Adoption is a wonderful opportunity to grow your family and open your heart and your home to a child who is looking for their life to be changed.
It’s probably overwhelming, though, to think about the overall adoption process.
The entire process – from making the decision you want to adopt to getting matched with a child – can usually be completed in eight to nine months. Once a child has been placed in your home, the placement will be supervised for at least 90 days, although the child will usually live with the adoptive family for at least six months before the adoption can be finalized.
What happens, then, during this time?
Let’s break down what to expect during the adoption process.
Florida’s Adoption Process
After you decide to adopt a child, the first thing you will want to do, besides a ton of research, is to find a local adoption worker who can guide you through the adoption process. You can find this person on your own, or by contacting Florida’s Adoption Information Center online or by phone at 1-800-96-ADOPT.
From there, you will attend a one- to two-hour orientation presentation that gives you the opportunity to talk with counselors and experienced adoptive parents about the entire adoption process.
After that, you will need to complete a mandatory 10-week preparation course. Depending on your community-based care agency, you will enroll in either the MAPP –Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting – or PRIDE – Parents’ Resources for Information Development Education – preparation course. These courses are usually available at nights and on weekends and “give you the opportunity to assess yourself and your family and to explore and learn about adoption issues.”
In addition to the preparation course, you will need to have a home study to show that your home will be safe and secure for a child. First, every adult living in your home will undergo local, state, and federal background checks. You will also need to provide professional references as well as character references.
During the home study, an adoption worker will visit your home at least once to talk with you and your family about a number of things, such as:
- Why you want to adopt;
- Your current financial situation;
- Your parenting style;
- Your parenting philosophy;
- The strength of your marriage, if applicable; and
- Anything else that is relevant to the adoption and the adoption process.
Be open and honest with your adoption worker during your home study because you’re all working toward the same goal: a successful adoption.
Once all of this is complete, everything will be gathered into a home study packet and sent to an adoption specialist for approval. During this time, you will also be looking for the right child to welcome into your home.
After you think you’ve found a match, you will learn about the child and the adoption worker will tell the child about you and your family. When the child is comfortable, you will have your first short visit. If everything goes well, the subsequent visits will get longer until you think it’s time for an overnight or extended visit.
The child will then be placed in your home and you will have monthly visits from the adoption worker to check on the child’s adjustment. When the counselor thinks the adoption can take place, he or she will let your attorney know. At this point, a hearing will be scheduled and the adoption can become legal.
You Don’t Have to Go Through the Adoption Process Alone
The adoption process can be time-consuming but the end result will be worth it for you and your newly adopted child. If you’re thinking of adoption, reach out to an experienced Florida adoption attorney to discuss your options and get the adoption process started.