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!
Yes. You have the legal right to change your mind any time before you sign the Consent to the Adoption. If, after the baby is born you find you are wavering in your decision we can arrange for baby to be placed in Interim Care for a few days to give you a chance to think some more.
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.
Yes. Adoption is permanent. We do everything in our power to make sure 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 lots of opportunities to ask questions and process your thoughts and feelings.
You sign the Consent to the Adoption before you are discharged from the hospital, but no earlier than 48 hours after the birth. Please know, once you have signed the Consent to the Adoption it is legally binding and irrevocable (you cannot take it back).
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 own attorney to look over the paperwork, you may do this, and we can ask the Adoptive Parents to pay the attorney’s fees.
The Contact Agreement, is a plan put in writing and signed by both parties stating what future contact (letters, photographs, and visits) between 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.
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 in fairness to them change your mind, unless they were 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.
Yes. At a minimum we suggest updates and photographs should be exchanged on special holidays, child’s birthday, and significant life events.
The kind of contact which can occur after finalization depends on what was agreed prior to the adoption. Examples of types of contact which may be enjoyed include, letters, photographs, videos, gifts, and personal visits.
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 prior to 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.
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 would like your own attorney to look over the paperwork you may do so.
How much contact you have with your baby after the adoption will depend on what was agreed prior to 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 prior to the Adoption on the level of contact you and the Adoptive Parents are comfortable with. Included in your agreement, you can require Adoptive Parents to send letters and photographs on 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.
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 “Florida Adoption 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 which 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. In order to be contacted via the registry, both the Adoptee and a Birth relative must both 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 Bvld, Tallahassee, Fl. 29399-0700
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 this baby will be going to live with another family who cannot have their own babies. Explain, 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, answer their questions in a reassuring way. Allow them to express their feelings. They may need to do this over and over, and this is normal.
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.
Each of our Adoptive Families receives Adoption Education which includes how to tell a child they are adopted. It has long been recognized, 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 would like 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, 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 look like you when you were a baby, how you felt the first time you felt your baby kick, what your hopes and dreams are for your child. This type of information will bring you alive in your child’s mind, and will 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 in an age appropriate way.
Adoption today is very different from how it used to be. Today it is accepted, 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.
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.
Yes, we encourage this. We also educate our Adoptive Parents on the benefits of giving the child the letters when the child is old enough to read and understand them.
Yes, we encourage you to do that.
Yes. Most hospitals have a photography service and you will be able to purchase those, or take pictures with your own camera. In addition, you may have an agreement with the Adoptive Parents where they will send you updated photographs throughout your child’s life.
Every woman deals with Adoption differently. There is no “usual” and no right or wrong way to feel. Often, women may feel joy, confusion, grief, guilt, doubt, sadness, happiness, relief, tired, overwhelmed, or at peace. You may experience, all of these, or none of these. You may feel happiness one day and sadness the next. Please know, 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.
We aim to place the baby with the Adoptive Parents as soon as the baby is discharged from the hospital. If the Adoptive Parents are coming 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. Baby is usually discharged from the hospital after Birth Mother has signed her consent to the Adoption (usually signed at 48 hours after birth).
Yes you can name your baby. The Adoptive Parents may decide to rename the baby when the adoption is finalized. This is something you may want to discuss with the Adoptive Parents prior to the baby’s birth.
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.
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 a very emotional time, and you should be very 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 mind about her decision. Instead of having this stress, you may want to keep this time for yourself to enjoy your baby in peace and quiet.
Yes. You can decided 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 picture, 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.
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 baby in your room or in the nursery, whether you want the Adoptive Parents to bond with baby in the nursery or in 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 put in writing, so everyone is completely sure of your wishes.
Yes, both you and your baby need pre-natal 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 which can be dangerous to your wellbeing and baby’s wellbeing. Failing to have pre-natal care can be dangerous to both of you. Your pre-natal care will be covered by Pregnancy Medicaid, or other insurance.
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 get registered with your local health department, and sign up for Medicaid if you have not already done so. Our first priority is to get you connected with services and prenatal care.
