Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who can adopt a child?
a. If you have the ability to provide the basics for a child and to make a lifelong commitment, you can adopt a child in Florida. You don’t need to own a home, maintain a specific income level or be married. Certain things can disqualify you as an adoptive parent, such as certain felony criminal records.
Q. Do i have to worry about the biological parent(s) taking my child back?
a. No. Florida’s children are not made available for adoption until a court has already terminated the parental rights of their birth parents. So you never have to worry about a biological parent challenging your parental rights. This form of adoption is very secure.
Q. What is the meaning of "Special Needs"?
a. Federal rules describe Special Needs for certain kids that are eligible for financial assistance in the adoption process. So special Needs does not necessarily mean that the child has a specific disability. The state of Florida has certain criteria that determine whether a child is considered Special Needs. If the child has one or more of the below criteria, the child will qualify for Special Needs assistance in the state of Florida:
- EIght years of age or older
- African American or racially mixed parentage
- Member of a sibling group being placed for adoption as a unit
- Mentally, Physically and/or emotionally handicapped
- Significant emotional ties with his/her foster parents or relative caregiver
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Q. Is special needs adoptions the choice for me?
a. If you are the type of person who is patient, has ample time to give the needs of a special child as well as shower him with the love he needs, then adopting a child with special needs may be for you. Emotional stability is what you need to hurdle many trials you might be facing with the decision to adopt a child with special needs.
Additionally, being financially and physically strong can help you overcome the challenges of being an adoptive parent to a child with special needs.
Q. What are the different types of adoptions?
a. Adoption is the act of legally and permanently assuming custody of a minor who is not your biological child. The different types of adoption include:
- Fost-adopt? The child is placed in the care of trained and skilled foster parents.
- Infant adoption? The child is adopted at birth or during early infancy.
- International adoption? The adoptive parents adopt a child from a foreign country.
- Waiting child adoption? This term refers to adopting a non-infant child, most commonly a toddler.
- Step-child adoption? The child is legally adopted by his or her step-parent.
- Older child adoption? Adoption of a child over two years of age.
- Relative adoption? The child is legally adopted by family members who are not his or her own parents.
- Special needs adoption? This term refers to adopting children who have physical, mental, or emotional abnormalities.
- Military and overseas adoption? A child is adopted by military personnel or overseas workers.
- Adult adoption? An adult is adopted by another adult who is not his or her own parent. In this type of adoption, even senior citizens may be adopted by younger adults.
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Q. Who Can Be Adopted?
a. It is important to remember that most foster children are reunited with their parents or are placed with relatives and never become available for adoption. However, foster children whose birth parents' parental rights have been terminated by the courts may be adopted.
While many teens have experienced multiple rejections and are hesitant to try adoption, it is important for them to have a family to assist them through the remaining years of adolescence and to be supportive into their adult years. Family ties do not end at age 18.
Q. How Long Does It Take To Adopt?
a. The answer varies. The process to become an approved adoptive parent includes attending a preparation course of ten weeks, obtaining local, state and federal background checks, current physical exam, and completion of a home study. The process can usually be completed in eight months.
When a child is matched with your family, pre-placement activities will occur including visits and regular communications with the child. Placement of the child will occur as soon as the child is comfortable. The child's counselor will supervise the placement for a minimum of 90 days. When the supervision period is completed, the counselor will provide consents to your attorney and a hearing may be scheduled for legalization of the adoption.
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Q. What is a homestudy?
a. Homestudies are required by the state of Florida, for all prospective adoptive parents. A homestudy is an in-depth review of the prospective adoptive family. Homestudies as part of the adoption process to ensure that the adoptive parent(s) are physically, emotionally, mentally and financially able to adopt. A homestudy includes the following parts:
- You will be required to provide information about your health.
- Background checks at the local, state and federal level will be conducted, including having your fingerprints screened at the federal level.
- References will be requested from your employer, school officials if you have children in school and character references from individuals who have known you and your family.
- The counselor will visit your home one or more times to complete the home study. If you have children, it will be important for the counselor to ask them a few questions about what they think about adoption. Some of the topics that will be discussed with you and your spouse, if you have one, are:
- Why do you want to adopt?
- Describe your childhood.
- What are the strengths of your marriage?
- How do you think a new child in your home will alter your lifestyle?
- Describe your financial situation.
- Describe your parenting style/philosophy.
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Q. What is MAPP Training?
a. MAPP stands for Model Approach to Partnership and Parenting and is a 30-hour training course required to become an adoptive parent in the state of Florida. If you are married, both you and your spouse must attend. MAPP will provide you with information on the special needs of children in our care and equip you with tools to assess your family's strengths and needs to help you decide if adoption is right for your family.
Q. What types of post adoption services are available in Florida?
a. Post adoption services in Florida are administered by the Department of Children’s Services, Family Safety and Preservation Program Office. The DCF and contracted agencies provide various services, depending on location. Post-adoption services include the following examples:
- Information and referral
- Support groups
- Adoption related libraries
- Case management
- Florida Adoption Reunion Registry (FARR)