Adopting a Baby in Florida
Many families choose private domestic adoption because it offers a direct path to adopting a baby in Florida. Have you considered infant adoption in Florida?
Adoption can be confusing, and understanding your options and their requirements is easier with the help of adoption professionals. To speak with someone about private domestic adoption, visit this link. To talk to a professional about placing a child for adoption, visit here.
In the meantime, read through this guide to find the answers you’re looking for about private domestic adoption. You’ll learn what it is, who chooses private domestic adoption, how the private domestic adoption process in Florida works, and which professionals can best assist you.
What is Private Domestic Adoption?
Private domestic adoption is the voluntary placement of a child in an adoptive home by the birth parents. The birth parents consent to the placement of the child with an adoptive family of their choice.
If you’re adopting a newborn in Florida, there’s a high likelihood that it’s a private domestic adoption. Also, private domestic adoption is the only means by which expectant birth parents can voluntarily place their child in an adoptive home.
Private adoption opportunities are usually identified before the birth of the child, and expectant birth parents are connected with prospective adoptive parents. Birth parents select the families they wish to adopt their child.
There are two types of private adoption in Florida: agency-assisted and independent.
Agency-Assisted Private Adoptions
There are adoption professionals who focus on facilitating private domestic adoptions. These agencies facilitate adoption opportunities by connecting expectant birth mothers with prospective adoptive parents.
Some private adoption agencies in Florida work on a local basis and work to promote adoptions within the state. There are also national private adoption agencies that cross state lines to create successful adoptions across the country.
Private domestic adoption agencies in Florida provide assistance beyond the initial connection of expectant birth parents and potential adoptive families. They may arrange for communication between the involved parties before and after the birth of the adoptee. Some also offer counseling and resources to birth parents and adoptive families throughout the adoption process.
Working with an adoption professional isn’t required, but most families do. It reduces the risks of a disrupted adoption, and ensures that you’ll have the support you need during this complex proces. Therefore, all parties involved in a private domestic adoption are encouraged to work with an adoption agency because of the many benefits.
Independent Private Adoptions
While most private adoptions are facilitated by adoption professionals, some are not. An independent adoption in Florida takes place when there is no adoption professional involved.
In many cases, independent adoptions occur when the expectant birth parents and prospective adoptive families are already known to one another through family or their extended networks.
Even though a full-service agency may not be necessary for an independent adoption, adoption attorneys and other professionals will be needed to finalize the process.
For example, a professional home study agency must be employed to conduct the required home study. An adoption attorney is also necessary to handle the legal requirements for adoption in Florida. If the expectant birth parents or potential adoptive parents need counseling or resources, they’ll require an outside agency.
Who Chooses Private Domestic Adoption?
For families who want to adopt an infant from within the U.S., private domestic adoption is the preferred method.
There are some specific reasons that families choose to pursue the adoption of an infant. Those factors can include:
- Families who struggle with infertility: Many couples dream of the day they can have a baby and raise them together. However, infertility can stifle those plans. Though there are fertility treatments available, they are costly, and the results are uncertain. Many couples facing infertility opt to adopt an infant through private adoption.
- Families who want to bond from birth: Many couples feel that they will bond more closely with a child if they are placed with the child from birth. Most waiting children in the foster care system are two years old or older.
- Families who want an open adoption: Unlike other types of adoption, private domestic adoption of a baby in Florida allows both birth parents and adoptive families to be involved in the life of the child. That makes private domestic adoption perfect for adoptive parents who are interested in open adoption and birth parents who want to communicate periodically with their child.
Private domestic adoption offers many inherent benefits for both expectant birth parents and potential adoptive parents. That’s another reason that it is an attractive option for expectant birth mothers who want to place a child and prospective adoptive families who want to start or expand their family.
Some of the benefits that lead expectant birth parents and prospective adoptive families to pursue private newborn baby adoption in Florida are:
- Control over the process: Private domestic adoption provides prospective adoptive families with greater control of the adoption process. It allows prospective adoptive families to choose the best circumstances for growth of their families.
- A guided journey: Agency-assisted private domestic adoptions have the added advantage of a full range of services. That means that one agency can meet all of your needs and facilitate successful adoptions.
