This article is a Florida adoption guide for those who wish to begin their adoption journey, whether they be expectant mothers, hopeful adoptive parents, or adoptees, in a productive and specific way. Florida is known as The Sunshine State for many reasons. It is home to beautiful beaches, lavish wildlife, and The Most Magical Place On Earth. The amusement parks and vacation spots, however, aren’t the only thing that makes Florida a family-oriented state. Adoption makes up a big part of the state. As this adoption journey begins, the primary goal is joy and healing for all.

This Florida adoption guide will break down the various steps for both expectant/birth parents and hopeful adoptive parents. No matter what part of the adoptive triad you are a member of, there are always steps and answers that you can find, especially when it comes to adoption. Florida has various agencies and resources that ultimately look out for the best interest of those involved with adoptions. 

Expectant Parents: Choosing to Place a Child for Adoption

Expectant mothers need support as she makes various decisions in her adoption journey. There are many resources available for support, such as Adoption.com and Adoption.ORG. You might ask, “where do I begin?” You may have several questions and concerns as you embark on this new and unknown journey. As an expectant mother or father, it is important to be informed when deciding whether or not to place your child for adoption. Make sure that you feel confident and at peace with your decision. There will be good days and there will be hard days. Just remember that your decision to place your child for adoption is one of the most selfless and loving gifts you can give your child. Thank you for choosing life for your child, and taking this brave step in finding your child a family. Help from professionals may aid this process, as it is difficult, unique to each situation, and support is necessary. Don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted and experienced individuals.

Find an Adoption Agency.

Adoption agencies or professionals are a great place to start, as each offers you support, and helps discuss your options and provides counseling on the decision to pursue adoption. Once the decision is made, adoption agencies can also be a resource in finding affordable prenatal care, as this should be a priority after first learning about your pregnancy. Setting up a medical plan and scheduling a doctor’s visit as soon as possible is important for both the expectant mother and the child. Agencies can help expectant parents with mental, physical, and emotional needs, connect you with hopeful adoptive parents, and walk you through the legal process. A good adoption agency can become a safe haven for expecting parents through a time that often feels difficult, heavy, and lonesome. There is a list of Florida adoption agencies at the end of this article for you to consider. You can explore each one thoroughly before making a decision. You don’t have to pick the first one you see. Do your research and feel confident in your choice.

Find a Family.

Once an expectant mother has the support and resources needed, the next step is to choose adoptive parents for the child. Finding a forever family for your child is a life-changing, but not easy, decision. Your adoption agency and professional will ask you what characteristics you would like in an adoptive family and match you with profiles of parents looking to adopt. A parent profile is a description and collection information on families seeking to adopt, many of which can be found on trusted adoption agency websites and resources, such as Adoption.com. Most agencies allow you to meet the potential adoptive families, so you can personally develop a feel for the couple’s character, and how it may be for your child.

Create a Plan.

The adoption plan will lay out the details of the expectant parents’ wants and needs for him or herself and the child. Adoption agencies or professionals are key during this time, as expectant parents will learn more about open, semi-open, and closed adoptions. Open adoption is when the birth parents and adoptive family maintain contact and involvement in each other’s lives, to a degree previously agreed upon. A semi-open adoption is when there is limited contact between the birth parents and adoptive family, to a degree previously agreed upon. This type of adoption does not usually have face-to-face interaction. A closed adoption is when there is no interaction once the baby is placed with the adoptive family. Besides the adoption plan, creating a hospital plan will keep everyone on the same page regarding the child’s delivery, hospital stay, and medical care in the state of Florida. The hospital plan is specific to you and the child, determining whether or not you want to see the baby after birth, want the adoptive parents there during delivery, or want the family to come to the hospital after the birth.  A birth mother can consent to the adoption 48 hours after the birth of the child, as well as the day after being released from the hospital. 

Find a Support System.

It is important for expectant mothers to find a support system before, during, and after the adoption. There are many support groups available to birth mothers in Florida. It is also recommended that the expectant mother attends counseling, or seeks a mentor or online group, as well as trustworthy family and friends, that will help her healthily process this emotional and difficult time. Adoption agencies often support birth mothers after her child is placed for adoption, including finances, housing, and medical care. Placing a child for adoption takes courage, strength, and love, and expectant mothers need and deserve dependable support through this adoption journey.

Hopeful Adoptive Parents: Choosing to Adopt

Who Can Adopt?

In the state of Florida, the following residents may adopt including a husband and wife, single individuals, single parents, divorced individuals, LGBTQ+ couples, a stepparent, and an individual who has custody of a child that was placed by an adoption agency. There are no specific age requirements for those who wish to adopt in Florida, though adoption agencies or professionals may have specific age stipulations. Florida also does not prohibit individuals from adopting because of a physical disability, unless it is determined the person is incapable of parenting effectively because of it. This is similar to laws on other states, as well. In Florida, if you have the love and means to become an adoptive parent, you will not be prevented.

