What to Expect from Your Adoption Finalization in Florida
The moment your child is placed in your arms for the first time is incredible. Life changes completely, and the joy can be difficult to describe. It may come as a surprise to learn that this moment, as big as it is, is not the end of the adoption process.
In fact, you’ve got one big step still waiting for you: finalizing your adoption.
Fortunately, American Adoptions will be there to guide you through this step — and to help you make your family official in the eyes of Florida law! Learn more about this legal requirement below.
What is Adoption Finalization?
Adoption finalization is the final step in the Florida adoption process. This is an exciting time — receiving the final decree of adoption makes your child a permanent and legally-recognized member of your family forever.
Before an adoption finalization in Florida can take place, you’ll need to meet a few requirements first:
- Birth parents will need to give their consent to the adoption to terminate their parental rights (although prospective birth fathers may be able to offer consent prior to the birth, prospective birth mothers must wait at least 48 hours after the birth of their child before offering their consent to adoption in Florida).
- Adoptive parents must comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and/or the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) when applicable.
- You must complete at least three post-placement visits at your home with your Florida adoption home study professional.
Your adoption specialist will guide you through these steps and ensure every requirement for adoption finalization has been met.
A Florida adoption finalization hearing will be scheduled several months after your child is placed with you. Your American Adoptions specialist and your attorney will contact you to let you know when the hearing is scheduled. In Florida, adoptions are placed under the jurisdiction of your local circuit court, which is where your adoption finalization hearing will take place.
The Florida Adoption Finalization Hearing Process
Going to court can be nerve-wracking for anyone. So, when your court visit is about legalizing your child’s place in your family, it can feel like the stakes are incredibly high — and you may be more stressed than you anticipated.
But, your adoption finalization shouldn’t stress you out too much. Know that your adoption specialist will be there with you every step of the way. With the assistance of your attorney, they will prepare you for what to expect. That way, you can enjoy this experience. After all, it’s a big step in the adoption process!
It’s also a fairly simple one. At the adoption finalization hearing, the judge will review all the information that your home study professional has collected since your child’s placement. They may ask a few questions to learn more about your journey and the child’s adjustment into your family. When they’re satisfied, they will issue the final decree of adoption.
There’s no need to stress out ahead of time. In fact, this event is often a celebration, and you can invite family and friends to attend along with you. Some adoptive parents even choose to throw a party or take photos together for the first time as a legal family.
Florida adoption finalization hearings usually only take about a half hour. During that time, you’ll:
Step 1: Be sworn in with your adoption attorney and social worker.
Step 2: Answer a few questions asked by the judge about your adoption journey, providing for your child and more.
Step 3: Witness the signing of the final decree of adoption by the judge.
At this time, you can ask the judge to snap a photo with your family — because your child’s adoption is finalized! This step will officially complete your legal adoption process. Your family will be complete, and you will just need to focus on your upcoming open adoption journey with your child and their birth parents.
Life After Adoption Finalization in FL
Once you’ve received the final decree of adoption for your child’s Florida adoption finalization, you can file for the amended birth certificate and their social security card. Your attorney should be able to answer any questions you have about this process, as well as point you in the right direction for obtaining any necessary documentation.
While your adoption journey will be “officially” complete at this time, don’t forget that our specialists will always be here to support you in the months and years to come. We know adoption is a lifelong journey and that questions and concerns will likely come up as your child gets older. So, if you need any help continuing communication with birth family, have questions, or need anything at all, you can always call your specialist at American Adoptions.
Want to learn more about how our specialists will guide you through every step of your family-building journey, including your adoption finalization in Florida? Call 1-800-ADOPTION now or request free adoption information online.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.