Adoption F.A.Q.’s for Birth and Adoptive Parents
We have gathered the Frequently Asked Questions of both our Birth Mothers and Adoptive Families here. We hope you find it helpful but if you cannot find the answer to your questions on this page please don’t hesitate to contact us. Florida Adoption Center is always happy to help!
We are here to help answer ALL your adoption questions!
Our adoption agency works with courageous Birth Mothers who lovingly chose to make an Adoption Plan for their child and caring couples who wish to become parents through adoption. Millions of women experience an unplanned pregnancy every year. For some women, an unexpected pregnancy can be a happy surprise, but for others, it can be devastating. Many women don’t know where to turn and don’t know who to turn to when they learn of their unexpected pregnancy. If you find yourself in a crisis pregnancy situation, please know you are not alone and the Florida Adoption Center will help you in any way we can. Our Adoption F.A.Q.’s for Birth and Adoptive Parents section is a start but please call our office at 321-250-5683 to get personalized help. You will soon discover you are far from alone.
As an adoption agency, we dedicate ourselves to making the adoption process as plain to understand as possible. Over the years we have answered many questions that Birth moms or Adoptive parents might have and we have collected the ones we hear most frequently here in our voluminous FAQ section. We feel the more prepared the birth mother and adoptive parents are, the more smoothly the adoption process can proceed. If you don’d find the answers you are searching for you can call our office. No obligation for information sharing!
Adoption F.A.Q.’s for Birth and Adoptive Parents Answered by an Expert!
Carrie Thomas, MS., has a Master’s Degree in Psychology. Carrie has lived in Brevard County since 1980 and has provided social services since 1994.
What are my parenting options?
What if I don’t have any trusted friends or family I can discuss my pregnancy with?
Please give us a call. We will help you work through your initial panic and help you sort through your emotions and feelings. We will help you come up with a plan that is feasible and feels right.
What if my family and friends say they will help me to parent?
Having family and friends gather around and promise their support is wonderful and something every new Mom needs. But consider this, everyone gets excited at the thought of a cuddly, sweet-smelling newborn, but what about when the novelty wears off? The people promising your support now have they been true to their word in the past. Have they always been there for you, or have they let you down in the past time and time again? The people who say they will be there for you when the baby comes and for months and years to come, do you really trust that they will be there to support you? Or have they made promises in the past that they didn’t keep? Parenting is a long road. At a minimum of 18 years long. You will need as many reliable friends and family members around you as possible. We can help you explore and evaluate your support systems, and help you devise a parenting plan if that is your choice.
Why should I discuss my pregnancy with family and trusted friends?
You should discuss your pregnancy options with family and trusted friends because parenthood is a tough job, and you will need their support if you decide you want to parent. If you are considering Adoption, you will want to process your thoughts and feelings with trusted friends and family. A pregnancy, if you choose to continue with it, isn’t something you can keep hidden forever anyway.
Who should I discuss my pregnancy with?
You should discuss your pregnancy with anyone you can trust to listen without judging and who will support you whatever your decision. Ideally, you should discuss your pregnancy with the baby’s father, your parents, and close family, and with anyone who is there for you when times are tough. You should choose to share this information with people who will give you thoughtful and unbiased advice. Try not to share with people who will judge you or say whatever they think you want to hear. Share with people you know will support you, not those who disappear when the going gets tough.
What Post Adoption Support do you offer?
If you wish, you can continue to meet with your Adoption Specialist long after the adoption. We are happy to work with you to help you achieve your goals and dreams. Perhaps you want to go back to school, earn your GED, or get a job? We want to be there to help you celebrate your successes.
We also help facilitate the exchange of updates after the adoption has been finalized.
What happens if I need counseling after the Adoption?
We are committed to providing our Birth Mothers with counseling to help them deal with their feelings, both before and after the adoption. Our goal is for our Birth Mothers to be in a good place emotionally when they leave our program.
Will the hospital staff know I have an Adoption Plan?
We will usually write to the hospital Social Worker (with your permission, of course) to inform them of your birth plan. We do this, so the hospital staff knows your wishes on privacy and the Adoptive Parent’s interaction with you and the baby ahead of time.
The hospital Social Workers meet with all new mothers, and it is usually easier for you if they know your plans concerning adoption. If they don’t know, they will ask irrelevant questions, such as “do you have a car seat to take the baby home in?” It is just easier and less awkward for you if the Social Worker knows ahead of time what to expect. You can expect the hospital Social Workers to meet with you and provide emotional support if you need it. In addition, you will have your Adoption Specialist, who will have supported you through your Adoption journey to this point, at the hospital to provide you with support and act as your advocate.
Can I spend time with the baby after the birth?
That is entirely up to you. If you wish to spend time with the baby in your room, you may. If you want to take photographs together with the baby, that’s fine too. Perhaps you would like to make a memory box to send with your baby, filled with letters from you, photographs, or toys as a wonderful gift for your child. You may want to have the baby and the Adoptive parents in your room so that they can begin the bonding process and you can witness their interaction. Whatever your wishes are, they will be respected.
What kind of decisions will I be asked to make?
The types of decisions you will be offered an opportunity to make include:
- Do you want to look at Adoptive Family Profiles?
- Do you want to meet Adoptive Families in person, talk to them over the phone, exchange letters, or not meet them at all?
- Who would you like at the hospital when you give birth?
- Do you want your Adoption Specialist to be at the hospital for moral support?
- Who would you like in the birthing suite?
- Would you like to hold and spend time with the baby after the birth, or would you like the baby to go to the nursery?
- Are you happy for the Adoptive Parents to spend time bonding with the baby in the nursery?
- Would you like to have photographs of you and your baby together?
- Would you like to make a memory box and write letters for the baby to keep?
- Do you have someone you would like to be your witness when you sign the Consent for Adoption?
How involved can I be in the Adoption process?
How involved do you want to be? This is your Adoption Plan! We want you to feel comfortable and involved in every decision. In fact, we call it a “Personalized Adoption Plan” because every adoption is different, and your plan will be customized just for you and your baby. We will involve you every step of the way, and we will respect your wishes. If there is anything you don’t want to be involved in, just tell us; that’s OK too.
What if I live outside of Florida?
