FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) for adoptive parents

Reading though our Frequently Asked Questions by Adoptive Parents can help Prospective families understand the Adoption process.

If you can’t find the answer to your adoption questions here please don’t hesitate to contact us. Florida Adoption Center is always happy to help! For more adoption information.

1-855-899-5683 (LOVE)

Adoption

Who initiates the adoption process?

An adoptive couple can initiate their side by calling for a consultation with one of our Adoption Specialists and by starting the application process. Birth Mother/Parents initiate their side by contacting the Agency for a consultation. The Agency facilitates Adoption by bringing the two sides together. How many Adoptive Families are on your waiting list at this time, and how many birth mothers? It is impossible to give a number as it varies greatly. We like to give our Birth Mothers a selection of Adoptive Families to choose from, as it is an important decision, and we want them to feel they have control over who parents their child. We try to keep the ratios of Birth Parents to Adoptive Parents as close as possible, but this is not always possible to maintain. In addition, for the welfare of our babies, we want to avoid placing babies in interim care and always maintain a list of available families.

Adoption Steps Explained

The following information is an explanation of the steps in the adoption process. These steps are the same for every adoption entity.

Step 1 – Choosing Adoption

Adoption is often chosen when infertility makes having a biological child an impossible dream. It is usually the main reason couples choose adoption. Infertility treatments are available but can often be very expensive and are not always successful, depending on the reason for infertility. If this describes your situation, it is important to make a healthy mental transition from infertility and treatment and the dream of having a biological child to fully accepting adoption as a way to grow your family. The assistance of a counselor, or an Adoption Specialist, is sometimes necessary to help couples move on from their struggle with infertility.

Whether you are a couple, single, or same-sex couple, there are other ways to parenthood, including sperm, egg donors, or a gestational surrogate mother. When all other options fail, many people turn to adoption and wish they had explored this avenue earlier.

Step 2 – Selecting the Type of Adoption

Adoptive families can decide which type of adoption they are interested in pursuing. The decision is based on several factors.

Do you want to adopt domestically or internationally?
Adopt privately or through the state foster care system?
Adopt a newborn or an older child?
Have any kind of contact with the birth parents?
Receive medical information about the birth parents?
The private domestic adoption process refers to the placement for adoption of U.S.-born infants by their Birth Parents. The Birth Parents legally consent to the adoption with an adoptive family of their choosing.

Florida Adoption Center specializes in private domestic adoptions of newborn babies. We encourage Birth Parents to take an active part in choosing an Adoptive Family for their child. We recognize, Semi-Open and Open Adoptions are the most beneficial for all parties. Continued contact between the Adoptive Family and Birth Parents through the adoption process helps create a more secure adoption and allows for medical histories and medical records to be shared for the eventual benefit of the child.

Step 3 – Choosing an Adoption Professional

Oftentimes, Adoptive Families inaccurately believe all adoption professionals provide the same adoption services with the same levels of success. This is not true. It is essential to ask questions of the adoption entity before making a decision. Cost should not be the only consideration. The Florida Adoption Center has made a conscious effort to make our fees as affordable as possible while giving value for money. We believe you will find us more than competitive. We have also structured our program in such a way that we maximize our success and minimize the chance of disruption. Factors to consider are price, wait times, disruption rates, hidden fees, financial protection, amount of support provided, education, and guidance. We ask you to consider this information because we want you to make the correct choice upfront to save yourself time, money, and heartache.

Step 4 – Home Study Process

A home study is required in every domestic, international, private, and state adoption. The Home Study is an in-depth overview of the Adoptive Family’s life and circumstances. It ensures the Adoptive Parent/s are emotionally and financially stable enough to make suitable parents for an Adoptive Child.

The Home Study is a compilation of State and Federal criminal background checks and financial, personal, psycho-social, and medical information. Adoptive applicants will be interviewed by one of our Adoption Specialists, and we will conduct an in-home inspection to ensure residency and safety. The home study process may seem long and tedious, but it is necessary and required to ensure prospective adoptive parents are ready, fit, and able to parent an adoptive child.

Step 5 – Completing an Adoptive Parent Profile

Adoptive families will be asked to produce a Profile Book. This is the Adoptive Parent’s opportunity to present themselves to Birth Parents as suitable parents for their child. The Profile gives a snapshot into the lives of the Adoptive Parents. Birth Parents look at the profiles as the first step in selecting an Adoptive Family. The Profile is usually a collection of photographs and a narrative that tells the family’s story. Some people also include an open letter to Birth Mothers, introducing themselves and expressing their feelings about adoption. Adoptive parents can also make a video to put on a disk, which can be shared in addition to the profile book. When producing a Profile, it is important to remember this may be the only opportunity to “sell” the family to the Birth Parents. After looking through a selection of profile books, Birth Parents will be given an opportunity to meet with prospective Adoptive Parents in person. It is important to know some Birth Mothers do not want personal meetings, which may mean the profile book may be the only information a Birth Mother sees.

We will help you with ideas on what to include in your Profile, showcase your unique qualities, to give the Birth Mother a picture of the life her child will have as a member of your family.

Step 6 – The Waiting Period

Waiting for a Match is probably the most difficult time. This is the period after the application, background checks, training, and home study process have been completed. This is after you have spent endless hours agonizing over what to include in your profile. This is usually when friends and family constantly ask how things are going and when you will be “getting a baby.” The waiting period is difficult; wondering if today is the day you will get the call. At this point, there is nothing the Adoptive Parents can do to speed up the process. Therefore, it is better to concentrate on getting on with life as we do our job to facilitate the perfect Match.

We believe in providing regular updates and contacting our Adoptive Families regularly to reassure them they are not forgotten about and that we are working hard on their behalf. We stress it is important not to put life completely on hold during the waiting period. Stress is bad for everyone, so we advise continuing or taking up healthy pursuits to keep busy during this period. This method of coping is healthy. Adoptive families who can put the waiting time into a healthy perspective will be happier in the long run.

How long will it take to adopt a child?

The simple answer is it depends. The wait time depends on several factors, some of which Adoptive Parents can control and others which they cannot. Generally, Adoptive Parents who will only consider a Caucasian child have a longer wait. Those willing to adopt an African American or bi-racial child will have a considerably shorter wait.

The background checks, pre-adoption training, and home study can usually be completed within a few months providing we are given all required information in a timely and organized manner.