No, we will handle that for you. The law is very strict about who can pay for what, and in order to 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, who will have helped you develop your budget of expenses.
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.
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 own lawyer. Counseling services will be offered, again at the Adoptive Parents expense.
We can usually assist with emergency (and longer term) housing and help with social service and community resource navigation.
Every Adoption is different, and each situation 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. Any additional funds, must be justified and approved by the court before it can be paid. All our Birth Mothers will work with their Adoption Specialist to make a budget of their planned expenses.
Every one of our Adoptive Families have 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 own discipline philosophy. All of our Adoptive Parents have stable income, 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, prior to finalization our Adoption Specialist will make Post Placement Supervision visits to make sure every member of the family is adjusting well to the new family member, and to ensure baby is thriving.
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. As an example, you will know their ages, ethnicity, religion, family size, occupation, religious affiliation, number of children in the family, etc. If there is any information you want to know, that has not been provided, just ask.
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 so this information can be shared 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 a gift you are giving your child.
We will ask you to give us a complete social and medical history. This information with be redacted (your name and identifying information will be removed) before being passed on to the Adoptive Parents. If you desire a greater level of privacy, please speak with your Adoption Specialist.
Yes. If you have a preference of 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.
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 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 matter pertaining to the adoption should be directed through the Agency.
In Florida, Adoptive families are not allowed to advertise. Different states have different laws regarding advertising. However, we highly recommend, 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.
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 a good thing, after all you will always have a child in common.
Yes. If you wish to speak with the Adoptive Parents we will arrange for that to happen. Initially, we will give you the opportunity 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 will stay on the phone to help you feel comfortable and to answer questions which 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 in the nursery. The choice and decision is yours to make. Your Adoption Specialist will ask you about your wishes, and will make the necessary arrangements for you.
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. Together with your Adoption Specialist you will explore your feelings, and if you wish select another family. We recognize it is important for you to feel comfortable with your choice.
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!
You will be given the opportunity 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, their home and their interests. We will give you several profiles, which match your wishes, to look over. Once, you have looked over 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.
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.
All Adoptive Families have to go through an extensive Home Study process in order 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 have to go through 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 conduct a psychosocial assessment. In short, we do everything possible to make sure our Adoptive Parents are mentally, and physically fit and able to parent an Adoptive child.
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 characteristic do you want, age, length of marriage, religion, other children, large extended family, hobbies and interests. Do you want your child to have the opportunity to travel, go to college, 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 chose a family for your child.
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 your dreams for your child will be different to that of another Birth Mother. Every Birth Mother is a unique and different individual. Everyone, is their own unique person. 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 her 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 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.
We ask Birth Fathers to provide the same information we require from the Birth Mother. We ask for personal information, medical and social history. We need both sides of baby’s background to put together a comprehensive package of information 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.
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.
Don’t worry, this situation is not unusual. Many women report not knowing exactly who the Birth Father. 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. What we do need you to do is be honest and open about your individual situation, so that we know how best to handle it.
We often come across this situation. We follow the state laws regarding birth father’s 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 what his legal rights are and satisfy the requirements of the law. 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 the information you know 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 are not able to 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 in a timely manner 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 fathers 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.
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 are able to 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.
Simply put, women of all ages and life stages chose to make Adoption Plans. Single women, married couples, women having their first child, or their fifth child. In every case, adoption is chosen because it is the best decision for the baby and for everyone else involved.
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.
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, what is their family and living situation like, and what do 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 will be able to see, from the updates or visits, your child is happy, healthy and well adjusted. This knowledge will reinforce your confidence that your adoption decision was the right 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, your decision was based in love. If you remember why you made the decision it should keep your doubts at bay. Having the opportunity to hand pick a family for your child should make the decision easier, and will help you remain confident in the choice you made.
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 a 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 it 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.
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 the letter 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 not sure how to tell them ask your Adoption Specialist for advice, and maybe role play telling your family with her.
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 had an opportunity to meet, and in some cases form a relationship. In an Open Adoption, Birth Mother and Adoptive Parents will make an agreement, with the help of the Agency and/or Adoption Attorney, specifying what contact will take place between the child and the Birth Parents after the adoption is finalized.
