Adoption is filled with love, hope, and resilience. From National Adoption Day celebrations to life-changing reunions, these stories showcase adoption in the Sunshine State. Learn more from these five Florida adoption stories.

Adoption Day 24 Youth in (Formerly) in Foster Care

Carlisa’s journey into fostering began with a simple goal: to support reunification with biological families. However, plans changed for her and her husband as they became the forever parents of two precious girls, Aria and Crystal. Born just three months apart, these sisters found their forever home through the unwavering love and dedication of Carlisa and her family. 

Their adoption was part of National Adoption Day at the Broward County Courthouse, a day filled with joy and celebration as 24 children officially became part of their forever families. Larry Rein, president of Childnet, emphasized the importance of supporting older children in foster care, highlighting the need for more families to step forward and provide loving homes. 

[Dozens of South Florida foster kids find forever families on National Adoption Day | sourced from CBS News written by Morgan Rynor.]

Read more about National Adoption Day at

How does foster care and adoption work together?

The goal of foster care is to provide safe temporary guardianship for children unable to reside with their biological families until they can be reunited. Prospective foster parents undergo thorough screening, including training and approval processes to ensure their capability to provide a safe and nurturing environment. Placement is based on individual circumstances ranging from short-term emergency care to more extended arrangements. 

A child in foster care becomes eligible for adoption when the court terminates the parental rights of their birth parents. This typically occurs when the court determines that it’s in the child’s best interest to be placed in a permanent home, and reunification with the birth family is not possible or appropriate. Once parental rights are terminated, the child becomes legally eligible for adoption, and prospective adoptive parents can pursue the adoption process through the appropriate channels. (Typically, the child’s caseworker and advocate for best care will play a part in recommending kinship care, adoptive placement, or other avenues of care.)

Adoption, conversely, is a legal procedure that permanently transfers parental rights from birth parents to adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents undergo rigorous evaluations, including background checks and training sessions.

Adopted With Only Hours to Spare

Roman’s adoption was a race against time as his Florida adoption was finalized just one day before his 18th birthday. For Roman, aging out of the foster care system without a permanent family was a daunting prospect. However, fate intervened as the Balassaitis family opened their hearts and home to him. From Nerf fights to fostering and finally adoption, Roman found stability and love with his new family. The Balassaitis’ dedication to ensuring Roman’s future reflects the importance of support for older teens in foster care. Their story is a testament to the transformative power of Florida adoption as they provided Roman with the stability and support he deserves as he embarks on a new chapter in life. 

[‘This was a race and it got tense’: Florida teen adopted hours before his 18th birthday | sourced from USA Today written by Saleen Martin.]

Learn more about adopting from foster care at

Why is it so important that older foster youth be adopted by a forever family?

It’s crucial for older foster youth to be adopted by a forever family because it provides them with stability, support, and a sense of belonging during a critical transitional period in their lives. Older youth in foster care face unique challenges as they approach adulthood, including the prospect of aging out of the system without a permanent support network. By being adopted into a forever family, these youth gain the emotional and practical support they need to navigate the transition to independence successfully. A forever family offers them a sense of belonging, unconditional love, and guidance as they embark on their journey into adulthood. Additionally, Florida adoption provides older foster youth with lifelong connections and relationships, addressing their fundamental need for permanency and stability. Overall, adoption offers older foster youth the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential, breaking the cycle of instability and uncertainty that often accompanies life in foster care.

A New App(roach) To Foster Care in Florida

FosterPower, a groundbreaking app and website, is revolutionizing the way foster youth access information and resources. Developed by Bay Area Legal Services, FosterPower provides vital information on benefits, protections, and legal rights in a user-friendly format. Pro bono attorneys and former foster youth collaborated to create a platform tailored to the needs of those navigating the complexities of foster care. By empowering youth with knowledge, FosterPower aims to ensure they become their own advocates, fostering independence and self-advocacy. This innovative initiative exemplifies the power of technology in improving the lives of foster youth across Florida. 

[New App And Website ‘fosterpower’ Is Empowering Florida’s Foster Youth | sourced from The Florida Bar News.]