Not a problem! We work with expectant Mothers wherever they live, even if that is in another state. We will still provide you with services, by coordinating with a partner agency. We will provide support no matter where you are, and will assign you an Adoption Specialist to support you through your Adoption journey. If the Adoptive family lives in another state we will arrange for you to have Skype meetings, or telephone meetings, to get to know each other. If you do live in Florida, we will make arrangements to meet either in our office or another location of your choosing, wherever you feel more comfortable.
I have already placed a baby with Adoptive Parents and now I am pregnant again. Can I place this baby with the same Adoptive Parents?
If this situation arises, we will contact the original Adoptive Parents to find out if they are willing or able to parent your second child. We will relay their answer to you, and if they can adopt the new baby, we will facilitate the Adoption Plan. If they cannot parent another child, we will discuss the alternative options with you and formulate a plan together.
Do I have to pay to make an Adoption Plan?
The answer to that is NO.
Our services are absolutely free for women who are pregnant and make an adoption plan. We will provide you with practical help, guidance, and counseling to support you through the entire process to put you in a better position once you leave our program. You may also be eligible to receive financial assistance for certain pregnancy-related expenses.
What services will I receive from Florida Adoption Center?
Together, we will create a Personalized Adoption Plan which specifically addresses your needs and desires. Our services will be based on the Adoption and Birth experience you want. We provide services that include pre and post-adoption counseling, matching services, and support and guidance through the entire process from beginning to finalization. At our expense, we will contract with a family law attorney who will handle the legal aspects of the adoption. Help with Housing, food, transportation, phone, toiletries, clothes, and medical expenses.
I already have a child. Can I choose adoption?
Yes, it doesn’t matter whether this is your first child or you have 5 others at home; you may still make an Adoption Plan. When older children are in the family, they can become confused about adoption, but we will help you find ways to explain the adoption plan to the older children.
Some women choose to parent, leave the hospital with the baby, and then reality hits them. The support they were promised by family and friends disappears after the first few weeks, and they are left with the harsh reality of trying to parent and provide for their child pretty much alone. If this becomes the case, it is not too late to make an Adoption Plan. Many Adoptive Parents are more than willing to adopt an older child, but for the child’s sake, the younger they are at the time of adoption, the easier and less stressful their transition.
How soon do I have to decide whether I want to parent or make an Adoption Plan?
We believe you should take all the time you need to come to a decision. We prefer you take your time to think things through. When you work with our staff, we will help you process your thoughts and feelings over weeks or months as necessary to help you come to a decision that brings you peace. We do not want you to rush the decision.
How long you take to decide depends, of course, on what stage you are in your pregnancy. We work with women who have only just found out and with women about to give birth. We also work with women who initially chose to parent, and decide later it is just too much, and they go on to make an adoption plan. Wherever you are, we can work with you. It is never too late to call us.
I have heard Adoption called a Loving Decision, why is it called that?
Adoption is a loving decision because the decision to make an Adoption Plan puts your baby’s needs before your own. If you are not ready to be a parent or in a position to be able to provide for your baby’s needs, you can provide for your baby’s needs by choosing Adoption. Our adoption specialists have been privileged to witness Birth Mothers cry tears of joy because their child is going to have opportunities in life that they may not otherwise have. It is inspiring to witness a Mother who feels joyful that her child will have a wonderful life because she had the strength to make a selfless and loving decision.
Why would I consider Adoption?
Women who thoughtfully decide adoption is the right decision make the choice out of love for their child. You may not be ready to be a parent, but you can give your baby the gift of life and a gift of love in the form of caring, devoted Adoptive Parents.
If I call with questions, will I have to give my information?
No! We want you to feel comfortable calling for to ask questions or get information. If we ask questions, it is because the more we know, the better we can advise and help you, but we don’t want you to feel obligated to disclose anything you don’t feel comfortable sharing. If you call we will offer help and information. We are here for you if you choose to take the next step.
How can I make an Adoption Plan when I know nothing about Adoption?
It is difficult to decide if you don’t have the right information to base the decision on. That is where we come in. Call us for a meeting, we will explain the whole process and answer all your questions. If you find you have more questions, let’s meet again or call, and we will spend more time covering all your concerns. No Obligation!
What if I decide I want to Parent?
If you decide to parent, please be assured we want to help you get the resources you will need. We will help you navigate community resources and help you get what you need to be ready for the baby’s arrival. We will put you in touch with community partners who can help with baby supplies, cribs, car seats, parenting classes, child care, job training, etc. Together, we will help you explore your options, gather your support groups, and develop a parenting plan.
Where can I get professional help to make my decision on whether or not to parent?
Great Question! Call the Florida Adoption Center and speak with one of our Pregnancy Counselors who can help you work through your decision. Our Agency is different from most. We will not push you to make an adoption plan. We will help you work through all your parenting options. We do not expect your decision to be made overnight, nor should it be made without serious consideration. Instead, we commit to working with you for as long as it takes you to feel comfortable with your decision, whether your decision is adoption or parenting.
What if I have discussed my pregnancy with friends and family, and I still can’t make up my mind whether or not I want to parent?
Deciding to parent or deciding on an Adoption Plan can be a very difficult decision. A decision that shouldn’t be made overnight. It is OK to take your time to think it over. You may find you come to a decision and waiver on that decision many times over. That’s OK. If you would like, call us, and we can arrange for you to meet with one of our counselors, who will help you work through your decision at no cost to you.
Why is Adoption an Alternative Parenting Plan?
Adoption is considered an alternative parenting plan because your child will always be your child. Your child will be raised by another family, but you will always be their Mother. Adoption in the 21st Century is very different from adoption in past. Today, adoption isn’t a shameful thing. Today, adoption is considered a loving choice and a heroic, selfless act. A Birth Mother choosing adoption puts her child’s needs first, and isn’t that what mothers should do?
Today, Birth Mothers have the opportunity to choose a family to parent their child if they wish. The power is in your hands. You will be allowed to look at Profiles of Adoptive Parents and decide whether you would like to speak with them on the phone, exchange letters, or meet in person. You can decide if you want an Open Adoption where everyone’s identity is disclosed or a Semi-Open Adoption where only first names are exchanged, or you can choose a Closed Adoption where you and the Adoptive Parents remain anonymous. You can decide if you want updates (letters, pictures, etc.) and whether you want to see your child in person for visits.
What if people say I am being selfish for making an Adoption Plan? What should I say when they say something like that?
