we have included more complete information in a separate section.
Home Study Approval
The Home Study documentation is prepared by an Adoption Specialist and submitted to a Managing Director who will sign off and approve (or disapprove). The approval process involves a review of the home study report and supporting documentation, including local, state and federal background checks, references, health information etc.
Seeking a Match
The Florida Adoption Center is a full service adoption agency, providing services to Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents. We accept and welcome Adoptive Parents who already have an Approved Home Study to apply to join our waiting list. In an effort to shorten waiting times, we network with other agencies to facilitate an adoption match. If you use our Home Study Services we take the time to explore options and choices which can result in a quicker match. It is important to know that waiting times do vary and cannot be guaranteed.
Our Agency encourages Birth Parents to take an active role in selecting an Adoptive Family for their child. An Adoption Specialist works with our Adoptive Parents to assist with compiling a Profile to present to Birth Parents as part of the Matching process. Birth Parents may have specific requirements when considering an Adoptive family. They may want an Open Adoption requiring regular updates on the child’s progress, and perhaps occasional visits with the child. A suitable Match will entail honoring a Birth Mother’s wishes when pairing the child with potential Adoptive Parents. The more open, Adoptive Parents are to considering a child from a different race, or an Open as opposed to a Closed Adoption, the quicker the Match is likely to be.
Our role is to guide each party through the Match Process, from contemplation of options to finalizing a specific set of Match criteria. We encourage active participation from all parties as the Match process is very important.
Every adoption scenario is different, and it is difficult to provide information on every eventuality, but we encourage Birth Mothers to make a Personalized Adoption Plan. The Birth Mother may want to review Adoptive Parent Profiles, and will request initial Skype meetings with one family or several families, followed perhaps by personal meetings. She may pick a family after one meeting, or may want several meetings. She may request an opportunity to really get to know the Adoptive Parents by meeting on a regular basis prior to the birth, or she may pick a family from their profile and no other contact will takes place. Once a Birth Mother has selected an Adoptive Family, the Match is made and the Birth Mother will not be given any other profiles.
Once a Match has been made we again follow the Birth Mother’s Personalized Adoption Plan. Again, each adoption scenario is unique. We walk all parties through the entire process, respecting everyone’s wishes and feelings. Adoptive Parents often feel powerless at certain points during the process, but we try very hard to facilitate the requests and wishes of all parties. We also believe in providing updates and information (while respecting privacy) to minimize the stress on all parties.
Placement and Post Placement Supervision
Placement refers to the child’s placement with the Adoptive Parents. We try very hard to place children with the Adoptive Parents as soon as possible as the bonding process between parents and infant are so very important. Typically, placement occurs immediately upon Baby’s discharge from the hospital.
Once a child is placed in the care of the Adoptive Parents, the law requires that regular Post Placement Supervision should take place. Post Placement Supervision consists of regular visits to the Adoptive Home to check on the welfare of the child, and the adjustment of the Adoptive Family to their new family member. Post Placement Supervision visits continue until Finalization.
Finalization is the term used for the court hearing where the judge grants legal custody to the Adoptive Parents.