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 names 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 to the agency and shared with Birth Parents by the agency.
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).
An adoption facilitator may be a clergyman, or doctor, who facilitates an 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.
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 who does the home study process for them. An attorney rarely provide 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.
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 her, acts as her advocate, and guides her through the adoption process. We believe in putting the power in the Birth Mother’s hands, offering choices every step of the way, and by helping her to create her Personalized Adoption Plan.
Absolutely, we are happy to arrange opportunities for you to meet other Birth Mothers willing to share their experiences with you.
Florida Adoption Center’s experienced staff conducts multiple interviews, and evaluations on all our Adoptive Families. Adoptive Families go through extensive background screening procedures, and psychosocial evaluations during the screening process. Our Adoptive families come from a variety of backgrounds, races, and have a variety of careers and interests. Our waiting families are all financially stable, live in nice homes, near good schools, and are in a position to offer your child a wonderful life. We will help you chose a waiting family who suits your personal preferences. If you want your child to be in a family with a strong faith, or who matches your religious beliefs, we will honor that too. If you want your child to have the opportunity to travel, or 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.
We offer Open, Semi-Open and Closed Adoptions. Your Adoption Specialist will explain each option to you. Once you have made a decision 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.
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.
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 put together a Personalized Adoption Plan. You will be offered choices every step of the way, and the power will remain in your hands.
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.
We can understand you are 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 make a decision. 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 will be able to meet prospective Adoptive Parents and hand pick 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, 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 of Semi-Open adoption, where your daughter can receive updates on the child, or personal visits, on a regular basis. 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 is very important. Adoption is never an easy decision which is why we will offer professional pre-adoption and post adoption counseling.
We will be happy to offer you an opportunity to meet with one of Adoption Specialist 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.
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 to do that, and will 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.
If you are over 13 and under 18 years of age, you are allowed by law to consent to an 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, after all 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 to tell your parents we can assist you to break the news. We are here to support you whatever decision you make.
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 that arise.
Obviously, this isn’t 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.
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 ahead, but we can work with you whatever the situation. There are always waiting families who are ready for a call at short notice.
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 to school, 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.
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.
We will usually write to the hospital Social Worker (with your permission of course) to let them know of your birth plan. We do this so the hospital staff know ahead of time what your wishes are in respect to privacy, and the Adoptive Parent’s interaction with you and the baby.
The hospital Social Workers meet with all new mothers and it is usually easier for you if they know what your plans are with regards to the Adoption. If they don’t know they will ask questions which are irrelevant, 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.
That is entirely up to you. If you wish to spend time with 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, or 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.
The types of decisions you will be offered an opportunity to make includes:
- Do you want to look at Adoptive Family Profiles?
- Do you want to meet Adoptive Families in person, or 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 baby after the birth, or would you like baby to go to the nursery?
- Are you happy for the Adoptive Parents to spend time bonding with baby in the nursery?
- Would you like to have photographs of you and baby together?
- Would you like to make a memory box and write letters for baby to keep?
- Do you have someone you would like to be your witness when you sign the Consent for Adoption?
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.
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.
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 are able to adopt the new baby we will facilitate the Adoption Plan. If they are unable to parent another child, we will discuss the alternative options with you and together we will formulate a 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, with a goal to putting you in a better position once you leave our program. You may also be eligible to receive financial assistance for certain pregnancy related expenses.
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 which includes, pre and post-adoption counseling, matching services, and support and guidance through the entire process from beginning to finalization. We will contract with a family law attorney, at our expense, who will handle the legal aspects of the 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 there are older children in the family they can become confused about what adoption means, but we will help you find ways to explain the adoption plan to the older children.
Some women choosing 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. There are many Adoptive Parents who are more than willing to adopt an older child, but for the child’s sake the younger they are at time of adoption the easier and less stressful their transition.
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 which brings you peace. We do not want you to rush the decision.
How long you take to make your decision depends of course at 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.
