How to Adopt a Baby in Florida in 7 Simple Steps
What You Need to Know About Adopting in Florida
Adoption in Florida can be a life-changing opportunity to grow your family.
Your dreams of bringing a child home and starting down the path towards a better future can come true through adoption.
You can match with a birth mother who not only gives you the chance to grow your family, but also becomes like family herself by sharing the adoption journey together.
Your adoption is protected when you work with the right agency.
The adoption process is many things. It’s a life-changing experience that results in growing your family while also providing a loving and nurturing home for a child. Adopting a baby in Florida is a shared journey. You will be chosen by a birth mother who is seeking to provide her and her child a better life by finding you, the perfect adoptive family.
American Adoptions is here to help you both. We’ve guided many parents through an infant adoption in Florida, as well as helped thousands of birth mothers through the adoption process in order to find the perfect adoptive home. As a national agency with many adoption professionals having first-hand experience with adoption, we have services and resources for you as well as complete adoption guidance and support for prospective birth mothers.
Please keep in mind that American Adoptions can provide all the benefits of a national adoption agency with the local touch of a local adoption agency, thanks to our Florida offices, located at:
3001 North Rocky Point Drive East, Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33607
In the meantime, you probably want answers to some of your biggest questions about adopting a child in the Sunshine State. So, we’ve created this guide to child adoption in Florida give you a better understanding of the process.
If you’re ready to start the adoption process with our agency, or wanting more information on the adoption in Florida, visit our online contact forms for prospective birth mothers and prospective adoptive parents.
How to Adopt a Child in Florida
The Florida adoption process consists of seven key steps for those who are considering adopting a child. While every journey is different, there are some common things to expect.
So, without further ado, here’s how to adopt in Florida:
Step 1: Deciding if you’re ready to Start Your Adoption Journey [Experience the Joy of Adoption]
The opportunity to grow your family through an adoption is an exciting time, and we take great pride in making sure you Florida adoption experience is everything you hope for and exactly what you deserve.
The process of adoption is unique, but because many of our adoption professionals have their own adoption stories as adoptive families, birth parents and adoptees, we can provide guidance and support fully understanding the journey you’re embarking on and the range of emotions you’ll experience along the way.
We are here to answer any questions you have about the adoption process. Visit us online to get more information on your Florida adoption.
Step 2: Learn About Florida Adoption Requirements and the Different Types of Adoption
If you’ve committed yourself to the adopting a child in Florida, then your next step is to decide which type of adoption is right for you. The requirements for adoption that you’ll have to meet will vary based on the form of adoption you choose.
There are three major ways to adopt a child in Florida, and our agency works specifically with domestic adoption.
Domestic adoption agencies complete the adoption of infants within Florida and across the United States. Domestic adoption agencies vary in the level of service they provide. American Adoptions, for example, is a full-service agency that provides everything you need to complete the entire adoption process. This gives our hopeful parents a sense of security and confidence, as they can rely on one source to meet their needs.
American Adoptions’ services include:
An adoption plan tailored to fit your personal adoption needs.
Financial protection for adoptive families with our industry-leading risk-sharing program.
24/7 counseling for prospective birth parents.
We’re able to complete a Florida infant adoption from start to finish — and we’re happy to guide you through your personal journey whenever you’re ready. We’ve worked with thousands of hopeful adoptive families, and their personal experience and adoption stories provide hope for yours.
AJ and Jenna adopted an infant through our agency and not only grew their family, but developed a life-long bond with their birth mother as well. Adoption changed their lives forever.
“Every time we talked to someone from American, they were always super friendly and super helpful,” Jenna said. “They never made us feel bad about asking a question I’m sure they had been asked a million times. It just felt natural.”
“It’s one of the greatest gifts anybody has given me — to choose me to be a father,” AJ says. “I don’t think we could ever repay her enough… It’s the coolest, most unselfish gift anybody can give you.”
Contact our agency for more information on domestic adoption here.
Step 3: Pick Your FL Adoption Professional
Choosing the professional that you work with to complete your Florida adoption is the most important step of how to adopt a baby in this state, which is why we take great pride in developing an adoption plan that ensures everyone involved has the best possible adoption experience. Many of our staff have first-hand adoption stories of their own, which gives us a unique understanding of each step in the adoption process.
There are several types of adoption professionals that can help show you how to adopt a baby in Florida:
National Adoption Agencies
Reviewed, regulated and licensed in multiple states, national adoption agencies like American Adoptions are able to work with prospective birth and adoptive parents in all 50 states. This limits financial risk and decreases adoption wait times. Many national adoption agencies, like American Adoptions, can also complete home studies for waiting adoptive parents in Florida.
Adoption Law Firms
This is a collective of Florida adoption lawyers who handle all of the legal aspects of your adoption. They may work with a licensed Florida adoption agency for child placement, counseling and home study services that they personally can’t provide.
Adoption Law Centers
Although the name suggests they operate similarly to adoption law firms, adoption law centers are rarely reviewed, certified, or regulated the way properly-supervised adoption professionals are in Florida. This can expose prospective birth and adoptive families to malpractice and significant risk.