Choosing to make an Adoption is the most unselfish decision. Tell them you would be selfish to choose to parent if you are not equipped to be a parent. Choosing adoption is a strong and unselfish decision, especially when you recognize it is the best choice for your child. Adoption can be positive for everyone involved. Your child will have all the opportunities and positive experiences in life you would want for her or him. If your current living situation is difficult, would you really want your child to live in that situation too? Maybe, you have goals and plans for your future. Maybe you feel you are too young to be a parent. Isn’t it a better decision to allow your child the chance of a happy, fulfilled life while you move forward to accomplish your goals? Adoption is a rewarding experience and an amazing act of love. You will be offering your child an opportunity for a loving family and fulfilling the hopes and dreams of Adoptive Parents who have likely longed for a child for many years.
During this time, it is important for you to surround yourself with supportive people. There will always be those who want to tear you down. Avoid those people! Share why you chose an Adoption Plan with those who will support your decision, and educate them on how special adoption truly is.
How do I tell my family or friends about my adoption?
Finding the strength to tell friends and family about your Adoption Plan can be difficult. It is an emotional subject. It may be easier if you tell them your reasons. They may accept it easier if they know you have put a lot of thought into the decision. If you find it hard to say it face to face, try writing a letter. You can either have them read the letter, with you present or not, or you could read it to them. Ask them to listen to you, as you explain, without interrupting and offer to answer any questions they may have at the end. Remember, you may have come to this decision over a period of time and had time to process your feelings, but they are hearing the news for the first time. Think about what their reaction is likely to be, and prepare for that. If you are unsure how to tell them, ask your Adoption Specialist for advice, and maybe role-play telling your family with her.
What is an Open Adoption?
An Open Adoption is an adoption where all parties to the adoption (Birth Mother/Parents and Adoptive Parents) know the identities of the other members. Usually, they will have an opportunity to meet and sometimes form a relationship. In an Open Adoption, the Birth Mother and Adoptive Parents will agree, with the help of the Agency and/or Adoption Attorney, to specify what contact will take place between the child and the Birth Parents after the adoption is finalized.
What is a Semi-Closed or Semi-Open Adoption?
Semi-closed or semi-open adoptions are just two different ways of saying the same thing. We prefer to use the term Semi-Open Adoption. In a Semi-Open adoption, birth parents and adoptive parents may meet in person, but no identifying information is exchanged. Usually, each party will refer to the other by first name only. Any medical records released to the Adoptive Parents, with Birth Mom’s permission, will have all identifying information redacted (erased). In the future, any updates provided to the Birth Parents will not contain any identifying information. In this situation, updates and pictures would be sent through a third-party source, ChildConnect.com
What is a Closed Adoption?
A closed adoption is where Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents do not exchange identifying information. They will not meet in person, and their identities will be kept confidential. In situations where medical records are released to the Adoptive Parents, with Birth Mom’s permission, all identifying information will be redacted (erased).
What is an Adoption Facilitator?
An adoption facilitator may be a clergyman, or doctor, who facilitates adoption by putting two parties together (Birth Mother/Parents and Adoptive Parents) who may already know each other. Facilitators are not licensed adoption agencies; they cannot charge a fee and do not provide other services. They link two parties together that’s it. To tell the difference between a facilitator and an Adoption Agency, ask to see their Child Placing License. The facilitator won’t have a license.
What is an Adoption Attorney?
An Adoption attorney specializes in Family Law and is competent in adoption law. Most attorneys concentrate on the legal aspects of adoption. They may work with an Adoption Agency that does the home study process for them. An attorney rarely provides other services to the Birth Mothers. Here at Florida Adoption Center, we have a Family Law Attorney who handles all the adoption legal work, and we do the rest.
What is an Adoption Agency?
Adoption Agencies are licensed by the State. In Florida, they are licensed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). This Agency is licensed as a child-placing agency and provides services to Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents. Our services include pre and post-adoption counseling, home study services, matching of Birth Parents with Adoptive Parents, and other support services. All our Birth Mothers are assigned an Adoption Specialist who supports them, acts as her advocate, and guides them through the adoption process. We believe in putting the power in the Birth Mother’s hands, offering choices every step of the way, and helping her to create her Personalized Adoption Plan.
I don’t know anyone who has chosen adoption. Can I talk with other women who have made an adoption plan?
Absolutely, we are happy to arrange opportunities for you to meet Birth Mothers willing to share their experiences with you.
How can I be sure the families your Agency works with are the best possible choices for my baby?
Florida Adoption Center’s experienced staff conducts multiple interviews and evaluations on all our Adoptive Families. Adoptive Families undergo extensive background screening procedures and psychosocial evaluations during the screening process. Our Adoptive families come from various backgrounds and races and have a variety of careers and interests. Our waiting families are all financially stable, live in nice homes, are near good schools, and are in a position to offer your child a wonderful life. We will help you choose a waiting family who suits your personal preferences. If you want your child to be in a family with strong faith or who matches your religious beliefs, we will honor that too. If you want your child to have the opportunity to travel, go to college one day, or have a large extended family, we can work on finding a family that fits your expectations. We are committed to finding the perfect family for your baby.
What types of adoptions are possible with Florida Adoption Center?
We offer Open, Semi-Open, and Closed Adoptions. Your Adoption Specialist will explain each option to you. Once you have decided on the type of adoption you would prefer, your Adoption Specialist will guide you in making a Personalized Adoption Plan. Offering choices all the way.
Can I meet with Florida Adoption Center’s staff confidentially to discuss my situation and have all my questions answered?
Absolutely, we want you to have the information you need to make an informed decision. We can meet you at our office or a location of your choice. We prefer to meet at a location where your privacy can be protected, and our meeting remain confidential. If you decide to enter our program, you will be assigned an Adoption Specialist who will support you through the Adoption process, to finalization and beyond. You Adoption Specialist will be available to you any time you need support or guidance.
Is Florida Adoption Center the right adoption agency choice for me?
Of course, we believe the answer to this is YES. Our caring staff is available to assist you seven days a week. We will provide you with information to enable you to make an informed decision. We provide pre-adoption counseling to enable you to work through your feelings and come to a decision you are at peace with. It is important to choose an Adoption Agency where you feel comfortable with the staff and the services. At our Agency, you will be assigned an Adoption Specialist who will work with you, build a relationship with you, and work on your behalf as your advocate. Your Adoption Specialist will work with you to create a Personalized Adoption Plan. You will be offered choices every step of the way, and the power will remain in your hands.