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 needs, you can provide for 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 which they may not otherwise have. It is inspiring, witnessing a Mother who feels joyful that her child is going to have a wonderful life, because she had the strength to make a selfless and loving decision.
Women who thoughtfully decide Adoption is right for them, make that decision 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.
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. If you chose to take the next step we are here for you.
It is difficult to make any decision 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!
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 so that you will be ready for baby’s arrival. We will put you in touch with community partners, who can help with baby supplies, crib, car seat, parenting classes, child care, job training etc. Together, we will help you explore your options, gather your support groups and put together a parenting plan.
Great Question! Call the Florida Adoption Agency 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, instead 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 you decision is adoption or parenting.
Deciding to parent, or deciding on an Adoption Plan can be a very difficult decision. A decision which 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.
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 a lot different to adoption in times 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 are supposed to 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 given an opportunity to look at Profiles of Adoptive Parents, and decide whether you would like 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 chose 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.
If you have an unplanned pregnancy, and you decide to continue with the pregnancy, you do have options. You can chose to parent with the baby’s father, or parent alone if he does not want to be involved. Or, you can choose Adoption as your alternative parenting plan.
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.
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 you 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 18 years long. You will need as many good, reliable friends and family members around you as possible. We can help you explore and evaluate your support systems, and help you come up with a plan for parenting, if that is your choice.
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 chose to continue with it, isn’t something you can keep hidden forever anyway.
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 who you know will support you, and not those who disappear when the going gets tough.
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.
Simply call 1-321-250-5683 for an appointment to meet with one of our Adoption Specialists.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call. No Obligation!
Florida Adoption Center’s proven adoption professionals are experienced in adoptions, but also have counseling and behavioral analysis backgrounds. This education and experience means we are more likely to recognize early indications of intentional fraudulent behavior. Additionally, our programs have been set up to protect Adoptive Parents from fraud, as much as possible. We work hard to avoid scams and disruptions by offering Birth Mothers extensive counseling opportunities, while they are in the decision-making stage. Once a Birth Mother states she is committed to Adoption, and we feel she is committed to the decision, we will make the Match with Adoptive Parents. We also believe it is important to foster a strong relationship of trust between a Birth Mother and the Adoptive Parents.
We offer 24/7 support to our Birth Mothers, and a support system designed to demonstrate our commitment to their health and wellbeing. Instilling a feeling of being supported, and building a rapport and a comfort level, with Birth Mothers has proven to be very instrumental in securing follow through with an adoption plan.
Unfortunately, disruption is a reality which comes with the adoption territory. Florida Adoption Center is fully committed to open and direct communication with our Adoptive Parents who they can be confident that our caring staff will walk them through all aspects of their adoption journey, and will be there to fully support them in the event of a disruption.
We want our Adoptive Parents to be assured, in the event of a disruption, which was due to no fault, failure, action or inaction of the part of the Adoptive Parents, they will be placed on a priority list for a Re-Match.
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.
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.
The Interstates Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a law which governs adoptions in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The ICPC contains 10 articles establishing procedures for interstate placement of children, and assigning responsibilities for 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. In order 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 are the baby’s medical records and discharge paperwork from the hospital, and copies of Consents. ICPC’s typical processing time is a week to ten days, but 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 not met. The receiving states will ensure Post Placement Supervision takes place for the protection of the child. The Adoption Agency in the sending state retains legal jurisdiction until the adoption is Finalized.
Please know, 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 be waiting as eagerly as our Adoptive Parents for approval.
The ICPC does not apply to children who adopted by family members or other relatives.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Yes there is. The Adoption Tax Credit can be used to off-set 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 “Paying for an Adoption” for more information. It is important to check with your tax preparer or accountant as income limits do apply.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 get her to sign. If however, the child was six month 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 has 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.
Yes, if it’s due to abuse or neglect the Courts have Terminated Parental Rights, or when Birth Parents are deceased.
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.
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. In order for an adoption to be Finalized, 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. 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 Birth Parents (usually father) do not cooperate, or if there is a wait for a hearing date because of the court docket.
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 have waived Service of Process and Notice, the Termination of Parental Rights can take place. 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.
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.
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.