Step 7 – The “Match” and Getting to Know You – Contact with the Birth Parents

Birth Parents usually look over many Profiles before choosing one or several sets of Adoptive Parents to meet or correspond with. They may request an opportunity to telephone or Skype with Adoptive Parents before a personal meeting is arranged. They may not do any of these things as every situation is different. However, once Birth Parents have identified and chosen a suitable Adoptive Family for their child, usually based on the Profile, we say a “Match” has been made. Once a confirmed “Match” is made, the Adoptive and Birth Parents may go on to get to know each other better. We believe that giving the Adoptive Mother a chance to get to know the Adoptive Parents, building a connection, and maintaining contact during the pregnancy is a healthy way for the Adoptive Mother to become comfortable and committed to the Adoption.

The Agency facilitates all contact between the parties to maintain boundaries and protect confidentiality. This process has to be respected by all parties. In an Open or Semi-Open adoption, it is important to establish boundaries and rules for ongoing contact, as this contact will potentially continue until the child reaches adulthood.

Step 8 – Post-Placement Supervision

Once Consent papers have been signed by the Birth Parents, usually, at the hospital, it is our preference for the Adoptive Parents to take the child home once the baby has been discharged from the hospital. Once a child is placed in the care of Adoptive Parents, the Law requires Post Placement Supervision. Post-Placement Supervision requires the Adoption Agency to visit with Adoptive Parents and the baby in their home. At this time, we check that all parties are settling down well and that the baby is safe and thriving. The Agency will write a report on the family’s progress which will form part of the file which goes to the Court at Finalization. Post-Placement Supervision is a straightforward process. However, it is complicated when Adoptive Parents live in a different state from where the baby was born. Adoption Agencies must follow the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) rules in these cases. ICPC still requires Post Placement Supervision, which means contracting with another Agency for those services.

Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)

In cases where a baby is born in a different state from the state where the Adoptive Parents reside, the newborn is free to leave the hospital in the care of the Adoptive Family. However, the Adoptive Family must remain in the state where the baby was born until the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) paperwork clears, which usually takes between 7 to 10 business days. Once ICPC paperwork has been completed, the adoptive family will have their Post-Placement Supervision, visits, and reports, completed by an agency in their home state. Post-Placement Supervision continues until Finalization.

Step 9 – Finalization

The finalization hearing is the Judge’s final review of the adoption and ensures all necessary documentation is in order and Post-Placement visits were completed. Additionally, where applicable, the Judge checks all ICPC rules were complied with and that both birth parents’ parental rights were legally terminated. When the adoption hearing is finished, the adoptive family is granted legal custody of the child and awarded the adoption decree. At this point, the domestic adoption process is complete.

What do we need to know about adoption?

The first step in the adoption process is to gather as much information as possible to enable you to make an informed decision. Our website is designed to answer as many of your questions as possible; however, If you have questions we have not covered, please feel free to call us. When you feel ready to move forward, schedule a consultation with one of our Adoption Specialists. Your initial consultation can be over the phone if you just have a few questions. However, a face-to-face meeting is often more beneficial. During our first meeting, we will explain in detail the domestic adoption process and our agency philosophy, which you will find differs from many other agencies. You will be given the opportunity to ask as many questions as you like, and our low-pressure approach will make the process comfortable.

If you decide to proceed with the adoption process, you will begin the application process and compile all the documents needed for the Home Study. The documents needed will include background check clearances and reference letters. See our Home Study section to obtain a full list of required documents. This section contains all the documents in a downloadable format and a full explanation of each document.

Who is Eligible to adopt?

We work with adoptive families throughout the United States, welcoming individuals and married couples of any age, racial, religious, or ethnic background. Regardless of their familial status, all adoptive parents must pass the Home Study process.

When can the mother of the baby start the adoption process?

As soon as she has a confirmed pregnancy the adoption process can potentially begin. However, we believe Birth Mothers should have the opportunity to explore all their options, including parenting and adoption, and have an opportunity to work through their feelings before they can be in a position to make a decision. We want them to feel comfortable with their decision before we will consider matching her with Adoptive Parents. We do not believe a Birth Mother is in a position to commit to an adoption plan until she has worked through this process.

A Birth Mother, cannot consent to the adoption until after the baby is born.

Can a Birth Mother surrender a baby anonymously?

Yes, but the law has rules. Under the law a newborn baby, or a baby up to 7 days old can be taken to a hospital or emergency medical service station or a fire station. The baby has to be left in the care of a staff member, it is not OK to leave a baby at a fire station hoping a staff member will find the child. The law, called “Safe Haven Act” stipulates staff members and medical staff may not ask the Birth Mother for any identifying information. The Birth Mother is immune from prosecution for abandoning her baby as long as there are no signs of physical abuse. The law was enacted to prevent child abuse and to deter Birth Mothers from abandoning babies who often died from lack of care. A Birth Mother who leaves a child under the Safe Haven law may reclaim the baby any time up until parental rights are terminated by the court.

Where do your Birth Mothers come from?

We work with birth mothers from all over Florida and across the nation. Some contact us from our website or advertising, while others are referred to us by partner agencies.

What if my partner’s idea of an Adoption Plan is different to mine?

It is common for partners to have a different idea of an adoption plan. One partner might be willing to consider a child with a different racial make up to their own, while the other partner only wants a child who shares their race. One partner might want an Open Adoption, while the other is set on a Closed Adoption. Having an opposing view point is not a problem, we look at this as something to discuss and resolve to each partners satisfaction. We call our Adoption Plans “Personalized Adoption Plans” for a reason, and we believe in giving choices every step of the way. We believe with the right information everyone can develop a Personalized Adoption Plan they are happy with.

What if I/We have not come to terms with our infertility?

It is important, before turning to Adoption, to come to terms with your infertility and mourn the loss of your “Dream Child.” Adoption is a decision where both parents need to be on the same page and fully invested in the choice. It is important for both Adoptive Parents to be ready to move forward with adoption. People grieve at different rates and in different ways. One partner may be ready to move forward, while the other partner is still grieving, this is a common situation. Unresolved grief can impact the bonding process with the adopted child, and can cause problems in the relationship. We advise couples to allow their partners to resolve their grief before moving forward with adoption. It is important that one partner does not feel coerced or pressured. We advise couple seek professional counseling to resolve infertility issues. We will be happy to advise you on available resources in your area.

If you have both come to terms with your infertility and you feel adoption is the right way to increase your family we can help.

Do you ever have adoption seminars?

Yes, but we prefer a more personalized approach. Call us and we can talk, or make an appointment and we will answer all your questions. We also offer Pre-adoption training where we explore all aspects of adoption and you will get the opportunity to meet experienced Adoptive Parents, Birth Parents and Adult Adoptees.

What if my family doesn’t meet one of your agency requirements? Can I still adopt?

There are occasions when we make exceptions to our Adoption policy, on a case by case basis. When making your initial application explain your situation in writing prior to submitting your formal application. We do not want to waste anyone’s money, and would prefer that you bring your situation to our attention so that we can make a decision on the requested exception early in the process.