Local/Regional Adoption Agencies
Local adoption agencies are licensed by the state of Florida. This usually limits their reach to prospective birth and adoptive families within the immediate area, so wait times to adopt a baby in Florida may be longer, but there may be the opportunity for more face-to-face interaction.
Adoption facilitators are strictly regulated in almost every state and are illegal in several states due to their predatory practices. In Florida, they’re required to report all fees and expenses paid to the court and provide the adoptive family with information about the child’s background. Although Florida has more laws to keep adoption facilitators in check than some states, working with a facilitator can be risky if you’re thinking of adopting a child.
Step 4: Begin the Florida Adoption Process
At this stage in the adoption process, the paperwork you’ve likely heard about begins in earnest. American Adoptions’ prospective birth and adoptive parents will fill out their Adoption Planning Questionnaires (APQs) to explore what they envision for their infant adoption in Florida.
You’ll also create an adoptive family profile, complete your Florida adoption home study process and take any necessary training courses to become a waiting adoptive parent. Once you’ve been approved to adopt after completing these steps, you’ll be considered for adoption opportunities with expectant mothers as an “active waiting family.”
Step 5: Enter into an Adoption Opportunity
Once you’ve entered into that “active” stage, you will wait for an adoption opportunity. An expectant mother will choose you after viewing your adoption profile.
Expectant mothers are shown your profile if you have similar hopes for the adoption, including:
Wanting the same level of post-adoption contact
Your comfort level with genetic medical histories of varying types
Your flexibility on the gender and race of your child
It’s important to remember that every expectant mother creating an adoption plan is looking for something different in prospective adoptive parents for her child, so there is no such thing as the “perfect” adoption profile.
Seventy-five percent of people who have adopted through American Adoptions were placed with a child within one to 12 months after becoming active with the agency, so wait times are generally short. Your adoption wait time will be most affected by your openness to a range of prospective birth mothers.
You can contact a specialist anytime online for more information on this stage in the Florida newborn adoption process.
Step 6: Complete Your Adoption through Finalization
After you’ve been paired with an expectant mother, you may have the opportunity to get to know each other more leading up to the birth, depending on her comfort level and the amount of openness she wants in her adoption. Once the baby is born, the biological mother may sign her consent to the adoption at any time — but not before. The birth father, however, may give his consent before the baby is born.
Only after a birth mother issues her consent to the adoption are her parental rights terminated and placement occurs. Please remember that she is under no obligation to consent to the adoption until that point in time.
For adoptions that occur across state lines, you’ll have to complete the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) process before you can return home to Florida following placement with your child.
Adopting a child in Florida means that the additional step of ICPC won’t be necessary for your adoption.
Once you’re home with your child, your Florida adoption home study professional will return for the post-placement in-home visits that take place between placement and the adoption finalization. This is to check up on the whole family to make sure that everyone is adjusting well.
In the meantime, your Florida adoption attorney will contact you to schedule an adoption finalization hearing in your local circuit court, which maintains jurisdiction for all adoption hearings in the state of Florida. Typically, the adoptive family, your adoption attorney, and sometimes your social worker will attend the finalization hearing. At the hearing, the judge will officially grant your parental rights with a final adoption decree.
This legally completes the Florida infant adoption process and formally recognizes your child’s place in your family.
Step 7: Life after Adoption Placement
Although the legal process of adopting a baby in Florida legally ends with adoption finalization, the adoption process is never truly over. Instead, it’s a lifelong journey of discovery for both birth and adoptive families.
Whenever possible, open adoptions are encouraged. Studies have shown these kinds of adoption to be highly beneficial for everyone involved, but most importantly for the adoptee. An open baby adoption in Florida allows for the lines of communication to stay open on some level between the birth and adoptive family.
During the adoption planning process, adoptive and birth parents are matched based on the amount of contact they each want in their adoption. Open adoptions can include exchanging letters, calls, photos, texts, emails and visits at varying levels of frequency. There’s no strict definition of an open adoption. It’s simply whatever the birth and adoptive family want it to look like. Every relationship is unique!
For birth and adoptive families who prefer a semi-open adoption, American Adoptions can facilitate post-placement contact between the parties for up to 18 years.
Start Your Adoption Journey Today [We Want to Help You with Your Adoption]
The adoption journey experience is a life changing and incredibly rewarding, especially for the child. We want to make sure your experience is every bit of that and more. Our first-hand adoption stories help address and understand your adoption needs. Take it from our founder, Scott Mars, who knows all too well what positive impact adoption has.
“My mom and dad was a couple who weren’t able to become a mom and dad without adoption. Of all people in this world, my mom and dad deserve to be parents. And without adoption, they would not have been able to share their love, share their life, and give someone the life that I had.
“Because of adoption, my life was filled with love and opportunity.” You can watch Scott’s video to see his entire adoption story.
“I am available to answer any questions that arise, particularly from birth moms, as I have been in your shoes and know how you are feeling,” Michelle said. “It was most helpful to me when I had someone to talk to who would just listen to me without making any judgments or conclusions about who I was as a person.”
You can ask Michelle questions about the Florida adoption process online. You can also get free information with our online contact form for prospective birth mothers considering adoption here. Adoptive families wanting more information on adopting a child can click here to get more information.
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.