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 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 get in contact with 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. In order to be contacted via the registry, both the Adoptee and a Birth relative must both be registered. If an Adoptee and a Birth Parent both register their information is matched by the registry and their contact information released to the other party. We have included information on the Florida the Adoption Registry in our Resource Section, along with the registration application. There is a fee for registering, 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.
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.
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. As an example, Adoptive parents open to any race or gender will likely experience a shorter wait time than those who will 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.
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 Skype meeting initially, followed by possible in-person meeting 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.
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 own networking, and how to be proactive on their own 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.
We strongly advocate for the importance of Birth Mother having the opportunity for counseling. We feel so strongly about counselling that we insist upon it to the extent we can insist. Obviously, we cannot force a Birth Mother to do anything she does not want to do. Additionally, we have a mentoring program which provides a support system, in both a group and individual settings, for our Birth Mothers.
When Adoptive Parents meet and interact with Birth Parents it is important to remember, these meeting are designed so that both parties can get to know each other. The best advice we can offer is “be yourself.” If the plan is a Closed Adoption, it is important that Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents remember to not 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 well result in alienating her. Instead, if you have questions on social and personal history, or medical matters, let us know and we will handle that for you.
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.
An Adoptive Parent Profile is a compilation of information which 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 child. 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.
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.
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 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.
No. In all cases the Consents are binding, unless Birth Father (or Birth Mother for that matter) prove they signed Consents under duress.
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.
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 “reasonable” living expenses, which would include medical expense for the Birth Mother while she is pregnant. When possible it is helpful to his case if he has also attempted to emotionally support the Birth Mother through the pregnancy. It may be advisable for him to retain an attorney who can advise him on the best way to protect his rights.
In instances where a Birth Mother refuses to identify the biological father, we will explain to her the importance of giving as much information as possible in order 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.
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 during the time the conception occurred. We will search the Putative Father Registry to attempt to identify potential fathers.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, if he is the legal father (married to the Birth Mother at the time of Conception). If his whereabouts are unknown, the Putative Father Registry has to be checked and a Diligent Search has to be made.
No, if he is not the legal father. However, information has to obtained from the Birth Mother so the Putative Registry can be checked before making a determination that he is not the father. According to the Law, the interests of the state, Birth Mother, Adoptive Parents and the Child, outweighs the interests of an unmarried biological father when he fails to take action to claim paternity in a timely manner. It is the unmarried biological father’s responsibility to protect his rights, fulfill all the requirements of the Law, and provide support for the Birth Mother and child, otherwise the child may be adopted without his consent.
In Florida, if a Birth Father is aware of the pregnancy and can prove that he has emotionally and financially supported the Birth Mother he has the right to contest the adoption. He may also elect to parent the child. However, if he was unaware of the pregnancy, because the Birth Mother kept this information from him, these conditions do not apply and the Court may award him custody of the child. If a Birth father fails to support the Birth Mother, and he knew of the pregnancy, the court can terminate his parental rights even if he protests the adoption.
In cases where the Birth Mother is aware of the identity of the Birth Father, steps have to be taken to locate him to ascertain whether or not he is willing to consent to the adoption. If the identified Birth Father states he is not the father he may sign an affidavit of non-paternity. In situations where the biological father refuses to cooperate, he is are served with a Notice of Intended Adoption, after which he will have 30 days to contest the adoption. If the Biological father wants to contest an adoption he must first register with the Putative Father Registry, and file an affidavit with the court. If he fails to contest the adoption the court will terminate his parental rights.
Unmarried biological fathers who are located and refuse to cooperate the Florida Supreme Court mandates he be served with a notice of the intended adoption plan. The Birth Father has a period of 30 days to indicate he intends to contest the adoption. He must register with the Putative Father Registry and file an affidavit with the court committing to certain obligations with respect to the child. If he fails to complete the required actions, in a timely manner, the Agency will seek the court’s determination that he has no rights with regards to the baby. If the unmarried biological father does complete the required actions, in a timely manner, his rights to Notice of the Adoption, and his consent to the adoption, is required just as if he were married to the birth mother. However, his failure to provide financial and emotional support to the birth mother during her pregnancy remains a basis for his Right to Consent to be waived, and again the court can elect to terminate his parental rights.