Do I have to make my mind up before calling Florida Adoption Center?
No, very few women call having already made up their mind. An adoption decision is an ongoing process. We believe it is important to have all the information before making a decision. We welcome your questions and the opportunity to help you through the decision-making process and offer a no-pressure environment. Adoption has to be the right decision for the baby, for you, and for your family. It is rare for a woman to call us and be committed to an adoption plan at her first phone call. We welcome the opportunity to give you the facts and work with you to make a decision you are comfortable with.
Your daughter is pregnant?
We can understand you may be upset. We get calls all the time from parents about their pregnant daughters. An unexpected pregnancy can be stressful for the entire family. Often, the initial call we receive is a fact-finding mission, gathering information to help the family decide. We are happy to offer guidance and support to you and to your daughter.
Adoption today is not the adoption you may know from your youth. Gone is the stigma. The new philosophy is that adoption is a loving choice and an alternative Parenting Plan made by selfless parents who put the baby’s needs before their own. Today, your daughter will have the opportunity to hand pick Adoptive Parents. If she chooses an Open or Semi-Open Adoption Plan, she may enjoy visits with her child and updates on the child’s progress.
If you wish, we can put you in touch with Adoptive Parents who are willing to share their adoption stories with you. You and your daughter can meet prospective Adoptive Parents and handpick the baby’s adoptive family. This baby is your grandchild, and it may be difficult to think of the child being raised by another family, but by meeting and choosing the family and building a relationship with them, you can feel assured the child will have the best possible upbringing. It is also possible to choose an Open or Semi-Open adoption, where your daughter can receive updates on the child, or personal visits, regularly. In today’s adoption, it is possible to have an ongoing relationship with the child after the adoption is finalized.
It must be remembered the adoption decision is your daughter’s decision. Your love and support during this difficult time are very important. Adoption is never an easy decision, so we will offer professional pre-adoption and post-adoption counseling.
We will be happy to offer you an opportunity to meet with one of our Adoption Specialists for a confidential fact-finding meeting. We will provide you with information and an opportunity to explore the subject of adoption in a no-pressure, nonjudgmental environment.
Can my parents stop me from choosing an Adoption Plan for my baby?
The choice is yours, and yours alone, as long as you are over the age of 13. Your parents cannot legally stop you from choosing an Adoption Plan, even if they disagree with your choice. If you would like to tell them, we will help you do that and support you in your decision. We will offer you pre-adoption counseling so you can feel comfortable with your choice. Keeping an adoption a secret from your family is a big secret to keep, but the decision is yours to make. You will have our support whatever you decide.
I am under the age of eighteen, can I make an Adoption Plan?
If you are over 13 and under 18 years of age, you are legally allowed to consent to adoption without your parent’s permission or consent. If you are under the age of 13 years, your parents, legal guardian, or court-appointed guardian-ad-litem, must witness your signature when you sign the Consent to Adoption.
We always recommend telling your parents; it is a very big secret to keep, but we will respect your wishes if you decide you do not want to tell them. If you want our help in telling your parents, we can assist you to break the news. We are here to support you in whatever decision you make.
What if I have used drugs or alcohol during my pregnancy?
If you have used drugs or alcohol during your pregnancy, all we ask is you make full disclosure. We maintain a judgment-free environment and want the best for you and the baby. You will still be able to make an adoption plan, we will introduce you to Adoptive Parents who are comfortable with prior alcohol or drug use. We also ask that you disclose what substance the baby has been exposed to so the proper medical care can be provided to the baby after birth, should any medical issues arise.
What if I haven’t had any prenatal care?
This may not be the best situation for you or the baby, but we will work with you to get set up with a healthcare provider and Pregnancy Medicaid. Don’t let the fact that you haven’t had pre-natal care stop you from calling us. We want to help, and connect you with resources and medical care.
What if my due date is nearing and I haven’t committed to a plan yet?
Don’t worry it is never too late. You can call us after the birth if you want to. We work with women who give birth and call us at short notice all the time. However, we suggest calling us so that we can plan ahead and fully support you. If you want to be able to meet and interview prospective Adoptive Parents, it is better to plan, but we can work with you whatever the situation. There are always waiting families who are ready for a call at short notice.
What can I expect to feel after I say goodbye?
Every woman deals with Adoption differently. There is no “usual” right or wrong way to feel. Often, women may feel joy, confusion, grief, guilt, doubt, sadness, happiness, relief, tiredness, overwhelmed, or peace. You may experience all of these or none of these. You may feel happy one day and sad the next. Please know that feeling a combination of emotions is normal; crying is normal. It is healthy to work and talk through all your thoughts and feelings, which is why we recommend and encourage all our Birth Parents to take advantage of the counseling opportunities we offer.
How soon after birth is the baby placed in the Adoptive Parent’s home?
We aim to place the baby with the Adoptive Parents as soon as the baby is discharged from the hospital. If the Adoptive Parents come from another state, this may be delayed a little. The baby is discharged from the hospital as soon as medically cleared, usually on day 3, after delivery. The baby is usually discharged from the hospital after Birth Mother has signed her consent to the Adoption (usually signed 48 hours after birth).
Can I name my baby, and will the adoptive parents keep the name I pick?
Yes, you can name your baby. The Adoptive Parents may decide to rename the baby when the adoption is finalized. You may want to discuss this with the Adoptive Parents before the baby’s birth.
What if my baby is born with a serious medical condition?
If your baby is born with a serious medical condition, this will be disclosed to the Adoptive Parents. If they decide they cannot or will not assume this responsibility, we will find another adoptive family who is willing to take on the responsibility. There are always families willing to adopt babies with special needs.
Are my parents, friends, father of the baby, extended family allowed to see the baby?
Yes, but you might want to remember this is your opportunity to be with your baby, building memories. You will probably want to spend quiet time with your baby and perhaps a couple of people closest to you. This can be very emotional, and you should be careful about including people who will make this harder for you. We often see families put Birth Mothers under extreme stress as they try and change the Birth Mother’s minds about their decision. Instead of having this stress, you may want to keep this time for yourself to enjoy your baby in peace and quiet.
Can I see the baby after birth?
