Adoption in Florida
Are you a Florida resident looking to adopt or place your child for adoption? Are you unsure of where to begin? We’ve got you covered. The following information will help you navigate the process in Florida and answer some frequently asked questions about adoption, as well as provide some resources to help guide you along the way.
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What you need to know about placing your child for Adoption in Florida
Making the decision to place your child for adoption can be one of the toughest, but selfless choices you make, but being well-informed about the process may help ease some of your stress. The following information will provide some important factors to think about when considering placing your child for adoption in Florida.
Who must consent to a Florida adoption and how does it work?
In Florida, consent to adoption must be given by the following (as applicable):
- The Birth Mom
- The Birth Father if:
- He was married to the Birth Mom when the child was born or conceived
- The court has established his paternity
- He filed an affidavit for paternity
- He is the Adoptive Father of the child
- He is unmarried but has acknowledged his paternity in writing
- A court official, if the person having parental rights does not have authority to give consent
- Any person having custody of the child
- The adoptee if they are at least 12 years old
When is consent not necessary for adoption in Florida?
In Florida, consent to adoption by the child’s parent or guardian may be waived by the court if the person:
- Has abandoned the child without means of identification
- Has had his or her parental rights terminated by the court
- Has been declared incompetent
- Fails to respond to the request for consent in writing within 60 days (If they are not the parents, but the legal guardian of the child)
Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption?
Unless the consent to adoption is found to have been obtained by fraud or duress, a Florida Birth Mother who has given consent to adoption within 48 hours of the child’s birth may not revoke her consent.
There is a 3-day revocation period for an adoption of a child who is at least 6 months old when consent was given.
What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process?
In Florida, a man who is the considered the legal father of the child is entitled to give his consent to the adoption if:
- The child was conceived while he was married to the Birth Mother
- The court has established him as the child’s father
- The child is already his by adoption
- He was listed on the child’s birth certificate before the petition for termination of parental rights
- He filed an affidavit of paternity before the petition for termination of his parental rights
The court may waive his right to consent to adoption if:
- His parental rights have been terminated
- He has deserted or abandoned the child
- He has been declared incompetent
What you need to know about adopting a child in Florida
Unsure about the adoption process in Florida? Continue reading for answers to frequently asked questions and for things to know when considering adoption in the Sunshine State.
What are the laws and requirements for adopting a child in Florida?
In Florida, marital status is not a factor in whether or not someone can adopt. A single person or married couple may be eligible. The financial standing, health, and social well-being of any adult wishing to adopt will be considered when determining adoption eligibility.
How much does it cost to adopt a child?
Florida adoption expenses may vary depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. International adoption will be different from a domestic adoption, and adoption from a private agency will be different from a government agency. Regardless of the type of adoption you decide to pursue, here are a few expenses you may need to consider when becoming an Adoptive Parent:
- Rent and utilities
- Medical expenses
- Telephone bills
- Other basic living necessities
Other expenses may include home study fees, agency fees, legal representation, and counseling services.
Florida adoption costs are regulated, so court approval is required for expenses exceeding:
- $800 in court costs
- $5,000 in medical bills
- $5,000 in legal fees
How can I become a foster parent?
In Florida, a person who wishes to become a foster parent must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Attend an orientation about being a foster parent
- Complete a home safety inspection
- Have enough physical space in your home to accommodate a child
- Pass a child abuse history and criminal background check
- Complete 20-30 hours of foster care training
- Complete a home study that will review your preparedness for fostering
- Have sufficient income to care for a family
Can you finalize an international adoption in Florida?
In order to adopt a child internationally, the child must be from a country that is a part of the Hague Convention, which is an international agreement that establishes standard adoption practices for intercountry adoptions.
- Be a U.S. Citizen
- If married, your spouse must also be a U.S. Citizen or have legal status and together you must file for adoption
- Pass criminal background checks, the home study process and fingerprinting
- If unmarried, be at least 25 years old
Who can legally facilitate a Florida adoption?
