Adoption: What to Know

What is it?

Adoption is a legal action that transfers all parental rights to adoptive parents, making the adoptive child a legal member of the new family with all the rights and privileges of a biological child.

Who can adopt?

Most adults who can provide a stable, loving home to a child can adopt; however, state law provides some restrictions. In most cases, married couples, single parents, working mothers. Parents who already have children, people who live in apartments and people of any religious faith, race and education level will be considered.

Who can be adopted?

Any child in foster care whose birth parents’ parental rights have been terminated by the courts may be adopted.

Who are the children waiting for adoption?

Right now, about 800 children in foster care are available for adoption and are actively seeking permanent families. These are children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned and whose parental rights have been terminated.

Of these, the children who are likely to wait the longest for a family are older children, especially teenagers, and sibling groups. In most cases, the department tries to keep brothers and sisters together in foster care and in adoptive homes.

Many children in their late teens often want the security of a permanent family. As one teen put it. “I just want a place to go home to for the holidays. I want someone to remember my birthday.” About one-fifth of the children waiting tobe adopted are teenagers, many of whom are part of sibling groups that include younger children. Nearly half the children waiting to be adopted are between the ages of six and 12, while a third are under six.

Many of the children waiting to be adopted are part of a group of siblings. The department tries to keep siblings together whenever possible. About 40 percent of the children waiting have brothers and sisters. More than half of the sibling groups consist of two children. There are some groups with as many as six or seven brothers and sisters looking for a forever home. In most sibling groups (60 percent), all the children are younger than 12 years of age.

How do I find out about the children available for adoption?

Your counselor will provide information about and pictures of children available for adoption. You might also look at a Children in Waiting brochure or browse through the department’s Adoption Homepage on the Internet athttp://www.adoptflorida.org.

What does it cost to adopt?

Florida does not charge for pre-adoptive training, home studies or placement of foster children in adoptive homes. The main costs associated with an adoption through Children and Family Services are court costs and attorney’s fees. In most cases these costs are less than $500 and may be reimbursed by the state.

How long does it take to adopt?

The answer varies from case to case, depending on how quickly your family is matched with one or more of our children. The process to become a prospective adoptive parent-including background checks, medical exams, Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (MAPP) training and home studies-can usually be completed within eight months.

Will I get the historical information of the child I adopt?

You will be given information on the child’s history (medical, foster placements and developmental level), daily habits (educational, eating, sleeping, playing, etc.), and other likes and dislikes.

What kind of post-adoption support is available?

Cash assistance plus assistance for treatment of preexisting medical or psychological conditions may be available. Support groups and counselor services are also available in many areas.

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