- Enhanced information: In a private domestic adoption, all parties have the ability to openly communicate. That means expectant birth parents can learn about the prospective adoptive family and find the right match. It also means the prospective adoptive family can find out about the medical history and genetic background of the birth parents, which can be helpful in the future.
- Growing your family: For prospective adoptive parents, particularly those who’ve struggled with infertility, raising a baby may have seemed an unattainable dream. However, private domestic adoption can make that dream a reality.
It’s easy to see why private domestic adoption is the preferred way to expand a family for many who wish to adopt.
How to Adopt a Baby in Florida
While there’s a specific process that should be followed to adopt a newborn baby in Florida, the truth is that no two adoptions are exactly alike. However, there are some steps that are common to most private adoptions.
Step 1: Find the Right Adoption Professional
Choosing the right adoption professional is critical. After all, your chosen adoption professional will be your advocate and ally throughout the adoption process.
If you’re pursuing an independent adoption, you may only need to find an adoption home study provider and an adoption attorney.
However, the vast majority of potential adoptive families opt for a full-service agency that can provide all the services needed for a successful adoption.
You’ll also want to determine the desired scope of the adoption professional you choose. You may want to explore your local adoption options in the state of Florida. However, if you want to broaden your opportunities, you may want an agency that works nationwide.
Below is a list of the types of adoption professionals that are often used when adopting an infant in Florida:
- Adoption attorneys and law firms: There are legal processes that must be completed to adopt, which makes adoption attorneys necessary. However, their services are narrowed and include only the legal aspects of adoption.
- Home study providers: Home study providers schedule and perform the adoption home studies required by Florida law for every adoption.
- National private adoption agencies: These adoption agencies look nationwide for adoption opportunities and facilitate communication between expectant birth mothers and prospective adoptive families.
- Local private adoption agencies: These agencies do the same thing as their national counterparts, only they work within the state and local communities to link expectant birth mothers and potential adoptive families.
Step 2: Complete a Home Study
In the state of Florida, a home study is required prior to adopting an infant in Florida. The home study is important because it establishes the fitness of the potential adoptive home. It’s a thorough procedure, as it ensures the safety and quality of life that will be enjoyed by the adoptee.
Home studies are performed by licensed home study professionals in Florida. The process can be time-consuming because it must be thorough. It often includes not only a pre-placement study, but post-placement visits to ensure the child is safe and well cared for in the adoptive home.
- Home inspection: A home study professional will visit the home to assess its physical state as well as the family dynamic. You may be given advice on ways to better childproof your home and improve safety.
- Document review: You’ll be asked to submit documents such as birth certificates, health records, marriage licenses, financial records and other legal paperwork. A background check for everyone in the home over the age of 12 will be conducted as well.
- In-home interview: The home study professional or social worker will conduct an interview with everyone living in the home to ensure the living environment for the child will be healthy.
Upon completion of the home study, your family will be considered an active potential adoptive family, which means your domestic adoption agency in Florida can begin showing your family profile to prospective birth parents.
Step 3: Finding a Birth Mother
Once your home study is complete, you’ve crossed the initial threshold to potential adoption. However, your adoption journey has just begun.
Finding babies available for adoption in Florida means finding expectant birth mothers who’ve decided to place a child in an adoptive home. The best way to do this is with the help of a private adoption agency.
There’s a period of time between your activation and becoming matched with an expectant birth mother. That period is known as your wait time, and it can be brief or prolonged. There are many factors that determine the duration or your wait time, and only some of them are within your control.
You can increase your chances of a short wait time by being flexible on a few key points. When you consult with an agency, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire that explains your adoption wishes. You can state any preferences you may have about your adoption, but it’s important to keep your requirements pliable.
For example, here are a few key areas in which flexibility can help shorten your wait time:
- Adoption arrangement: If you are open to all types of adoption arrangements, including open and semi-open adoptions, your chances of finding a match are much better.
- Race, ethnicity and religion: Likewise, if you’re open to adopting a newborn in Florida from parents of any race, ethnicity or religious background, you’re more likely to experience a shortened wait time.
- Medical history: Medical history of the birth parents can be a cause for concern for potential adoptive parents. However, addressing those concerns with your physician can help open your options and avoid a longer wait time.