What information about the Birth Parents and the child must be provided to the Adoptive Parents?

We require Birth Parents to provide a family and social history, plus medical information including past and present substance use. Much of this information is self-report. However, we require Birth Parents to sign a release so the Agency can obtain their medical records. These records are passed on to the Adoptive Parents so they have information on which to base their Adoption decision.

Under what circumstances can an adopted child communicate with the Birth Parents?

An Adopted child can communicate with their Birth Parents once they are 18 years old, without their Adoptive Parents’ consent. Prior to that time, Adoptive Parents can prevent the child from having contact or communicating with the Birth Parents if they feel it is not in the child’s best interest.

Can the adoptive parents prevent Birth parents from contacting the child after the Adoption if Finalized?

If it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child to stop contact with the Birth Parents the Adoptive Parents can prevent Birth Parents from having contact with the child. In some cases, a Court hearing may be necessary to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Whatever the outcome of a Court hearing the Adoption remains valid. Furthermore, Birth Parents cannot prevent Adoptive Parents from moving out of state or out of the country with their Adopted Child.

Who supervises the baby once they are placed with the Adoptive Parents, and for how long?

Our Agency’s Adoption Specialists conduct Post Placement Supervision visits every 30 days until finalization. The period between placement and finalization is no less than 90 days, and this means a minimum of 3 Post Placement Supervision visits. The first visit occurs within 1 week of the child being placed with the Adoptive Family. If any problems are identified these visits may be more often.

How do you decide whether adoptive parents are fit to adopt a child?

All prospective Adoptive Parents are required to have an Approved Home Study. See our Home Study section for full details. A Home Study requires, at minimum, background checks, adoption education, medical examinations, and proof of financial stability. The Home Study process is designed to examine all aspects of the Adoptive Parents background, family history and current situation.

Once a child is placed in the Adoptive Parent’s home a series of Post Placement Supervision visits (every 30 days until finalization) are made to the Adoptive Parent’s home to check on the welfare of the child, whether bonding is occurring and the adjustment of the Adoptive Family to their new family member. At finalization, if everything has gone well the Adoption Specialist will write a report recommending to the Court that the Adoption be finalized.

I have a medical condition. Can I still adopt?

In order to adopt you must have an approved Home Study. Part of the Home Study process involves a medical examination. We ask your physician to report on whether, in their professional opinion, they think you have a life expectancy long enough to raise a child to adulthood. Having a medical condition may not preclude you from adopting.

Can same-sex couples adopt through your agency?

Yes.  We do not discriminate against same-sex couples.

What if we do not live in the United States? Can I work with your agency?

Currently, Florida Adoption Center does not perform international adoptions. However, if you are a U.S. citizen currently residing outside the United States in the service of the U.S. Military or U.S. government we can help you with your Adoption.

What if we reside outside of the State of Florida?

Laws in differ depending on which state you live in. You will have to retain an attorney or adoption agency in your home state who will assist in facilitating your adoption. We can offer assistance in locating an agency in your state as we network with agencies all over the United States.

Do you work with families who live outside of Florida?

Yes. Our license allows us to work throughout the United States. We work within the constraints of the Interstate Compact reconciling any conflicts in Adoption laws which sometimes exists between states.

I am single. Can I adopt a child through your agency?

Yes.

Do you work with military families?

Yes, being in the military will not stop you from adopting.

Do you work with same sex couples?

Yes.

Are there age, marital, religious or other restrictions?

No, there are no age, marital, religious, or other restrictions, but you must be in good health and have a reasonable life expectancy to parent a child to adulthood.

Who can adopt a child?

To be eligible to adopt, you must have an Approved Home Study. To have an Approved Home study, Adoptive Parents must pass criminal background checks, they must be able to demonstrate they have the financial means to provide for a child, they must be in good health, and have a long enough life expectancy to be able to parent a child to adulthood. They can be single or married. The requirements for a Home Study can be found in more detail in our Home Study section.

How much Medical History will I receive to help me make an Adoption Match Decision?

We believe in full disclosure, and as such, we require our Birth Parents to complete full psychosocial and medical histories. In addition, we back up self-report information by obtaining copies of medical records. We also require open disclosure of past and present substance use and treatment, pre-natal medical care, and information on any psychiatric diagnoses.

I am interested in adopting a special needs child. Can I work with your agency?

The mission of our agency is to promote the birth of healthy babies by encouraging our Birth Mothers to make healthy choices for themselves and their unborn child. Sometimes babies are born with Special Needs, and we always welcome Adoptive Families who have love enough to adopt children with Special Needs.

What does special needs mean?

Special needs can entail a variety of things.  Florida Statutes consider any child(ren) that may be hard to adopt as special needs.  Florida Adoption Center would alert prospective adoptive parents of a potential special needs adoption if the child is developmentally delayed or disabled, physically or emotionally handicapped, or HIV positive.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

If you have your heart set on a specific gender, we can facilitate this request, however, please know this will likely increase your wait time.

What if I am Interested in Adopting an Older Child?

Our agency works primarily with newborns and infants under six months of age. Our license allows us to facilitate adoption for children of any age, but that is not our primary mission. If you are interested in adopting an older child, you may wish to contact your local Social Service agency to inquire about older children available for adoption through the foster care system. Please feel free to call us with questions we will be happy to advise you further.

What are the Different Types of Adoption?

The different types of adoption are Open, Semi-Open, and Closed. Our agency offers all three types of adoption. In an Open Adoption, each member’s identity of the Adoption Triad is known by all other members (Birth Parents, Adoptive Parents, and Child). In an Open Adoption, it is typical for Adoptive Parents to meet and get to know the Birth Mother/Parents. The Adoption Agency Staff always supervises the meetings until after finalization.

In Open Adoptions, Birth Parents can have updates on the child, photographs, letters, emails, and personal visits. Visitation is something that is worked out before placement and which continues, as agreed, until the child reaches adulthood. In an open adoption, Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents know the other party’s identity. Usually, Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents will meet and form a relationship. This relationship is very important as they will share a child in the future. A level of trust needs to be established and ground rules set for future contact between Birth Parents and child. Our Adoption Counselors will work with both parties to facilitate relationship building and contact/update planning.

In a Semi-Open Adoption, basic non-identifying information is exchanged. In some cases, the Agency will make the Match; in others, the Birth Mother chooses the Adoptive Parents. Usually, there are updates in the form of letters, pictures, and sometimes emails, but no person-to-person contact after placement.

In a Closed Adoption, no identifying information will be shared. In these cases, the Birth Mother and Adoptive Parents wish to remain anonymous. Of course, in these circumstances, it is impossible to have visitation after placement.

