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