Adoption Selection Process
Birth Parent’s are encouraged to actively participate in the selection of an Adoptive Family for their child. Some Birth Parent’s may have a vision of what the perfect family looks like. They may want a family which already has several children, they may want their child to be an only child, or the youngest child. Some Birth Parents don’t have an opinion, or maybe do not want to be involved in the selection process. Birth Parents are encouraged to meet prospective Adoptive Parents, if they wish, but are not forced to do this.
Type of Adoption
Birth Parents are given the opportunity to decide whether they want an Open, Semi-Open, or Closed Adoption. They may have a strong preference for an Open Adoption and will expect to have regular updates, or visits, after the Termination of Parental Rights and Finalization. The agreed upon updates and/or visits may be for the child’s first year of life, for first several years, or may be until the child reaches adulthood. On the other hand, some Birth Parents prefer a Closed Adoption and will have no contact with the child after placement. The type of adoption chosen by the Birth Parent’s is what drives the search for suitable Adoptive Parents for the child.
Adoptive Parents are given the opportunity to decide what type of adoption they are comfortable with. The Birth Mother will be matched with an Adoptive Family who is willing to honor their wishes regarding updates and contact with the child. There is not point matching a Birth Mother who wishes ongoing contact with the child with Adoptive Parents who only feel comfortable with a closed adoption. Careful thought should be given to the type of adoption a family will consider. After all is said and done, adoption and parenting is a long term (life-long) commitment.
As previously stated, the selection process will vary depending upon the type of adoption chosen (open, semi-open, or closed). In order to aid Birth Parent’s in their decision making process, prospective Adoptive Parents will be encouraged to produce a Profile Book. The Profile Book allows the Birth Parent/s a “snap shot” view of the Adoptive Family’s daily life and family history.
Adoptive Parents may want to show Birth Parent’s how they spend family holidays, where they went to school, what they do on the weekends, what they do for fun. In addition, they may want to write the Birth Parent’s a letter introducing themselves. Adoptive Parents should share as much or as little information as they are comfortable sharing. However, it should be noted this may be the only opportunity to present themselves to the Birth Parent’s as suitable prospective parents for their child.
The selection process is to some extent a mutual exercise. The Adoptive Parents are also able to state their preferences. It is important to carefully consider whether the Adoptive Parents are only willing to consider a child from their own racial background, or whether they are open to the idea of adopting a child with a different race to their own. Adoptive Parents willing to adopt a child of a different race, or a mixed race child, will have a shorter wait time. However, it is important that they consider whether family and friends will be as accepting as they are of a child from a different racial background. It is also important to note, preferences will be included in the Home Study report which a Judge will eventually review.
The Florida Adoption Agency is committed to open disclosure. The issue of babies being exposed in-utero to illegal drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs is a growing problem. Prospective Adoptive Parents must consider whether they are willing to adopt a child who has been drug or substance exposed. Babies who have been exposed to drugs in-utero may experience life-long effects. It is important to be educated on the subject, and equally important to realize there are currently no long-term studies on the outcomes for these children. As an Agency, we take steps to gather as much information from Birth Parents on which Adoptive Parents can base their decision. This information can include, Birth Parent psychosocial histories, medical records (past and present), drug tests, and self-report (not always accurate or complete).
Once Birth Parent’s have selected Adoptive Parents for a potential match, the agency will facilitate a meeting, or meetings. These meetings may be telephone calls, Skype, in person meetings, or a combination of all. The meetings will take place in an Agency controlled environment for the protection of all parties involved. More about this procedure will be explained during our training sessions. After a meeting or meetings have taken place, and information (agreed upon by the parties) has been exchanged, a “Match” is finalized. When a Match is made, Agency staff will keep Adoptive Parents updated on Birth Mother’s pregnancy progress and will continue to facilitate meetings, if this has been agreed between the parties.