Yes. You can decide how much or how little contact you would like to have with the baby after birth. Some Birth Mothers wish to hold the baby and take pictures, while others wish to have little or no contact with the baby. Whatever your decision, please know there is no right or wrong. It is whatever feels right and makes it easier for you.
Many Birth Mothers choose to have the Adoptive Parents change, feed, hold and begin the bonding process while at the hospital. You may find it comforting to see how they interact with the baby. This is your time to form memories you can cherish and to find a sense of closure and peace with your decision. Seeing the Adoptive Parents showing the baby love and care can be comforting. Just choose what feels right to you, and rest assured your wishes will be respected.
What happens during delivery and my stay in the hospital?
Simply put, that is up to you! We will help you put together a plan for the hospital. In this plan, you can tell us exactly what you want. Examples would be who you want in the delivery suite, who you will allow in to visit, who can hold the baby, whether you want to have the baby in your room or the nursery, and whether you want the Adoptive Parents to bond with the baby in the nursery or your room. As an idea, Adoptive Parents will usually be called when you go into labor; they often come and wait with you in the hospital and will hold and bond with the baby. Your plan will be written, so everyone is completely sure of your wishes.
Do I have to have Prenatal Care?
Yes, both you and your baby need prenatal care. Pre-natal care is designed to keep both Mother and Baby safe and healthy. Pregnancy can be hard on the mother’s body. Regular medical checkups monitor for issues that can harm your and your baby’s well-being. Failing to have pre-natal care can be dangerous to both of you. Your prenatal care will be covered by Pregnancy Medicaid or other insurance.
What if I don’t already have a doctor?
Not a problem! We can assist you to find a midwife or physician close to where you live and who accepts your funding source (usually pregnancy Medicaid). We will help you register with your local health department and sign up for Medicaid if you have not already done so. Our priority is to get you connected with services and prenatal care.
Do I have to talk to the adoptive family about expenses?
No, we will handle that for you. The law is very strict about who can pay for what, and keep within the law, we need to direct budgeting and payment of expenses. It also avoids you having to have awkward conversations with Adoptive Parents. You will interact with your Adoption Specialist to help you develop your expenses budget.
Who will determine what I am eligible to receive?
We will work with you to develop a budget; create a financial plan, and make an agreement that best meets your needs. The law is specific about the types of expenses and the length of time they can be paid.
Who pays what expenses?
All services are free to Birth Mothers. If you have financial needs, those needs can be paid for by the Adoptive Family (within the limits of the law). Expenses the law allows to be paid by the Adoptive Parents are pregnancy-related medical and hospital expenses (not covered by insurance or Medicaid), and living expenses during the period a Birth Mother is unable to work due to her pregnancy, and up to six weeks after the birth. In Florida, Birth Mothers are entitled to representation by their lawyer. Counseling services will be offered again at the Adoptive Parent’s expense.
What if I don’t have a place to live or need emergency housing?
We can usually assist with emergency (and longer-term) housing and help with social service and community resource navigation.
How much and what type of financial assistance can I receive?
Every Adoption is different, and each situation is unique. Every state has slightly different laws about adoption expenses, but it is safe to say Adoptive Parents may provide financial assistance to cover medical expenses (not covered by state aid), groceries, housing, utilities, cell phone service, and counseling. These expenses may only be paid during the pregnancy and up to a maximum of six weeks after birth. The law states the maximum amount allowed to be paid for pregnancy-related expenses. The court must justify and approve any additional funds before they can be paid. All our Birth Mothers will work with their Adoption Specialists to make a budget for their planned expenses.
How can I be sure that my child will be well cared for by the Adoptive Parents?
Every one of our Adoptive Families has been extensively background checked, they have gone through a psychosocial assessment; we examine their family history, their interpersonal relationships, their experience with children, the discipline they experienced as children, and their discipline philosophy. All of our Adoptive Parents have stable incomes, live in nice homes, have good family support, are emotionally mature, have stable relationships (unless they are planning on parenting singly), are in good health, have health insurance, and are well prepared to be parents. In addition, before finalization, our Adoption Specialist will make Post Placement Supervision visits to ensure every family member is adjusting well to the new family member and to ensure the baby is thriving.
How much will I know about the adoptive parents?
You can know as much information about the adoptive parents as you desire. In a closed adoption, their information will be redacted (identifying information erased) to protect their confidentiality. For example, you will know their ages, ethnicity, religion, family size, occupation, religious affiliation, number of children in the family, etc. Just ask if there is any information you want to know that has not been provided.
How much information about me is shared with the Adoptive Family?
When you make an Adoption Plan, you will be asked to provide your medical and social history. You will be asked to sign a release to share this information with the Adoptive Family. In addition, once you are Matched with an Adoptive Family, they will want updates on how you are doing and how your pregnancy and the baby are doing. If you choose a closed Adoption, your information will be shared, but any identifying information (Name, Address, etc.) will be redacted (erased) from your record to protect your identity.
We ask you to provide your medical and social history so the Adoptive Parents can make appropriate medical decisions for the child and so your child can make informed medical decisions for themselves when they reach adulthood. Additionally, it is helpful emotionally for a child to be able to identify with their Birth Parents and family of origin, which is why your social history is so important. Think of it as a gift you are giving your child.
What is the adoptive family allowed to know about me?
We will ask you to give us a complete social and medical history. This information will be redacted (your name and identifying information will be removed) before being passed on to the Adoptive Parents. If you desire greater privacy, please speak with your Adoption Specialist.
Can I choose what religion I wish the adoptive family to be?
Yes. If you have a preference for religion, we can honor that. We can find a family who fits your needs regarding religious preference. Additionally, if you prefer, we can also find a family who does not practice a religion. It is up to you to let us know your wishes.
My friend approached me about adopting my baby, what should I do?
We can work with someone known to you. Give us their information, and we will contact them on your behalf, or you can pass on our information to them. When a close friend or family member decides they want to adopt your baby, we insist that the family goes through the same screening process we employ for all our other families. The Court will also require them to have an Approved Home Study. We prefer you to have a variety of families to choose from, but if you feel this is the family for your baby and they meet the criteria, the law requires we can proceed with the matching process. To avoid difficulty with the law, all matters about the adoption should be directed through the Agency.
What if I find a family on the Internet or in an ad?