Our Agency provides education for both Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents so that each knows their responsibilities for contact and updates after placement. During the Matching process, we consider the wishes of all parties so that we don’t match a Birth Mother wishing for an Open Adoption with Adoptive Parents who want a Closed Adoption.

We find most Adoptive Parents want some level of contact with the child after placement. Adoptive Parents who are only willing to consider a Closed Adoption may find their wait time for a Match is long.

Why should I work with Florida Adoption Center?

Our fees are about as competitive and low as we can make them without compromising service. Our Agency spends considerable funds on our marketing efforts to attract clients to our program, which equates to shorter wait times. Our website is probably one of the best out there, attracting Birth Parents to our program. In addition, our service is provided with care and compassion. We really want to do the best for all our families. We rely on word of mouth and recommendations from past clients to grow our future business. Our Directors have worked in helping professions for many years and have great reputations for hard work, honesty, and integrity. Our Agency byline is Love Makes a Difference, which is the philosophy we live by.

If we are waiting for a Match and become pregnant, what happen?

Firstly, we will be ecstatic for you if you become pregnant. After that, we will take the lead from you. You can either choose to continue on with the adoption, put your adoption plan on hold until a later date, or withdraw your application and we won’t proceed any further.

If you are Matched with a Birth Mother and discover you are pregnant, but decide you do want to continue on with the adoption, we will need to inform the birth mother of your pregnancy. The Birth Mother may decide she would like to select another family. It is her decision. If you are Matched and decide to withdraw, we will inform the Birth Mother of your decision to withdraw and help her select another family. Once your baby is born, and you’ve had a chance to evaluate your situation, we will welcome you back in the program, or withdraw you from the program whichever you decide. Most couples in this situation will wait until their baby is a year old before making a firm decision. If a pregnancy results in a miscarriage, we recommend dealing with the pain of the loss before making any decision. Obviously, each situation is unique and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Will any of our fees be refunded?

Our Agency works on a Fee for Service basis. All fees are paid as and when they are earned and are therefore non-refundable. We believe our fees are fair and equitable. Please ask for our fee schedule for full details.

What happens if we wait longer than the average wait time?

We are unable to guarantee wait times. We strive hard to keep wait times down to a minimum by networking with partner agencies.

Are we financially prepared for adoption?

Prospective Adoptive Parents should determine whether adoption fits into their budget by carefully researching all their options. It is important to consider the future. Will adoption jeopardize their financial future and, in turn, that of the adoptive child? If the answer is yes, it may be better to wait, save, and get into a better financial position before making the commitment to adopt.  See our section on Help Paying for an Adoption.

Are there funding sources to help us with the cost of adoption?

The easy answer to this is Yes. Potentially, there are many sources of funding. So many that we have devoted a whole section to the subject, visit Help Paying for an Adoption.

Comparing Adoption Costs

Different Adoption entities have different fee schedules and fee structures. We believe in transparency, which is why our fee schedule is presented on our website. Everyone has a budget, and everyone should know upfront how much they will have to allocate for their adoption. We have structured our fees to be as low as possible without compromising service. We want to be able to care for the well-being of all members of the Adoption Triad.

Our Agency is licensed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in the State of Florida. Our fee schedule has been disclosed to this entity and cannot be changed without notification to DCF. As State regulated professionals, we must adhere to state laws and regulations. Unfortunately, wherever strict regulation and compliance exist, costs invariably go up. The upside to regulation is the protection it affords to all parties.

Our Agency provides more services to our families than most agencies, and we believe you will appreciate the difference. The expenses included on our fee schedule covers all eventualities, and it may be your adoption will not incur all these expenses.

Is the biological father involved in choosing the Adoptive Parents?

If the biological father is involved with the Birth Mother, or they are currently a couple, he may be involved in choosing the Adoptive Parents if he wishes.

How is the father of the baby notified of the Adoption Plan?

The Birth Father is served a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan (NOIAP). This notice is served to every potential biological identified by the Birth Mother. We also perform a Diligent Search, and serve any potential fathers found by searching the Florida Putative Father Registry.

Does the father of the baby have to be notified of the Adoption Plan?

Yes, if he is the legal father (married to the Birth Mother at the time of Conception). If his whereabouts are unknown, the Putative Father Registry has to be checked and a Diligent Search has to be made.

No, if he is not the legal father. However, information has to obtained from the Birth Mother so the Putative Registry can be checked before making a determination that he is not the father. According to the Law, the interests of the state, Birth Mother, Adoptive Parents and the Child, outweighs the interests of an unmarried biological father when he fails to take action to claim paternity in a timely manner. It is the unmarried biological father’s responsibility to protect his rights, fulfill all the requirements of the Law, and provide support for the Birth Mother and child, otherwise the child may be adopted without his consent.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in Florida?

In Florida, if a Birth Father is aware of the pregnancy and can prove that he has emotionally and financially supported the Birth Mother he has the right to contest the adoption. He may also elect to parent the child. However, if he was unaware of the pregnancy, because the Birth Mother kept this information from him, these conditions do not apply and the Court may award him custody of the child. If a Birth father fails to support the Birth Mother, and he knew of the pregnancy, the court can terminate his parental rights even if he protests the adoption.

In cases where the Birth Mother is aware of the identity of the Birth Father, steps have to be taken to locate him to ascertain whether or not he is willing to consent to the adoption. If the identified Birth Father states he is not the father he may sign an affidavit of non-paternity. In situations where the biological father refuses to cooperate, he is are served with a Notice of Intended Adoption, after which he will have 30 days to contest the adoption. If the Biological father wants to contest an adoption he must first register with the Putative Father Registry, and file an affidavit with the court. If he fails to contest the adoption the court will terminate his parental rights.

Unmarried biological fathers who are located and refuse to cooperate the Florida Supreme Court mandates he be served with a notice of the intended adoption plan. The Birth Father has a period of 30 days to indicate he intends to contest the adoption. He must register with the Putative Father Registry and file an affidavit with the court committing to certain obligations with respect to the child. If he fails to complete the required actions, in a timely manner, the Agency will seek the court’s determination that he has no rights with regards to the baby. If the unmarried biological father does complete the required actions, in a timely manner, his rights to Notice of the Adoption, and his consent to the adoption, is required just as if he were married to the birth mother. However, his failure to provide financial and emotional support to the birth mother during her pregnancy remains a basis for his Right to Consent to be waived, and again the court can elect to terminate his parental rights.