All adoption placements are “At-Risk.” In short, this means Adoptive Parents may have to return the child to the Biological Parents should Termination of Parental Rights or Finalization be denied by the court. Additionally, Birth Parents and legal parents have a minimum period of 1 year to challenge termination of parental rights and an adoption, but only if they can prove fraud, duress or other misconduct.
The biological parents cannot take the child back once their parental rights have been terminated.
Every situation is different, but generally if the Birth Father has not been involved with 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 are 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.
So are we, which is why we ask our Birth Mothers to sign a Release of Information which enables us to have access to their medical records. We believe it is important to have a complete medical history so Adoptive Parents can make appropriate medical decisions for the child.
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 were/are used. Of course, with any self-reported information we cannot guarantee the accuracy, 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 the most complete history we can get as it benefits everyone, especially the baby.
Where indicated, we order HIV, hepatitis and a drug screen, to go along with all testing routinely done at all hospital on newborns. If you request other tests, these can almost always be obtained. We do require you request any additional testing prior to 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.
In general, Birth Mothers will 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.
Yes, we do require drug testing for our birth mothers. We have a judgment free environment and encourage our Birth Mother’s to be honest and disclose their substance use, past and present. We require self-report, but we also require testing. Birth Mother’s choosing not to disclose are welcome to work with other agencies who 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 Mother’s 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 have a need to know so that they can make an informed decision on whether to Match, or continue the Match. Most importantly, Adoptive Parents need to know so that they can be sure 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 are 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.
Any information you put in your Profile, in any letters you write to the Birth Mother, or any information you yourself have disclosed, or information you gave the agency permission to disclose.
Yes, but only if that was part of the adoption plan agreed upon 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 mother and 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 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 which 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are occasions when we make exceptions to our Adoption policy, on a case by case basis. When making your initial application explain your situation in writing prior to submitting your formal application. We do not want to waste anyone’s money, and would prefer that you bring your situation to our attention so that we can make a decision on the requested exception early in the process.
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.
An Adopted child can communicate with their Birth Parents once they are 18 years old, without their Adoptive Parents’ consent. Prior to that time, Adoptive Parents can prevent the child from having contact or communicating with the Birth Parents if they feel it is not in the child’s best interest.
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.
Our Agency’s Adoption Specialists conduct Post Placement Supervision visits every 30 days until finalization. The period between placement and finalization is no less than 90 days, and this means a minimum of 3 Post Placement Supervision visits. The first visit occurs within 1 week of the child being placed with the Adoptive Family. If any problems are identified these visits may be more often.
All prospective Adoptive Parents are required to have an Approved Home Study. See our Home Study section for full details. A Home Study requires, at minimum, background checks, adoption education, medical examinations, and proof of financial stability. The Home Study process is designed to examine all aspects of the Adoptive Parents background, family history and current situation.
Once a child is placed in the Adoptive Parent’s home a series of Post Placement Supervision visits (every 30 days until finalization) are made to the Adoptive Parent’s home to check on the welfare of the child, whether bonding is occurring and the adjustment of the Adoptive Family to their new family member. At finalization, if everything has gone well the Adoption Specialist will write a report recommending to the Court that the Adoption be finalized.
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.
Yes. We do not discriminate against same-sex couples.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, being in the military will not stop you from adopting.
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.
In order to be eligible to adopt you must have an Approved Home Study. In order 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.
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.
The mission of our Agency is to promote the birth of healthy babies, by encouraging our Birth Mother’s 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.”
Federal law classifies some children as having “Special needs” and because of this federal aid is available for families who adopt these children. For the purpose of adoption Special Needs does not only apply to children with disabilities. It also applies to children who may be difficult to place in adoptive homes. According to the Federal Government children over the age of 8 years, members of a sibling group who must be placed together, African American boys, and racially mixed children are classified as “Special Needs.” In addition, children with physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities are classified as “Special Needs.”