In Florida, Adoptive families are not allowed to advertise. Different states have different laws regarding advertising. However, we highly recommend that you allow us to find you suitable Adoptive Families; after all, the internet is full of scammers, and you want to know your baby is going to a legitimate, screened, Adoptive Family and is not being “sold” on the black market into a dangerous situation.
When I select a family that I like, how do I get in touch with them to let them know I have selected them?
You will communicate with your Adoption Specialist and let her know your decision. She will contact the Adoptive Family and let them know. You may also write them a letter if you wish, explaining why you chose them and why you would like them to be your child’s parents. Your Adoption Specialist will work with you to create a plan so that you can get to know the family better. Having a good relationship with the Adoptive family is always good; after all, you will always have a child in common.
Will I get the opportunity to meet and/or talk to the adoptive family before the adoption?
Yes. If you wish to speak with the Adoptive Parents, we will arrange for that to happen. Initially, we will allow you to talk with the adoptive family through a conference call which we will initiate. Your Adoption Specialist will start by introducing you to each other and stay on the phone to help you feel comfortable and answer questions that may arise. If you feel comfortable with the Adoptive Family, you may also request a personal meeting with them. Again, your Adoption Specialist will arrange the meeting and will go with you for moral support.
Later if you wish, the Adoptive Parents may come to the hospital when you deliver to spend time with you and offer their support. Once the baby is born, you may want to spend time with the baby yourself or have the Adoptive Family spend time bonding with the baby in your room or the nursery. The choice and decision are yours to make. Your Adoption Specialist will ask you about your wishes and will make the necessary arrangements for you.
What if I choose a family and am not comfortable with them and change my mind about them?
The choice of Adoptive Family is yours to make. You should feel comfortable about the decision. If you change your mind, let your Adoption Specialist know. With your Adoption Specialist, you will explore your feelings and select another family if you wish. We recognize it is important for you to feel comfortable with your choice.
Can I speak to more than one potential family before I choose?
Yes. You will be offered a choice of potential families who match the criteria you tell us is important to you. You will also be offered an opportunity to meet with one or more of those families. If you wish to have an Open Adoption, it is important to build a relationship with the Adoptive Parents, which is why you should take the time to get to know them. This is your opportunity to speak with them and ask questions. Usually, after speaking and interacting which a selection of families, you will know when you have found the right family for your baby. It will just feel right!
How do I choose a couple to adopt my baby?
You will be allowed to look through Adoptive Parent profiles, which may include photographs of the Adoptive Family, their family, and pets, vacation photos, etc. In addition, the profiles may include a letter for you. The profile is designed to give you a snap-shot view of the family’s life, home, and interests. We will give you several profiles, which match your wishes, to look over. Once you have reviewed the profiles, you can select one or more families you would like to meet. Of course, if you decide you do not want to meet the families, that is OK too. It is your decision, and we will respect whatever you decide.
What should I expect when asked to choose my child’s new family?
You should expect to have your wishes taken in to account when choosing a family for your baby. You will be asked if you have a preference for a married couple, or whether you will consider a single parent. Is race important to you, or would you be okay with Adoptive Parents who are a different race from your child. Is religion important? Do you want your child to be an only child or the youngest child, do you have a preference? Do you mind how old the Adoptive Parents are? Do you mind if the Adoptive Parents already have biological or adopted children? These are the types of questions you will be asked, and your answers will determine which Adoptive Parent profiles you will be shown to choose from.
How will I know the family I choose will be a good family for my baby?
All Adoptive Families must undergo an extensive Home Study process to become Adoptive Parents. The Home Study process involves criminal background checks and child abuse registry checks. As part of their application to become Adoptive Parents, all our Adoptive Parents must undergo extensive background checks. In addition, they have to provide personal references, work references, proof of income, and copies of bank statements. They must have health and car insurance. Their home is assessed for safety. We meet with each family member who occupies their home and conducts a psychosocial assessment. In short, we do everything possible to ensure our Adoptive Parents are mentally and physically fit and able to parent an Adoptive child.
Can I choose the family for my baby?
Yes! We want you to be fully involved in the process of picking an Adoptive Family for your baby. We encourage you to tell us what you are looking for in an Adoptive Family. What characteristics do you want, age, length of the marriage, religion, other children, large extended family, hobbies, and interests? Do you want your child to have the opportunity to travel, go to college, or speak a foreign language?
We like our Birth Mothers to have the opportunity to speak with the Adoptive Parents, interview them, meet them in person, ask about their parenting philosophy, and even build a relationship with them. We believe adoption is an easier decision if you are in control. After all, who else should choose a family for your child?
What is an Adoption Plan?
We prefer to use the term Personalized Adoption Plan because this really explains our vision of what your Adoption Plan should look like and what we aim for. We believe every adoption plan is and should be unique. Your circumstances and dreams for your child will differ from those of another Birth Mother. Every Birth Mother is a unique and different individual. Everyone is their own unique personality. We believe your Personalized Adoption Plan should reflect this.
We believe in giving choices every step of the way. The Personalized Adoption Plan reflects a Birth Mother’s wishes for her child. We give Birth Mothers the power to choose an Adoptive Family for their child. The plan is set down in writing so that there can be no question of her wishes. Choices included in the Personalize Adoption Plan may include such things as who will be in the birth suites; who can hold the baby; what visitors you will allow at the hospital; how often you will see the baby after delivery; whether you want photographs taken with the baby and/or the Baby and the Adoptive Parents; who you want to be your witness when you sign consents; and after the adoption whether you want updates, and if so how often; will you want visits with the child and if so how often.
What information, if any, is needed from the baby’s father?
We ask Birth Fathers to provide the same information we require from the Birth Mother. We ask for personal information and medical and social history. We need both sides of the baby’s background to develop a comprehensive information package for the Adoptive Parents. This is especially true of medical information, which Adoptive Parents will need to be able to make sound medical decisions for the child in the future.
The father of the baby is my husband, boyfriend, etc. Is it unusual that we want to place our baby for adoption?
No, it’s not unusual at all. We often work with married or dating Birth Parents who chose to make an Adoption Plan together. Every relationship, every pregnancy, and every situation is different. We can’t generalize, and we don’t judge. Couples make Adoption Plans because it is the best choice for the baby and everyone else involved. Many couples have other children, and one more child will add too much strain to the family’s situation. For a Birth Mother, having a partner, husband, or boyfriend sharing the decision is a source of comfort and support.
What if I do not know who the baby’s father is, or there is more than one possible father?