All adoption placements are “At-Risk.” In short, this means Adoptive Parents may have to return the child to the Biological Parents should Termination of Parental Rights or Finalization be denied by the court. Additionally, Birth Parents and legal parents have a minimum period of 1 year to challenge termination of parental rights and an adoption, but only if they can prove fraud, duress or other misconduct.

Can the biological parents take the child back?

The biological parents cannot take the child back once their parental rights have been terminated.

What happens if the Birth Father does not agree with the adoption plan?

Every situation is different, but generally, if the Birth Father has not been involved with the Birth Mother during the pregnancy and cannot show that he has supported her emotionally and financially, his parental rights can be terminated by the Court regardless of his wishes. In situations where the circumstance is not cut and dried, we may place the child in interim care until the situation is resolved, or with open disclosure of the difficulties being faced, we may place the baby with the Adoptive Parents.

We are concerned about the health and well-being of the baby?

So are we, which is why we ask our Birth Mothers to sign a Release of Information that enables us to access their medical records. We believe having a complete medical history is important so Adoptive Parents can make appropriate medical decisions for the child.

What does it mean when it mentions birth mother used cigarettes daily, marijuana weekly, etc.?

All our Birth mothers are required to fill out a self-report medical and social history. Included in the medical section are questions about substance use. We ask for information on the type of substances used, currently and in the past, and how often the substance was/is used. Of course, we cannot guarantee accuracy with any self-reported information, which is why we require substance testing. We maintain a judgment-free environment and encourage honesty from our Birth Mothers, but we also believe it is important to have as complete a history as we can get as it benefits everyone, especially the baby.

What tests will be run on the baby?

Where indicated, we order HIV, hepatitis, and a drug screen, to go along with all testing routinely done at all hospitals on newborns. If you request other tests, these can almost always be obtained. We require you to request additional testing before birth, as it is not fair to the baby to submit them to additional testing, which could have been done by taking one blood draw.

What types of tests will be run on the Birth Mother?

Birth Mothers will generally be screened for HIV, drug screening, hepatitis syphilis, anemia, and all normal OB/GYN testing. Prospective Adoptive Parents may request additional testing but may not request amniocentesis unless it is suggested by Birth Mother’s medical professional for a genuine medical reason. Sonograms are routinely used as a screening tool.

Does your adoption agency require drug testing for your birth mothers?

Yes, we do require drug testing for our birth mothers. We have a judgment-free environment and encourage our Birth Mothers to be honest and disclose their substance use, past and present. We require self-report, but we also require testing. Birth Mothers choosing not to disclose are welcome to work with other agencies that do not require disclosure. We believe it is in everyone’s best interest to be open and honest, and the one who benefits the most from this is the baby.

We believe Adoptive Parents have the right to know about substance use and the possible impact on the child. We explain to our Birth Mothers that it is important to be open and honest because their baby may need medical attention after birth for substance withdrawal. We also believe Adoptive Parents need to know to make an informed decision on whether to Match or continue the Match. Most importantly, Adoptive Parents need to know to ensure the baby is provided with the best medical care after birth.

Our Agency requires access to Birth Mothers’ medical records and testing results. Hospitals routinely do blood tests on babies to look for substances when they know there is an adoption plan. In addition, medical staff is trained to look for signs of substance withdrawal in the baby.

We do everything we possibly can to ensure full disclosure; sometimes, despite our best efforts, it is discovered that the baby is showing signs of withdrawal after birth. If we know this, we are committed to disclosing it to the Adoptive Parents. We respect and uphold the right of all our Adoptive Parents to back out of the Match if they discover substance use. We have found there are always Adoptive Parents who are willing to parent a child who has been exposed to substances, and therefore there is no reason for us to put pressure on Adoptive Parents to go through with a Match against their wishes. Adoptive Parents are never penalized for backing out of a Match because substance use is discovered. We are happy to place parents back on the waiting list and will happily facilitate a new Match.

What information will the birth parents have about me?

Any information you put in your Profile, in any letters you write to the Birth Mother, any information you have disclosed, or information you gave the agency permission to disclose.

Can the Birth Mother communicate with the Adoptive Parents and child after the adoption?

Yes, but only if that was part of the agreed-upon adoption plan by both parties. This may be subject to change if it can be shown to the court that it is in the child’s best interest.

Can the birth mother change her mind after signing the legal consents to the adoption?

No, unless the court finds that the Consent to Adoption was signed under fraud or duress. However, if the child is over six (6) months, when the birth mother signs the Consent, the Consent is subject to a revocation period of three (3) business days.

Can the birth mother change her mind before signing the legal consents to the adoption?

Yes.

When does the Birth Mother actually sign the legal documents required for the adoption?

In the State of Florida, Birth Mother cannot sign her Consent for Adoption until 48 hours after the baby is born.  She can sign earlier if she is discharged from the hospital before 48 hours (which does not usually happen unless she requests to be allowed to go). She can change her mind about the adoption anytime up until the time of signing.

Can the birth mother see and hold the baby after the birth?

Yes.  She has every right to see, hold, and spend time with the baby, up to the point where she has signed her consent to the adoption. She will make her wishes known when we work with her on her hospital requests. However, this plan is not set in stone if she changes her mind and wants more or less contact, she is entitled to do that.

What expenses can the adoptive parents pay to, or on behalf of the birth mother and child?

The law is very firm on the types of expenses which prospective Adoptive Parents can pay. The law states “reasonable living expenses.” There is a good reason why the law makes this stipulation, it is to prevent the “buying” of babies. Reasonable living expenses can include living expenses such as rent, utilities, telephone service, food, hygiene products, maternity clothes, transportation, and medical expenses which benefit the health of the mother and an unborn baby. The law allows expenses to be paid during the pregnancy and for up to 6 weeks after birth. Additionally, it is considered reasonable for prospective Adoption Parents to pay for the Birth Mother to have legal counsel for the adoption process and counseling. The prospective Adoptive Parents are also permitted to pay for interim care for the baby after the birth and before placement in the Adoptive Parent’s home. In Florida, prospective Adoptive Parents may only pay $5,000 in expenses on behalf of the Birth Mother. Expenses that exceed $5,000 must be approved by the court, and it is up to each Judge whether or not they will approve the additional funds.

Can birth mothers receive living expenses?

Yes. Florida law permits adoptive parents to pay reasonable living expenses, during the pregnancy and for a maximum of six weeks following delivery, if the birth mother is unemployed, underemployed or suffering from a medically diagnosed disability.

Can the birth mother choose the adoptive parents?

Yes. We prefer and encourage our Birth Parents to be as involved as possible in selecting an Adoptive Family for their child. We believe this provides for a more committed Adoption Plan.

What is the next step?