Find an Adoption Agency.

Hopeful adoptive parents in Florida have a wide variety of adoption agencies with which to connect. An adoption agency can help the process of finding a child to adopt, connecting with an expectant mother, completing the legal requirements, and creating a parent profile. Adoption agencies will also help with specifying the requirements for different types of adoption, as there are three types: adoption from foster care, international adoption, and domestic adoption. Adopting a child through foster care is different from becoming a foster parent. The primary goal of foster care is to reunite children with birth parents, but this sometimes does not occur, and the children need to find forever families. When hopeful adoptive parents choose to adopt from foster care, these children find a final home. International adoption is when hopeful adoptive parents choose to adopt internationally, from another country. This involves Visas, which is a form of ID that allows your child to enter the United States, and the adoption agency will assist in obtaining one. Domestic adoption is when hopeful adoptive parents choose to adopt within the United States. There is a list of Florida adoption agencies at the end of this article for you to consider.

Create a Financial Plan.

Adoption requires financial stability and planning, as it consists of travel fees, home study fees, agency fees, and sometimes a birth mother’s own fees, or international travel expenses. The cost of adoption varies, depending on the method. Private domestic adoption can cost upwards of $30,000, though adoption from foster care costs less. This is because the state and county assist with the expenses. Developing a financial plan will help the process. The adoption agency can provide guidance throughout the planning process.

Create a Parent Profile.

One way hopeful adoptive parents can connect with expectant mothers is by creating a parent profile. Some hopeful adoptive parents choose to utilize social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or blogs, to begin connecting with expectant mothers. Adoption agencies and websites, such as Adoption.com, also provide a platform for hopeful adoptive parents and expectant mothers to connect. Your profile will include general information about our family, traditions, beliefs, home, extended family, community, and more. It will also include pictures and will serve as an overview of who you are, for expectant mothers can view when considering placing a child for adoption.

Complete a Home Study.

Home studies are required to ensure the safety of your home and family. During the home study, all members of the household, including the children, will be interviewed by someone, who is often a social worker, from the adoption agency. Hopeful adoptive parents are often worried about home studies, thinking the couple will be disqualified for not being the perfect family. This, however, is not the case. The social worker is on your side, and is simply ensuring your home is safe for the new child. The social worker often becomes another source of support and can help answer your questions throughout the process. All members of the household over the age of 12 will also need to complete a background check, in order for the family to be eligible to adopt. Your physical and mental health are also taken into consideration during the adoption approval process in Florida, and you may be required to present recent medical statements. In addition, Florida has requirements for emotional readiness, which includes learning about the Florida adoption process, emotionally preparing to raise a child with whom you are not genetically related, emotionally preparing to possibly maintain a relationship with the child’s birth family, assessing miscarriage or infertility grief, and fully committing to adoption upon full education of the process. In Florida, a birth mother can consent to the adoption 48 hours after the birth of the child, as well as the day after being released from the hospital. Once the child is placed in your home, a social worker will visit you at least three times before your adoption is finalized.

Find a Support System.

The adoption process is life-changing and challenging. In some cases, it may be a longer journey. Some hopeful parents wait years before placement, and the journey is only then truly beginning. It is vital for hopeful adoptive and adoptive parents to have a support system before, during, and after the adoption process. This may consist of a support group, online support group, trustworthy friends and family, or counselors. You are giving this child a forever family, and they are giving you the same. This process will not be easy, but there is always love and hope throughout the adoption journey.

Adoption Information Resources

Adoption.com

Adoption.ORG

Adoption Agencies in Florida

-Gladney Center for Adoption

-Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida

-Sunshine State Adoption and Home Study Services

-Gift of Life Adoptions

-Adoption Authority, Inc.

-Connecting Hearts

-Florida Adoption Center LLC

No matter your location, role in the adoption process, or stage in life, adoption is a life-changing and challenging process. I hope you found this information about adoption in Florida helpful as you begin your adoption journey. I hope it brought clarity and helped launch your process in finding a family, becoming a family, finding joy, and healing. Please feel free to comment with feedback or questions. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, questions, or stories, as I hope to continue to support you with this process. There are hope and love in your future.

 

Hannah Fisher is a student in North Carolina, pursuing degrees in both Nursing and Psychology. Hannah is an older sister to 1 biological and 4 adopted siblings. She is passionate about adoption, family, and belonging. When she is not studying, Hannah can be found spending time with her family, writing articles or fiction, or enjoying music and movies.