Don’t worry, this situation is not unusual. Many women report not knowing exactly who the Birth Father is. Sometimes they do not know how to locate him. We will explain how this situation is handled as it pertains to the state you live in. We need you to be honest and open about your situation so that we know how best to handle it.
What if the father of the baby does not agree with my adoption decision?
We often come across this situation. We follow the state laws regarding birth fathers’ rights.
Does the expectant father have any rights?
Yes, the expectant father has rights. If he disagrees with your adoption decision or you are no longer in a relationship with him, our agency will work with him directly to determine his legal rights and satisfy the law’s requirements. Laws in each state differ regarding a father’s rights. The law honors your wishes, and we will help you, even if he isn’t in agreement with your plans. We ask that you disclose all your information about the Birth Father so we can help resolve the situation.
In Florida, the law requires birth fathers to provide emotional and financial support to the Birth Mother during her pregnancy and after birth. If they have not provided both of these things, they cannot interfere with a Birth Mother’s Adoption Plan. Additionally, Florida has a paternity registry where Birth Fathers can register if they believe they may have fathered a child. Failure to register promptly means a Birth Father may lose his rights over the child. Every state has different laws about notifying the birth father. We will discuss this with you and how it impacts your individual situation.
A Birth father who is involved with you and the baby and who is on board with the Adoption Plan can be included in the adoption planning process. However, if the birth father is not involved, we do not require his participation. We will discuss all of this with you as the process progresses.
What are my rights?
You have the right to be consulted and participate in all phases of the adoption planning. You have the right to pre and post-adoption counseling. You have the right to select an Adoptive Family for your child. You have the right to ask questions of the Adoptive Family and meet them in person if you wish. Legally, you can receive financial assistance (within legal limits) with adoption and pregnancy-related expenses, such as medical care, maternity clothes, transportation, housing, and counseling services. You have the right to have an independent attorney represent your interests if you wish. You have the right to receive ongoing counseling and continuous support throughout the adoption process. Following the birth and adoption, you have the right to updates and/or visits as agreed upon with the Adoptive Parents. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
Who chooses adoption?
Simply put, women of all ages and life stages choose to make Adoption Plans. Single women and married couples, or women having their first or fifth child. In every case, adoption is chosen because it is the best decision for the baby and everyone else involved.
Does Florida Adoption Center provide counseling services?
Yes. In fact, we encourage all expectant parents to take advantage of our pre-adoption counseling services, which we provide at no cost during the adoption process. After the Adoption is finalized, we also offer Post Adoption counseling, during which you can process your thoughts and feelings.
When will I feel better and more confident about my adoption decision?
Most women feel more confident about their Adoption Plan when they begin selecting an adoptive family for their child. This part of the process puts the power in the Birth Mother’s hands. You will have the opportunity to select a family, meet them, and begin to form a relationship with them. This is your opportunity to ask questions about their parenting plans, why they feel they will be great parents, their family and living situation, and what they have to offer your child. Being a part of this process can feel very satisfying and will make you more confident in your decision.
After the adoption is finalized, you can see that your child is happy, healthy, and well adjusted from the updates or visits. This knowledge will reinforce your confidence that your adoption decision was right.
Will I regret my decision?
Adoption is a heart-wrenching and emotional decision. It is normal to question your thoughts and feelings throughout the process. You may waiver over the course of the pregnancy until you come to a final decision. When you waiver, remember you have carefully considered your decision. Try and remember why you chose an Adoption Plan in the first place. Remember, you committed to an Adoption Plan as it was the best decision for your child and everyone else involved. Remind yourself that your decision was based on love. If you remember why you made the decision, it should keep your doubts at bay. Having the opportunity to pick a family for your child should make the decision easier and will help you remain confident in your choice.
Will I have to go to court?
It is very rare for a Birth Parent to have to attend an Adoption Court hearing. You will be asked to sign paperwork so that you will not be required to attend the Termination of Parental Rights Hearing.
Is adoption permanent?
Yes. Adoption is permanent. We do everything in our power to ensure you have ample time to process all the information you will be given and come to a decision you are at peace with. We will provide counseling if you desire and many opportunities to ask questions and process your thoughts and feelings.
When do I sign the Consent to Adoption?
You sign the Consent to the Adoption before being discharged from the hospital, but no earlier than 48 hours after the birth. Please know, that once you have signed the Consent to the Adoption, it is legally binding and irrevocable (you cannot take it back).
Do I need an attorney, and will I have to pay anything for the Adoption?
Our services are FREE to the Birth Parents, and as long as you are using our attorney for the legal process, there are no charges to you. If you decide you want your attorney to look over the paperwork, you may do this, and we can ask the Adoptive Parents to pay the attorney’s fees.
What does written agreement for contact look like?
The Contact Agreement is a plan put in writing and signed by both parties stating what future contact (letters, photographs, and visits) between the child and Birth Parents will entail. The agreement is written and signed by all parties so that each party knows what is expected of them.
Do I have to agree to ongoing contact?
No. You do not have to agree to ongoing contact, but we suggest you think this through very carefully before deciding. You do not have to commit to a plan until you are Matched. We use your wishes to find an Adoptive Family to match you with, and once matched, you cannot change your mind in fairness to them unless they are willing to consider an open adoption anyway. We will discuss all this with you when we make your Personalized Adoption Plan. You will have plenty of time to think it over before being asked to commit to a plan.
Can I receive pictures and updates after the baby is born?
Yes. At a minimum, we suggest updates and photographs should be exchanged on special holidays, child birthdays, and significant life events.
What kind of contact occurs with my child after finalization?
The kind of contact which can occur after finalization depends on what was agreed upon before the adoption. Examples of types of contact which may be enjoyed include letters, photographs, videos, gifts, and personal visits.
Can I have a relationship with my child and the adoptive family?
Yes. If you have an Open Adoption, you can have a relationship with the Adoptive Parents and your child. We suggest you should get to know the Adoptive Parents before the birth so that you can all build a bond and level of trust. This bond will form the foundation of your future relationship. As an Agency, we believe it is important to educate all parties on the benefits of allowing a child to have a relationship with the Birth Parents where possible and when circumstances allow.
Signing the Consent Papers
Your Adoption Specialist will explain the process to you. You will have plenty of time to process the information and ask questions if you like. If you want your attorney to review the paperwork, you may do so.