Simply fill out the preliminary application and submit it to us with the initial Fee. After you complete your preliminary application, we will review your information and will contact you with the necessary paperwork to start the adoption process. Since each family has their own unique situation, we offer private consultations which will acquaint you further with the process of adoption. You are welcome to contact us and take advantage of the opportunity to speak one-on-one with one of our Adoption Specialists. Scheduling a consultation is the first step toward working with our agency, but does not obligate you in any way.

How do I get started?

Families needing a home study can get started by reading the information on our Home Study Page.  After reading the information on home studies, email Office@FloridaAdoptionCenter.com to set up an orientation appointment.

Families that are already home study approved and wanting to become a waiting family can download our Waiting Family Welcome Packet.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out. No Obligation!

How does Florida Adoption Center avoid scams and disruptions?

Florida Adoption Center’s proven adoption professionals are experienced in adoptions, but also have counseling and behavioral analysis backgrounds. This education and experience means we are more likely to recognize early indications of intentional fraudulent behavior. Additionally, our programs have been set up to protect Adoptive Parents from fraud, as much as possible. We work hard to avoid scams and disruptions by offering Birth Mothers extensive counseling opportunities, while they are in the decision-making stage. Once a Birth Mother states she is committed to Adoption, and we feel she is committed to the decision, we will make the Match with Adoptive Parents. We also believe it is important to foster a strong relationship of trust between a Birth Mother and the Adoptive Parents.

We offer 24/7 support to our Birth Mothers, and a support system designed to demonstrate our commitment to their health and wellbeing. Instilling a feeling of being supported, and building a rapport and a comfort level, with Birth Mothers has proven to be very instrumental in securing follow through with an adoption plan.

Unfortunately, disruption is a reality which comes with the adoption territory. Florida Adoption Center is fully committed to open and direct communication with our Adoptive Parents who they can be confident that our caring staff will walk them through all aspects of their adoption journey, and will be there to fully support them in the event of a disruption.

We want our Adoptive Parents to be assured, in the event of a disruption, which was due to no fault, failure, action or inaction of the part of the Adoptive Parents, they will be placed on a priority list for a Re-Match.

If I have a disrupted adoption how will this affect my position on the waiting list?

Any time we have a disruption, we give the Adoptive Family priority for a new match. Our disruption rate is low because we take care to ensure Birth Parents are committed to the Adoption BEFORE we Match them with Adoptive Parents. Of course, the nature of Adoptions means that we cannot guarantee anything, and disruptions will still occur from time to time.

Will I receive a refund of living expenses if the birth mother does not place?

Our agency works on a Fee for Service basis. All fees are paid as and when they are earned and are therefore non-refundable. We believe our fees are fair and equitable. Please see our fee schedule for full details.

What Is the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children?

The Interstates Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a law that governs adoptions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ICPC contains 10 articles establishing procedures for interstate placement of children and assigning responsibilities to all parties involved in the adoption process. The ICPC comes into force when a baby is born in one state (sending state) and is being adopted by Adopted Parents who live in a different state (receiving state). In this situation, Adoptive Parents travel to the state where the baby is born. To be allowed to leave the state of birth with the baby, ICPC paperwork must be sent by UPS or Federal Express to the ICPC office in the receiving state.

The paperwork typically required by ICPC is the baby’s medical records, discharge paperwork from the hospital, and copies of Consent, along with adoptive parents’ home study, background checks, Nomination of Guardianship, and letters from the agency. ICPC’s typical processing time is a week to ten days, but it can take longer. We typically suggest Adoptive Parents should plan on a two-week stay in the sending state while ICPC paperwork is processed. One Adoptive Parent can stay if both are not available. The wait can seem long, but it is a good opportunity to spend quality time with the baby. If Adoptive Parents cannot stay for two weeks, we can arrange for interim care, but we prefer not to do this as this is an important opportunity to bond with your newborn. Adoptive Parents are allowed (in Florida) to stay with the baby until ICPC permission is granted to take the baby to the receiving state. The Adoptive Parents and baby MUST remain in the sending state until they have ICPC approval to leave with the baby. Failure to wait for permission can put the adoption in jeopardy.

The ICPC safeguards all parties involved in the adoption, but it especially protects the child. The receiving state can deny the adoption if all its conditions are unmet. The receiving states will ensure Post Placement Supervision takes place to protect the child. The Adoption Agency in the sending state retains legal jurisdiction until the adoption is Finalized.

Please know that we have no control over the individual processing time of ICPC paperwork, and each ICPC office is slightly different. We will keep you informed of any updates we receive and will wait as eagerly as our Adoptive Parents for approval.

The ICPC does not apply to children who are adopted by family members or other relatives.

What is the Indian Child Welfare Act?

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) refers to a federal law enacted in 1978. The purpose of the law is to protect Native American Indian children who are members of an Indian Tribe, or eligible for membership in a tribe, from being placed for adoption with Non Native American Indian families. The ICWA allows a tribe to intervene in the Termination of Parental Rights proceedings, and allows for jurisdiction to be transferred to the tribe. In order to safeguard against any unexpected interruptions, due to ICSW, we ask the Birth Parents to declare whether their child is eligible for membership in any tribe, and we contact that tribe to ascertain their intentions. Any adoption where a Native American Tribe is involved is considered “At Risk” until official notification is received from the tribe stating the adoption can continue without intervention from the Tribe.

Should I update my will?

Yes. Everyone should have a Last Will and Testament, but if you have children it is especially important. When writing your Will it is best to specifically name each child, adopted and natural, as your beneficiaries. In addition, your Will is the only document where you can, and should, name the person you wish to act as guardian for your children and conservator of their property. As with any legal question, we urge you to seek the advice of your attorney, and accountant.

Is the earned income credit and child tax credit available for adopted children?

Yes. These are two different and separate benefits. If you qualify for either one, it is available for an Adopted Child just as it would be for any of your other children. Check with your tax preparer to see if you qualify.

Can I claim the dependency deduction?

As with any Tax question, we recommend you check with your tax advisor, but generally speaking you can claim the deduction for the year the child is placed in your home. If you do not yet have a social security number you may apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number which can be issued in the interim. You must complete IRS Form W-7 (see “Resources” section).

Is there a tax credit for adoption?

Yes, there is. The Adoption Tax Credit can be used to offset taxes and may be used to claim “reasonable Birth Mother expenses” such as rent, utilities, food, maternity clothing, etc. The tax credit can also be used to help defray the expenses incurred even when the adoption is disrupted, and a Birth Mother changes her mind and decides to parent.

Please see our section Help Paying for an Adoption for more information. It is important to check with your tax preparer or accountant as income limits do apply.

When can I obtain a social security card for the baby?

You can apply for a social security card for the child once you have the new Birth Certificate. The social security card can be applied for at your social security office.

