Before You Adopt?

It is great that you are interested in adoption. Whatever your reason for adoption may be, the feeling of bringing a child into your home will be the most joyful experience of your life. Adoptive parents need to consider many things prior to making the decision. There is a lot to learn and think about in order to emotionally prepare yourself for the challenges of the adoption process and parenthood.

Adoptive parents need to evaluate their ability to provide a loving, caring and safe environment to the child. Raising a child does not come without costs and requires financial stability to secure their future. Adoptive children need emotional support from their parents throughout their lives, and as a parent  you will have to put the well-being of your child before yourself.

Adoption is not just about the adoptive parents and the birthparents, the most important person in the adoption is the child. We at Heartfelt Adoptions make every effort to ensure that the best possible outcome is secured for the child. We encourage and help the adoptive parents to devise the adoption plan in the best interests of the child.

There are so many options available to you when it comes to adoption. However, you should be honest with yourself about your needs and resources. We recommend that adoptive parents educate themselves as much as possible about parenting a child. Learning from online resources and speaking with experienced adoptive parents will help you make important parenting decisions, both prior to adoption and after the placement.

Information for Adoptive Parents

People have a lot of concerns when it comes to adoption. Our experienced counselors are here to answer all your questions. We believe that you deserve to know every aspect of the adoption process. Below is some information you may find useful:

The role of birthfathers:

The birthfather does not have to be involved in the adoption process. However, his consent is required if he has provided emotional and financial support to the birthmother during pregnancy or if he was married to the birthmother at time of conception or birth. If the whereabouts of the birth father are unknown, we attempt to locate him and seek his voluntary consent. If a search is conducted and we are unable to locate him, we will file a motion in court to waive off his consent.

For unmarried birthfathers who wish to preserve their parental rights, they must sign up with the paternity registry in Florida. They will also have to pay child support and help with the birthmother’s delivery and medical expenses. Failure to do so will result in his consent not being required to carry on with the adoption. For birthfathers who do not consent to the adoption, the court will determine if he has fulfilled all the necessary requirements to claim his legal rights to the child.

Medical History and Bills:

All birthmothers go through an extensive medical screening including HIV, Hepatitis and drug testing. Medical records from the birthmother’s doctor are provided as soon as they are received, and updated through out the pregnancy as needed. The medical information of birth mothers is usually available prior to being matched with the adoptive parents. However, this may not be possible if the birthmother comes to us in the very last stages of her pregnancy but we will try to request it at the time of birth.

Your insurance policy should cover the adoptive child’s medical expenses after he has been legally placed. All pre-natal medical expenses will be covered by the birthmothers’ medical insurance. If she does not have insurance, we will apply for Medicaid on her behalf. However, adoptive parents may have to pay for the reasonable living expenses of the birthmother.

After the Birth:

Once the birthmother signs the consent for adoption, she relinquishes her parental rights and cannot revoke her decision. However, she can change her mind at any time during the adoption process and it is illegal to pressurize her.

The birthmother cannot sign the consent for adoption until 48 hours after the birth or upon discharge from the hospital, whichever comes first. There will be no revocation period if she signs the consent at the hospital and the baby is placed directly with the adoptive parents. However, there is a three day revocation period if the child is over six months old or has resided with the birthmother. She can also revoke her decision in case of fraud or duress.

After the child’s placement, the adoptive parents are required to have at least two visits from their home study social worker. During this time the parental rights of the birth parents are terminated and this usually takes from 4 to 6 months. The baby is eligible for adoption after 30 days of the termination of parental rights. The final hearing is scheduled after the post-placement reports and final paperwork is complete.

Birth Certificates, Social Security and Taxation:

At the time of birth, an original birth certificate (OBC) is made with the name of the birth parents. Once the adoption is finalized, the name of the birth parents is changed with those of the adoptive parents, along with the name they have chosen for the child and an amended birth certificate (ABC) is issued. This generally takes from 4 to 8 weeks after the finalization.

You can apply for the child’s social security card after you receive the birth certificate. You can contact the IRS for a tax payer identification number of your child if you need the SSN for taxation purpose. You will also qualify for Adoption Tax Credit the year adoption is finalized. The tax credit is gradually increased for higher income slabs. You can download the IRS Form W-7A at www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html. For details on other tax related benefits, please contact your tax advisor or the IRS. You can also visit www.nacac.org for more information.