There are many agencies, attorneys, and facilitators offering adoption services in Florida, so it is important to understand the differences between them.
Agencies are regulated businesses and attorneys are experts in adoption law, both licensed and trained in adoption processes.
Adoption Facilitators are individuals who are usually unlicensed and unregulated that match Prospective Adoptive Parents with expectant Birth Mothers.
In Florida, only a licensed agency or professional may legally provide adoption services or advertise on behalf of either an expectant Birth Mom or Prospective Adoptive Parent. The licensed entity must be able to prove its eligibility by providing its Florida adoption license number.
Home Study and Post Placement Requirements in Florida
What is a home study and what happens during the process?
Before adopting a child, a Prospective Adoptive Parent and his or her family must undergo a home study to assess their ability to care for a child and provide a safe, stable home environment. This process will also help determine what kind of adoption is appropriate for the family and what child will fit best within their lifestyle. An approved home study will be valid for up to one year, after that another home study must be conducted.
In Florida, the home study process will include and require the following from the Prospective Parents:
- Criminal background checks
- Child abuse registry checks
- Physical assessments of the safety of the home
- Proof of income and financial stability to provide care for a child
- Documentation of any counseling and education
- A minimum of 5 references, 2 of which may come from non-family members
- Complete adoptive parent training
Who oversees a home study in Florida and who is included in it?
In Florida, the home study process will be monitored by a licensed child placing agency or the Florida Department of Children and Family.
To complete this process, all adults living in the home must be included in the interview process and any one over the age of 12 must pass a criminal background check.
Why would my home study not be approved?
As a Florida resident, the following may be grounds for disapproval of your home study and eligibility to adopt:
- The Prospective Parent has been convicted of disqualifying crimes
- Child abuse records check shoes previous issues of abuse, neglect or abandonment
- The Prospective Parent was one a foster parent who violated their licensing standards
- The Prospective Parent has a serious medical condition that inhibits their ability to care for the child physically, emotionally and financially
- Any member of the household is determined a sex offender or has been convicted of sexual battery, child abuse or murder
What are the home study requirements for adopting a child from another state?
If you are a resident of Florida, but are presented with the opportunity to adopt a child who was born in another state, you must comply with the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, which is a contract among the states to ensure safe adoptions across state lines.
Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions?
Unless ordered by a court authority, a home study is not required in the case of a stepparent or relative adoption in Florida.
What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Florida?
“Foster to Adopt” is when a foster parent or family decides to adopt a foster child that is currently in their care.
The goal of foster care is to eventually reunite the child with his or her family, but in the case that reunification is not an option, the foster parents may be eligible to adopt the child. In Florida, a foster parent must complete and pass the home study process. During this time, the relationship between the child and foster parent will be evaluated along with the home to ensure the adoption will provide a stable environment for the child.
A foster parent is not eligible to adopt a child who is currently in their care if:
- They previously adopted a foster child but returned their custody back to the state
- The child has siblings that the foster parents are not willing to adopt and it is in the child’s best interest to stay with the siblings
What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?
A post placement assessment is an evaluation of the child’s integration into the adoptive family’s home that takes place before the adoption can be finalized. It is meant to ensure that the child and family were a good fit for adoption.
In Florida, the post placement process will last at least 90 days with the first home visit taking place the first week of the child being placed in the adoptive home. Within the 90 days, there will be at least 3 home visits, but more may occur if the case worker finds it necessary.
Florida Adoption Agencies and Professionals
Going through the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, but the adoption professionals in Florida are eager to help you throughout your journey. Whether you are looking to adopt a child or deciding to place your child for adoption, the following agencies are ready to offer you support, advice, and answers to your questions as you pursue the adoption process:
Is your adoption journey bringing you to sunny Florida? Here’s a list of some of The Sunshine States’ exciting spots to visit while you await the process:
Universal Studios Florida in Orlando
Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando
Walt Disney World in Orlando
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Titusville