When can I obtain a birth certificate?

The birth certificate can be applied for after the Adoption has been finalized. It usually takes 4 – 6 weeks after Finalization to obtain. We will make the application for a new birth certificate when the time comes.

What about post-adoption support?

We are committed to ensuring our Adoptive Families have support. We provide referrals to community resources for such things as support groups, case management, and parenting training. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are overwhelmed. Our aim is a healthy adjustment for all involved.

What is post placement supervision?

Florida law requires the Adoption Entity (usually whoever wrote the Home Study) to provide Post Placement Supervision for a minimum of 90 days after the child is placed with the Adoptive Parents. Supervision visits must occur monthly, to check on the welfare of the child, see whether they are thriving, and monitor how well the Adoptive Family is adjusting to their new family member.

Can a Birth Mother change her mind once the Consent for Adoption is signed?

Once a Birth Mother has signed the Consent for Adoption, it is binding unless she can prove she was coerced, under duress, or fraud was committed to getting her to sign. If, however, the child was six months or older and placed in the home of Adoptive Parents, there is a 3 business day recision period where she can revoke her consent. If the child is placed in a foster care setting, she may revoke her consent even if the 3 days have passed. This recision period is put in place to safeguard an overwhelmed mother from placing her child for adoption when respite care is all that is needed.

Can a baby be placed for adoption without the consent of Birth Parents?

Yes, if it’s due to abuse or neglect the Courts have Terminated Parental Rights, or when Birth Parents are deceased.

Can the child be placed in the home of the Potential Adoptive Parents prior to the actual court procedures?

Yes, absolutely, but it must be understood that it is considered to be an At-risk placement until the Termination of Parental Rights has occurred. Termination of Parental Rights usually occurs approximately thirty days after Birth Parents have consented to the adoption.

When does the Adoption become final?

Florida law allows Finalization to occur after 90 days of Post Placement Supervision has taken place. However, this assumes all other requirements have been satisfied by that time. For an adoption to be finalized, the Birth Parents’ parental rights must first have been terminated. The Petition for Adoption cannot be set for final hearing until 30 days after entry of the Final Judgment Terminating Parental Rights. In the best-case scenario, Finalization can occur within 90 days of the child being placed in the Adoptive Parent’s home, but delays can occur if the Birth Parents (usually the father) do not cooperate or if there is a wait for a hearing date because of the court docket.

When are legal adoption papers filed with the court?

Legal paperwork is filed after the baby is born and the Birth Parents have signed their Consent for Adoption. If Biological Parents have consented to the adoption and waived Service of Process and Notice, the Termination of Parental Rights can occur. However, if time is needed to serve the parties’ notice of the hearing, the Termination of parental rights will not take place for at least thirty (30) days after the papers have been signed. The final adoption hearing will then occur at least 30 days after the TPR or ninety (90) days after the adoptive parents take physical custody of the child, whichever is longer.

When will does the Birth Mother sign the Consent for Adoption?

According to Florida law, the Birth Mother cannot sign the Consent for Adoption until 48 hours after delivery, unless she is discharged from the hospital earlier (does not usually happen unless Birth Mother requests to leave sooner). In cases where the Birth Mother has had a C-section the wait for Consents to be signed may be longer as the Birth Mother cannot sign any legal documents while she is under the influence of prescribed narcotic medications.

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, you don’t need to retain your own attorney if the Finalization occurs in Florida. The attorney we use can also handle the Finalization proceeding on your behalf if you wish, which does make the process cheaper for the Adoptive Parents. Every states has its own Adoption Laws. If an Adoption is going to be Finalized in a state other than Florida you will need an attorney who specializes in Adoption Law as it pertains to that state.

How does an adoptee request access to their adoption file?

Once Finalization has occurred, adoption records are sealed and can only be opened with an order from the court. Judges will only consider unsealing adoption files if there is a very good cause; an example would be an adopted child needing an organ donor from a close family member.

Florida has an Adoption Registry (different states have different registries) where all members of the Adoption Triad can register if they wish to contact each other. To be eligible to join the registry, you must be either an Adult Adoptee, Birth Sibling, Birth Aunt or Uncle, Birth Grandparent, or an Adoptive Parent making contact on behalf of an Adopted Child. To be contacted via the registry, the Adoptee and a Birth relative must be registered. If an Adoptee and a Birth Parent both register, their information is matched by the registry, and their contact information is released to the other party. We have included Florida Adoption Reunion Registry information in our resource section and the registration application. There is a registration fee, and we suggest checking the Reunion Registry Website for current pricing.

The address to contact the Florida Adoption Registry is:

Florida Reunion Registry: 1317 Winewood Blvd., Tallahassee, Fl. 29399-0700

In addition, an adoptee (or Adoptive Parents if the Adoptee is a minor) can contact the Adoption entity or Adoption Attorney for non-identifying information, such as medical history. Our Agency typically releases this information to the Adoptive Parents at the time of the Adoption.

How and when will we know when the baby is born?

We are committed to being available to our Birth Mothers 24 hours a day and have a call system where Birth Mothers can reach us at any time. Obviously, we will need a good way to contact you when the time arrives, and your cell phone is a great way. Please be sure to keep us updated with any changes in contact numbers. Additionally, be aware babies can arrive at very inconvenient times, and we may call you in the middle of the night if Birth Mother requests your presence at the delivery.

Should I call your office to get updates about my place on the list?

We are happy to keep in contact with you and provide updates, as we recognize this is an emotional time for all involved. However, it is impossible to give you information on where you are on the list as Matching involves a lot of variables, and the amount of time you have been on the list does not necessarily mean you are closer to being placed, as your criteria may mean you are likely to have a longer wait. For example, Adoptive parents open to any race or gender will likely experience a shorter wait time than those who only consider a Caucasian baby.

As far as keeping in touch is concerned, we do find it helpful if you let us know if you are going to be traveling out of the country and will not be contactable by phone (say on a cruise ship), just in case we have a Safe Haven baby that we need to place at short notice. We don’t suggest you never travel, but we do suggest you let us know you won’t be available by phone for a particular period.

What kind of contact will we have with the Birth Parents?

The kind of contact Adoptive Parents have with Birth Parents depends upon what is desired by each party. Some Birth Mothers don’t want to meet the Adoptive Parents, while others really want to get to know you. In most cases, it is common to have a telephone or Zoom meeting initially, followed by possible in-person meetings or meetings. Sometimes, the parties meet at the hospital for the first time when the baby is born, while others have an ongoing relationship during the pregnancy.

How long before I will be matched with a birth mother?