How much contact can I have with my baby after the adoption?
How much contact you have with your baby after the adoption will depend on what was agreed upon before the adoption. In a Closed Adoption, you will not have any contact with the child unless you reunite later via the Reunion Registry. In an Open Adoption, you may agree on the level of contact you and the Adoptive Parents are comfortable with before the Adoption. Included in your agreement, you can require Adoptive Parents to send letters and photographs of all significant life events. In addition, you may be able to send and receive gifts and, in some cases, have personal visits. Seeing photographs and having updates may be all the reassurance you need that your child is happy and healthy.
Can my child find me if he or she wants to search someday?
If you have an Open Adoption, your child will always know who you are and where to find you. In the case of a Closed Adoption, you will have to register with an Adoption Search Registry. Different states have different registries. In Florida, the Adoption Registry is Floridahttp://www.adoptflorida.org/reunionregistry.shtml Adoption Reunion Registry see below for more information and see our resource section for information on the registry and an application to join.
The Florida Reunion Registry, at the time of writing, has more than 6,000 people registered. The Florida Reunion Registry is operated by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). This is the same entity that licenses Child Placing Agencies. According to DCF, 6 to 8 reunions occur every month using the registry. 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. The registry facilitates the exchange of information.
Check on the Reunion Registry website for their current fee schedule (see our Resource Section for further information).
Registry forms (see our Resource section) should be completed and sent back with the necessary fee to:
Florida Reunion Registry: 1317 Winewood Blvd, Tallahassee, Fl. 29399-0700
How will my other children react to the adoption?
It is important to discuss the adoption with your children in an age-appropriate way. Look for children’s books on the subject of adoption, and read these to your children. Bring up the subject of the adoption ahead of the birth so that it does not come as a shock. Explain that this baby will live with another family who cannot have their own babies. Explain that the baby will always be a part of your family, and they can send letters and photos. Allow the children to discuss the baby and the adoption and reassuringly answer their questions. Allow them to express their feelings. They may need to do this over and over, which is normal.
How will my child feel about me, because I chose adoption?
We educate the Adoptive Parents on the best way to tell the child they are adopted. This information is passed on to the child in a very positive way, and for this reason, children have positive feelings towards their Birth Parents. They will grow up knowing they are adopted and that you made the decision you did out of love. Your child will grow up in a family where they are treasured and loved, and they will thank you for your loving decision. Any child who grows up in a happy home will be a happy kid with no room for negative feelings.
Most Adoptive Parents share all the information they know about the child’s Birth Mother because they recognize this is a gift to the child. They will share their memories of you, how you looked, how grateful they are for your loving decision, and how much your sacrifice has meant to them. If you have an Open Adoption, there may be personal visits with your child if that was agreed upon, or letters and pictures exchanged. The same may be true of a Semi-open Adoption, except personal visits will not be part of the agreement. In these cases, you can share your story with your child in an age appropriate way.
How will my child be told about me when he or she is older?
Each of our Adoptive Families receives Adoption Education, including how to tell a child they are adopted. It has long been recognized that it is important for a child to grow up knowing they are adopted. Ideally, we would like each of our Birth Parents to prepare a memory box for their child where they can share information about themselves. If you would like your child to hear about you, write your child a letter or letters. Tell your child about yourself. Tell your child how and why you made the decision to choose an Adoption Plan for him or her. Share your story with the Adoptive Parents, and let them know what you want your child to know about you. Discuss with the Adoptive Family what you would like them to tell your child.
You may want to tell your child silly things you did as a child, what you did for fun, and who you hung out with. Did you play sports, did you wear braces, do you have a crooked big toe, were you allergic to cats, do you look like your Grandma, did your child looks like you when you were a baby, how did you feel the first time you felt your baby kick, what your hopes and dreams are for your child. This information will bring you alive in your child’s mind and help him or her to know you as a person. You could have your family members write about you, include photographs of you riding your first bike, tying your shoes, your prom picture, you at the beach building a sand castle, a lock of your hair, whatever it is you feel will help your child to know who you are.
Most Adoptive Parents share all the information they know about the child’s Birth Mother because they recognize this is a gift to the child. They will share their memories of you, how you looked, how grateful they are for your loving decision, and how much your sacrifice has meant to them. If you have an Open Adoption, there may be personal visits with your child if that was agreed upon, or letters and pictures exchanged. The same may be true of a Semi-open Adoption, except personal visits will not be part of the agreement. In these cases, you can share your story with your child age-appropriately.
Will my child know that he/she is adopted?
Adoption today is very different from how it used to be. Today it is accepted that the best way to treat adoption is to be open about it. We counsel our Adoptive Parents on the best way to tell the child they are adopted, and the best way to handle it is to let the child know from DAY ONE they are adopted. So yes, your child will know. We also suggest and encourage Birth Parents to make a memory box to send with their child. The memory box can include toys, letters, photographs, gifts, and mementos of their birth family.
How much contact can I have with my baby after the birth and after adoption?
You may spend as much time with your baby at the hospital as you wish. Your wishes will be discussed with you and set out in your Personalized Adoption Plan and Birth Plan. Your wishes are important and will be respected.
May I write a letter to my baby explaining my reasons for choosing adoption?
Yes, we encourage this. We also educate our Adoptive Parents on the benefits of giving the child the letters when they are old enough to read and understand them.
May I send gifts, letters, books, with my child?
Yes, we encourage you to do that.
May I have a picture of my baby?
Yes. Most hospitals have a photography service, and you will be able to purchase those or take pictures with your camera. In addition, you may agree with the Adoptive Parents that they will send you updated photographs throughout your child’s life.
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 familys 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 Judges 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.
Have More Questions?
We think we have covered the high points, but if there is anything you feel we have not covered in enough detail or have not covered at all. Please give us a call, or email your questions; you will find we are not scary!
What if I change my mind? Can I change my mind after the baby is born?
Yes. You have the legal right to change your mind any time before you sign the Consent to the Adoption.
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 partners 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 doesnt 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 anyones 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 childs 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 Agencys 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 Parents home a series of Post Placement Supervision visits (every 30 days until finalization) are made to the Adoptive Parents 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?
Do you work with military families?
Yes, being in the military will not stop you from adopting.
Do you work with same sex couples?
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 fathers 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 courts 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?
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 Centers 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 its 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?
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 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.