While it’s important that you remain flexible during your search for an expectant birth mother, you also want to operate within your own comfort zone. Don’t sacrifice things that are important to you and your family simply to shorten the wait time. Instead, decide what matters most to you and look for other areas for flexibility.
Step 4: Contact Prior to Birth
It’s important for both expectant birth parents and potential adoptive families to establish communication prior to the birth of the child. Though different types of private adoption in the state of Florida warrant differing levels of contact, it’s important that everyone involved is comfortable.
There are three types of private domestic infant adoption in Florida that are determined by the contact that is agreed upon by the expectant birth mother and prospective adoptive family. Those kinds of private adoptions are:
- Closed adoption, with no contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents
- Open adoption, in which there is frequent contact before and after the child’s birth
- Semi-open adoption, which is neither totally open nor totally closed and is mediated by an adoption professional
Closed adoptions are rare nowadays, with open and semi-open adoptions being the norm. That’s because open and semi-open adoptions come with inherent benefits that are helpful for all parties involved in the adoption.
- Adoptees: Provides an avenue for answers to the questions that many adopted children ask throughout their lifetimes.
- Adoptive families: Provides additional medical and genetic information about the birth parents that can be helpful in the future.
- Birth parents: Provides the opportunity for birth parents to see the quality of life their child enjoys in the adoptive home.
Step 5: Birth and Placement
The hospital can be a time of mixed emotions for everyone involved. The birth parents may know they’ve made the right decision by placing their child but seeing the child in person can bring on a rush of powerful emotions. The adoptive family may also struggle with feelings of joy mixed with sorrow for the birth family when adopting a newborn baby in Florida.
The rights of the birth mother must be respected, which means that the adoptive parents should be prepared to be flexible. Even the best conceived plans are subject to change, and adoptive parents must recognize the emotional nature of the birth and support the birth mother’s wishes.
After the baby is born, the birth mother must consent to the adoption. In Florida, the law mandates that the adoption papers cannot be signed until 48 hours after the child’s birth or whenever the birth mother leaves the hospital, whichever is earliest. In most cases, the rights of the birth father are terminated prior to birth.
Once the birth mother consents to the adoption and signs the adoption papers, her parental rights will be terminated. The adoptive parents will then receive physical custody of the child, with the permanent custody rights granted later in a legal hearing by judge’s decree.
Step 6: Post-Placement and Finalization of Adoption
Typically, in Florida, the first 90 days after placement will involve post-placement visits of the home that are an extension of the home study.
The first post-placement visit usually occurs within a week of placement. There are three more post-placement visits during the 90-day period after the child is placed in the adoptive home. After six months, your attorney will schedule a hearing at which the adoption will be finalized.
Your private adoption in Florida will be examined to ensure that it clears some legal hurdles prior to the hearing. For example, if the child is a member of an Indigenous American tribe, the adoption must get Indian Child Welfare Act clearance. Also, if the adoption crossed state lines, it must satisfy the requirements for interstate adoption set by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
A judge will review the adoption to make sure legal requirements have been met. Once satisfied that the adoption was conducted legally, the adoption decree will be signed and the adoption will be finalized at a finalization hearing.
Private Adoption Professionals in Florida
There’s no shortage of domestic adoption agencies in Florida who can help you reach your adoption goals. Here are a few of them, below:
National Private Domestic Adoption Agencies
- American Adoptions
- Gladney Center for Adoption
- Bethany Christian Services
- Nightlight Christian Adoptions
Local Private Domestic Adoption Agencies
- Heart of Adoptions, Inc.
- ACF Adoptions
- Gift of Life
- Florida Adoption Center, LLC
- Lifetime Adoption Agency
- Christian Family Services
Adoption Home Study Agencies
- American Adoptions
- Sunshine State Adoption and Home Study Services
- Connecting Hearts – Adoption and Home Study Services
What Comes Next?
For families that wish to expand by adopting an infant from within the U.S., private domestic adoption may be the perfect option. Private domestic adoption agencies in Florida can help you navigate the process.
If you’re interested in finding out more about private domestic adoption, help and information is easy to find. If you’re a prospective adoptive parent, visit this link to find out more about private domestic adoption.