It is impossible to say. Wait times vary depending upon the criteria Adoptive Parents specify. Adoptive Parents who state they will only consider a Caucasian baby, of a stated gender, with no exposure to substances will likely have a longer wait time compared to Adoptive Parents who do not mind the gender and are open to any race. We instruct our clients on how to do their networking and be proactive on their behalf. Many families who are proactive in networking find that it speeds up the search process considerably and gives them more control over the selection of a birth mother. Our Agency believes in having great relationships in the community and with other Agencies, and we find this approach gives us access to more Adoptable babies and shortens waiting times.

Will the birth mother receive counseling?

We strongly advocate for the importance of the Birth Mother having the opportunity for counseling. We feel so strongly about counseling that we insist on it to the extent we can. Obviously, we cannot force a Birth Mother to do anything she does not want to do. Additionally, we have a mentoring program that provides a support system for our Birth Mothers in both group and individual settings.

What should we say or not say in communicating with the birth parents?

When Adoptive Parents meet and interact with Birth Parents, it is important to remember that these meetings are designed so that both parties can get to know each other. The best advice we can offer is to be yourself. If the plan is a Closed Adoption, it is important that Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents remember not to disclose any information or details which might disclose identities. It is always a good idea to show empathy for the Birth Parent’s situation and for Birth Mother’s health and wellbeing, but do not interrogate or ask for personal information, which may alienate her. Instead, if you have questions on social and personal history or medical matters, let us know, and we will handle that for you.

How am I Matched with a Birth Mother?

The Birth Mother is the person who ultimately chooses the Adoptive Family for her child. She will states the qualities she is looking for in the Adoptive Parents/Family, and using those guidelines she will make a selection from the profiles. In some instances the Birth Mother will interview several families before making a final selection. Adoptive Parents also have some say in the matter, especially in an Open Adoption. In those cases it is important for both Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents to feel comfortable with the Match. In some cases the Birth Mother does not want to be involved in the selection process. In those cases we will make the selection, giving preference to Adoptive Parents who have been waiting the longest for a Match.

What is an Adoptive Parent Profile?

An Adoptive Parent Profile is a compilation of information that Prospective Adoptive Parents put together to introduce themselves to Birth Parents. The Adoptive Parent Profile may include photographs of the Adoptive Family, information on their family, pets, home, jobs, hobbies, and interests. We use the Adoptive Parent Profiles as a tool to help Adoptive Parents choose prospective parents for their children. The Profile is usually the first opportunity Birth Parents have to view and meet the Adoptive Parents. We suggest the Profile should show your personality and originality. Every Birth Mother is different, and there is no right or wrong way to present your family. It is impossible to tell what will make you attractive to a Birth Mother. We do ask that identifying information be excluded from the Adoptive Parent Profile; first names are fine. It is also advisable to leave out other information with can be used to identify you or your family members. Include lots of pictures which tell the story of your life and your family. Our Adoption Specialists will advise and guide you on what to include. A great resource to use to put together a profile is Shutterfly, where pictures and captions can be created online to produce a hard copy book.

What is a home study?

A Home Study is required for all Adoptive Parents. The Home Study is a report which contains information on the Adoptive Parents and includes criminal background checks, financial information, medical, and social history, a safety evaluation of the home environment, and much more. The Home Study is such an important part of the Adoption Process we devoted an entire section of the website to it. Please see our “Home Study” section which explains the entire process in detail.

What exactly does a Diligent Search involve?

When a Birth Mother knows who the Biological Father is, but his location is unknown, a diligent search must be conduction. A diligent search includes making inquiries such as, attempting to contact the person at their current or last known address through the U.S. Postal Service (Freedom of Information Act); contacting the person’s last known employer; contacting relatives (from information gained from Birth Mother and other available sources; inquiring with law enforcement agencies where the person last resided; Department of Corrections; utility company records; Armed Forces base locator records; tax assessor and tax collector etc. If, information is found showing the Biological father has died, documentation must be obtained proving this fact. Agencies contacted during a Diligent Search must release information, without a subpoena or a court order, except when prohibited by law.

The Agency or Adoption entity will file an Affidavit of Diligent search with the court. The Diligent Search may be conducted before the baby is born. If a Diligent Search fails to locate the biological father, the court will approve a judgment of Termination of his Parental Rights. The Adoption Agency cannot be held accountable for a failure to contact a biological father because of the Birth Mother’s failure to provide sufficient information needed to locate father.

Can the birth father change his mind after signing the legal consents to the adoption?

No. In all cases the Consents are binding, unless Birth Father (or Birth Mother for that matter) prove they signed Consents under duress.

Can a minor father sign the Consent to the Adoption paperwork, placing the child for adoption?

Yes. As long as the minor father is over the age of 14 years, he may sign the Consent to Adoption. If he is 14 or under, he may still sign, but his signature must be witnessed by his parent, legal guardian, or guardian ad litem.

Can the Birth Father change his mind about the Adoption Plan at any time before signing the consents to the adoption?

Yes.

Can the biological father of the baby claim his rights to the child before the birth?

Yes. If he has decided to make a claim to the child and his intention is to parent, he should register with the Putative Father Registry. He should also file an affidavit stating he plans to parent and his plan of care for the child. If the child has not been born, he should make every attempt to pay a share of the Birth Mother’s living expenses, which would include medical expenses for the Birth Mother while she is pregnant. When possible it is helpful to his case if he has also attempted to support the Birth Mother through the pregnancy emotionally. It may be advisable for him to retain an attorney who can advise him on the best way to protect his rights.

What happens if the mother refuses to give the name of the biological father?

When a Birth Mother refuses to identify the biological father, we will explain to her the importance of giving as much information as possible to facilitate the adoption proceedings. If she refuses to cooperate, we will conduct a search of the Putative Father Registry using any information we do have.

What happens if the mother does not know who the biological father is?

When a Birth Mother does not know who the biological father is, she must sign an affidavit giving any details; she does know about possible fathers. She must also state whether she was married or cohabiting with anyone when the conception occurred. We will search the Putative Father Registry to attempt to identify potential fathers.

What is the difference between a legal father and named birth father?

A man is considered to be the legal father if he was married to the Birth Mother at the time the child was conceived. This does not necessarily mean he is also the biological father. A named Birth Father is a man who the Birth Mother has identified as the biological father.

Fee Schedule

Fee schedules are unique to every adoption. Our fee schedule itemizes all expenses which may be included in an adoption. Not all the expenses listed apply to every situation. Prospective Adoptive Parents are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss their circumstances.

Services throughout Central Florida. Including but are not limited to Melbourne, Orlando, Palm Bay, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Kissimmee, St Cloud, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Daytona Beach, St Augustine, Lakeland, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee, Gainesville, All Florida.