In the realm of infant adoptions we would consider a baby who has been exposed in-utero to substances, or whose parent/s have a diagnosed mental illness with a genetic component as “Special Needs.”
If you have your heart set on a specific gender we can facilitate this request, however please know this is likely to increase your wait time.
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.
The different types of adoption are Open, Semi-Open, and Closed. Our agency offers all three types of adoption. In an Open Adoption the identity of each member 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 meetings are always supervised by the Adoption Agency Staff, until after finalization.
In Open Adoptions, Birth Parents are able to have updates on the child, photographs, letters, emails, and personal visits. Visitation, is something which is worked out prior to placement and which continues, as agreed, until the child reaches adulthood. In an open adoption, Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents know the identity of the other party. 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, and in others the Birth Mother choose 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 not possible 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 take into account 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 Parent 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.
Our fees are about as competitive, indeed 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” and that 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 we will 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.
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. If you have a disrupted adoption we will provide re-match at no additional cost.
We are unable to guarantee wait times. We strive hard to keep wait times down to a minimum by networking with partner agencies.
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 “Paying for an 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, entitled “Paying for an Adoption” on the website.
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 wellbeing 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 exists 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.
Adoptive couple can initiates 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 the 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 of course this is not always possible to maintain. In addition, for the welfare of our babies we want to avoid having to place babies in interim care and try to always maintaining a list of available families.
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 chose 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, or egg donors, or a gestational surrogate mother. When all other options fail many people turn to adoption and end up wishing they had explored this avenue earlier.
Step 2 – Selecting the Type of Adoption
Adoptive families, are able to 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 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, 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 up front 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, 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 “snap Shot” 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 which 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 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, to 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 on what to include in your profile. This is usually the time when friends and family are constantly asking 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 be getting the call. At this point there is nothing the Adoptive Parents can do which will 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 do believe in providing regular updates, and contacting our Adoptive Families on a regular basis, 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, which is why we advise continuing or taking up healthy pursuits to keep busy during this period. This method of coping is healthy. Adoptive families who are able to 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 a number of factors, some which Adoptive Parents can control, and some 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 to 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, giving the Adoptive Mother a chance to get to know the Adoptive Parents, building a connection, and continuing to maintain contact during the pregnancy is a healthy way for the Adoptive Mother to become comfortable and committed to the Adoption.
All contact between the parties is facilitated by the Agency, 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 baby in their home. At this time, we check all parties are settling down well, and baby is safe and thriving. The Agency will write a report on the family’s progress which will form part of the file which goes to the Court at Finalization. Post-Placement Supervision, is a straight forward process. However, it is complicated when Adoptive Parents live in a different state from the state the baby was born in. In these cases, Adoption Agencies must follow the Inter State Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) rules. ICPC still requires Post Placement Supervision, which means contracting with another Agency for those services.
Inter State Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)
In cases where a baby is born in a different state from the state where the Adoptive Parents reside, the newborn is free to leave the hospital in the care of the Adoptive Family. However, the Adoptive Family must remain in the state where the baby was born until the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) paperwork clears, which usually takes between 7 to 10 business days. Once ICPC paperwork has been completed, the adoptive family will have their Post-Placement Supervision, visits and reports, completed by an agency in their home state. Post-Placement Supervision continues until Finalization.
Step 9 – Finalization- The finalization hearing is the Judge’s final review of the adoption, and ensures all necessary documentation is in order, and Post-Placement visits were completed. Additionally, where applicable, the Judge checks all ICPC rules were complied with, and that both birth parents’ parental rights were legally terminated. When the adoption hearing is finished, the adoptive family is granted legal custody of the child and awarded the adoption decree. At this point the domestic adoption process is complete.
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 as 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 forward with the adoption process, you will start the application process and will begin to compile all the documents needed for the Home Study. The documents needed will include background check clearances, and reference letters. See our section entitled “Home Study” to obtain a full list of required documents. This sections contains all the documents in a downloadable format and a full explanation of each document.
We work with adoptive families throughout the United States, welcoming individuals and married couples of any age, racial, religious or ethnic background. All adoptive parents, regardless of their familial status, must pass the Home Study process.