Florida Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in Florida

Kylee Hooper March 19, 2016

Welcome, prospective adoptive parents! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption in Florida. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Florida.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in Florida, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6) foster adoption (Slide 20),  international adoption (Slide 29), and stepparent adoption (Slide 33). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (Slide 36).

Are you interested growing your family through domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with an adoption professional who can answer your questions.

 

Please note:
1. Please note:

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

Disney World isn't technically in Orlando, it's actually considered its own city. This is because the land was in between two counties, so Walt Disney petitioned for Disney World to be its own city.
Source

Photo Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Adoption in Florida at a Glance 
3. Adoption in Florida at a Glance 

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2012: 8,393    
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 3,264      
International adoptions completed in 2012: 400     
Source and source.

Can I Adopt in Florida?
4. Can I Adopt in Florida?

Adoption requirements in the state of  Florida are as follows:

Age: 18+     
Marital Status: Can be married, single, or divorced    
Finances: Need to be able to financially support a child   
Housing: Can rent or own     
Work: You can work in or outside of the the home   
Personality: Need to be able to love a child     
Experience: None needed.          
DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: During the homestudy process you will need to pass a background check in order to make sure you will have a safe environment for the child.      

SOURCE   

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in Florida
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Florida

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Florida.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

Unless you are a close relative, you need to use a licensed Florida adoption agency or licensed Florida attorney to handle the adoption.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual or organization that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee. Adoption facilitators are not allowed in Florida    

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Florida here.

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption, you will need to complete an adoption home study.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on slide four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word   
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word  

Only licensed Florida adoption agencies and attorneys can advertise in Florida.

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Source

Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles

If advertising is allowed in your state, creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person.

Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.
What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Click here

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators

Adoption Navigators provides you with quality expertise in sharing your dream of adopting. We provide unparalleled adoption marketing and one-on-one coaching to beautifully show expectant parents who you are and tell your story. With Adoption Navigators you receive premier advertising exposure on Adoption.com, assistance building your profile and creating a video, and expanded reach through social media and search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Adoption.com has more than 16 years of experience helping families connect with potential birth parents.

Let us help you increase your exposure to potential birth parents and decrease your adoption wait time.

Click here to get started.

Creating a listing on Adoption.com Parent Profiles is an excellent way to connect with potential birth parents across the country. If you want to maximize your exposure to potential birth parents and receive personalized coaching and support, consider using Adoption Navigators. Coordinate these services with your adoption professional.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Parental rights can be relinquished for a number of reasons, in this case, parents must terminate their rights before their child can be placed for adoption.

Source

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights   
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights  

Florida keeps and maintains a putative father registry. The purpose for this registry is so that unmarried biological fathers can be informed and/or give their consent when their child is placed for adoption.

Source

Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
15. Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide legal and living expenses for an expectant mother. There are, however, requirements governing such support.

Maternity related expenses are allowed within reasonable amounts. If this amount exceeds $5,000 you will need the approval of the court in advance before payment.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
16. Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

Post adoption contact agreements are a way for you to decide how much contact your child will have with his/her birth parents after adoption.

Florida statutory does not address if these agreements are legally enforceable in a private adoption.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization 	  
17. Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization  

You can finalize adoption 3 months after placement.
    

Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Florida from Out-of-State
18. Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Florida from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within Florida, even if you live in a different state.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Foster Adoption in Florida    
19. Foster Adoption in Florida    

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Florida.    

Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Florida
20. Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Florida

There are about 14,000 children in foster care in Florida. Many of these children are looking to be adopted by a forever family.   

You can meet some of these children through our photolisting.  

Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help
21. Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help

You can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency or directly through the Florida Department of Children and Families.      

To find adoption agencies in Florida and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Reviews page for Florida.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process.

Becoming Part of the Foster Care System 	  
22. Becoming Part of the Foster Care System  

After you have become part of the foster care system, you will be able to receive children in your home. Some of these children may be "legal risk" placements, meaning their parents have not relinquished rights yet.

Finalization 	  
23. Finalization  

You can petition to finalize the adoption 3 months after placement.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements   
24. Post Adoption Contact Agreements  

Florida does not state if post adoption contact agreements are legally enforceable.  

A post adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Adoption Assistance   
25. Adoption Assistance  

Adoption assistance is available to families who adopt qualifying children from foster care or privately through a licensed agency.. This assistance is meant to help offset the costs of raising a child with special needs. For a list of the qualifications click here.

Foster Adoption – A Note About the ICPC
26. Foster Adoption – A Note About the ICPC

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC here.

International Adoption in Florida
27. International Adoption in Florida

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Florida.

International Adoption - Photolisting
28. International Adoption - Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Click here to meet some of them through our Photolisting.

 International Adoption - Get Professional Help
29. International Adoption - Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Florida.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption - Post-Adoption Requirements
30. International Adoption - Post-Adoption Requirements

Adoptions finalized abroad will be recognized in Florida.

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Read more about post-adoption requirements here.

Stepparent Adoption in Florida
31. Stepparent Adoption in Florida

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Florida.

Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights
32. Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption - Petitioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption - Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

Adoption Resources
34. Adoption Resources

Adoption Forums           

Florida Adoption Wiki      

Parent Profiles

Adoption Stories

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Kylee Hooper

Kylee Hooper is not quite a mother, but she adores babies, and hopes to be able to either foster or adopt someday. When she isn't writing, reading, or editing; she is normally playing her harp or creating an adventure.


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