Learn more about supporting foster care in your area at

How can you support your state’s youth in foster care?

Becoming a Foster Parent: Consider opening your home to provide temporary care and stability for children in foster care. Contact your local child welfare agency to learn about the requirements and process for becoming a licensed foster parent.

Volunteering: Volunteer with organizations that support foster youth, such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs, tutoring services, or recreational activities. Your time and expertise can make a significant difference in the lives of these children.

Advocacy: Advocate for policies and initiatives that improve the foster care system and support the well-being of foster youth. This may involve contacting legislators, participating in advocacy campaigns, or joining advocacy organizations.

Donations: Contribute to organizations that provide resources and support to foster youth, such as clothing, school supplies, or funds for extracurricular activities. Your donations can help meet the practical needs of children in foster care.

Educating Others: Raise awareness about the challenges faced by foster youth and the importance of supporting them. Share information with your community, friends, and family to help dispel myths and misconceptions about foster care.

Supporting Reunification: Recognize the importance of reunification efforts between foster children and their birth families. Support programs and services that help families address the issues that led to separation and facilitate reunification when safe and appropriate.

Providing Employment Opportunities: Offer employment opportunities, internships, or job training programs to older foster youth as they transition into adulthood. By providing stable employment opportunities, you can help foster youth build skills and achieve independence.

By actively supporting your state’s youth in foster care, you can help create a brighter future for these vulnerable children and contribute to building stronger, more resilient communities.

Abandoned Infant Adopted at 10 Months

In a heartwarming tale of resilience, a baby girl found abandoned in the woods at just hours old now has a forever family. Despite a tumultuous start to life, she was welcomed into the loving arms of her adoptive parents, whose names remain anonymous. Their decision to provide her with a stable and nurturing home underscores the importance of Safe Haven/Baby Moses Laws in protecting vulnerable infants. This story highlights the beauty of Florida adoption, offering hope and a fresh start to children in need. 

[Florida baby adopted 10 months after being abandoned in the woods | sourced from WEAR TV.]

Learn more about Safe Haven/Baby Moses Laws at

What are Safe Haven programs work and why do they matter?

Safe Haven programs, also known as Baby Safe Haven or Baby Moses programs, allow parents to surrender newborn infants to designated locations without facing legal repercussions. These locations include hospitals, fire stations, police stations, or other designated facilities. The primary goal is to prevent infant abandonment and ensure newborn safety. Parents who cannot care for their newborns have the option to surrender them safely and anonymously, preventing tragic outcomes such as infant deaths or injuries resulting from abandonment. Safe Haven programs provide support and resources to parents and infants, including medical care, counseling, and adoption assistance. They offer a compassionate response to the complex circumstances that may lead to newborn abandonment while promoting the welfare of families and communities.

Birth Mother and Son Reunited Over 4 Decades Later

Michael’s lifelong search for his birth mother culminated in a miraculous reunion, decades in the making. Despite the passage of time and countless obstacles, he finally connected with Carol, his birth mother, in an emotional encounter filled with tears and joy. Their reunion serves as a testament to the enduring bond between mother and child, transcending time and distance. Through the power of technology and unwavering determination, they found each other, bringing closure and a newfound sense of belonging. 

[Adoptee, birth mother reunited | sourced from GoErie written by Sarah Grabski.]

Learn more about Search and Reunion efforts at

Why does reunion matter to some adoptees?

Adoptees may want to reunite with their birth parents for various reasons, including a desire to learn about their biological roots, understand their family medical history, and establish a sense of identity and belonging. Reunion can provide closure, answers to long-held questions, and an opportunity to establish connections with biological relatives. Additionally, some adoptees may seek emotional healing, validation, or reconciliation by reuniting with birth parents and gaining insight into their past. Ultimately, the reasons for wanting to reunite with birth parents are deeply personal and can vary from individual to individual.

From National Adoption Day celebrations to technological innovations empowering foster youth, adoption has a profound impact on lives and communities. As we celebrate these remarkable Florida adoption stories, let us continue to support and advocate for all those touched by adoption ensuring every child finds their forever home and every family experiences the joy of adoption.