To start your adoption journey, you need to know what lies ahead. Our adoption counsellors will answer all your questions, help you understand the processes involved and ultimately decide if adoption is the right choice for you. You must ensure full commitment and dedication to the decision of adopting a child before getting involved in the process.
Types of Adoption:
The next step is to decide which type of adoption you are interested in. It is very important to understand the different characteristics of each type as every child has specific needs that have to be addressed. You will need to consider the following:
- Adopt a baby or an older child
- Step-parent or relative adoption
- Adopt domestically or internationally
- The level of communication with the birth parents
Every option has multiple variables that affect the time and costs of the adoption process. If you have already identified the birth mother, we will assist you in completing the adoption plan.
Becoming a Prospective Adoptive Family:
The State of Florida requires all prospective adoptive families to undergo a home study before being able to adopt. The home study report will provide a written representation of your qualification to adopt a child. It also serves to educate and prepare the adoptive family to undertake the tasks of adopting a child.
You will also need to make an adoptive family profile that is given to the birth parents for selection purposes. The profile is similar to a scrapbook the helps the birth parents know you. It will include a “Dear Birth Mother” letter that gives you a chance to speak directly with the birth mother of your child, along with a photo album and some information about your family and your home. You can make the profile yourself or seek the help of professionals.
Waiting For an Adoption Opportunity:
Once you have completed your home study and adoption profile, you will become an active family waiting for an adoption opportunity. There are many variables that contribute to how long it will take to be matched with a birth mother. It is important to keep a positive mindset during this period. Families that are able to distance themselves from the waiting period and maintain their normal lifestyles experience a much smoother adoption process.
Meeting the Birth Parents:
Once your profile is selected, it is common for the birth parents to get to know the adoptive parents. We encourage both parties to meet each other in a casual setting so they can learn about each other and ask non-identifying questions. A staff member of Heartfelt Adoptions is present at the meeting. It is up to you to decide the amount of information you are willing to share. After the meeting, we will keep you notified of any updates or changes throughout the pregnancy. Any following correspondence between the families comes to Heartfelt Adoptions and is forwarded on a new envelope to for confidentiality.
Finalizing the Adoption:
This is an exciting time for the adoptive parents. Welcoming a new member into the family is a joyful experience. Once the child is placed in the adoptive family, you are required to have at least two visits from your home study social worker until the adoption is finalized. The parental rights of the biological parents will be terminated during this time, which can take from 4 to 6 months. A Finalization Hearing will take place, where a judge will ensure that the necessary post-placements visits were conducted and that both birth parents’ parental rights have been legally terminated. Once the Finalization Hearing is finished, the adoptive parents are granted the legal custody of the child.