Opening your heart and home to a child is a very compassionate act but this decision comes with great responsibility. We know you have a lot of questions and want to gather as much information as possible. Here is a list of some common questions and their answers that will help you understand the idea of adoption and help you make a well-informed decision.
WHO CAN ADOPT A CHILD?
There is no single description of people who can become prospective adoptive parents. You may be single or married, in your 20s or 60s, wealthy or with modest earning, already a parent or with no children. The only absolute requirement is the consent of all parties involved, and of course your ability to really care for the child.
How long will it take to be matched with a birth mother?
There is no specific time period. There are a multiple factors that can affect a family’s match time. The most important one is your adoption preferences. If you are open to race, gender, social background, medical history, amount of post-placement contact and needs of the birth mother, the more chances you will have of being matched with a birth mother.
CAN WE SPECIFY THE GENDER OF THE CHILD?
It is ultimately your choice. However, we discourage parents from being gender specific. It is one of those variables that might increase the waiting period. Also in some instances we are not certain of the gender at the time of matching. We always encourage adoptive parents to have an open mind so that they can start a family as soon as possible.
How are we matched with the birth mother?
The birth mother is given several profiles of adoptive parents and it is ultimately her decision of which one she chooses. Both the adoptive parents and the birth mothers may have certain preferences and requirements. We try to accommodate their wishes as best as we can and take them into consideration when selecting adoptive parent profiles that the birth mother will review.
DO WE MEET THE BIRTH PARENTS?
It depends on individual preference. However, we encourage both parties to meet, so that they can get to know each other. Our staff member is present at the meeting and you are allowed to exchange non-identifying information. This is a good way to develop familiarity and learn about each other. However, what you choose to disclose is your discretion.
WHAT IS A HOME STUDY AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?
Home studies provide assurance to individuals who are responsible for placing a child for adoption that the adoptive family is properly equipped to take care of a child. It also helps to prepare the adoptive parents for the tasks of raising a child who was not born into their family. A home study consists of a series of interviews, collection of documents about the family and a written narrative report. A home study is required by law in order to become eligible for adoption.
WHAT INFORMATION CAN WE RECEIVE ABOUT THE BIRTH PARENTS?
As part of the screening process, we will obtain as much information about the birth parents as necessary. You will receive all non-identifying information, this will include first names, social background and medical history .We will also request a HIV, Hepatitis and drug test from the birth mother and you will be updated on her medical reports throughout the pregnancy.
CAN THE BIRTH MOTHER CHANGE THEIR MIND?
Once the birth mother has signed the consent for adoption, she cannot revoke her decision. When the adoption is finalized, the biological mother relinquishes her parental rights and has no legal tie to the child. Under Florida law, she cannot sign the papers until 48 hours after the birth of the baby or upon discharge from the hospital, whichever happens first. However, the birth mother can choose not to give her child for adoption at any time during the adoption process, and it is a violation of Florida law to pressurize her into giving her child for adoption.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF THE BIRTH FATHER?
Florida law makes it clear that an individual must either give birth to the child or establish his rights to the child in order to be considered a legal parent entitled to notice and an opportunity to assert his claim for the child.
The birth father’s consent is required, if he is married to the mother at the time of conception or birth, or if he has provided financial and emotional support during pregnancy. If he is unmarried, then he must claim his paternity with Florida’s Putative Father registry. Failure to do so will result in his consent not being required to go ahead with the adoption plan. If he wishes to retain his parental rights then he must respond within 30 days on notice of the intended adoption plan with a signed affidavit stating that he is willing to help with the child’s care, pay child support and help to pay the mothers maternity and delivery expenses. If the birth father cannot be located and a diligent search to find him is conducted without any results, his parental rights are terminated.
WILL OUR INSURANCE COVER THE BABY’S MEDICAL BILLS?
Most insurance policies provide coverage for adoptive children’s medical expenses from the date of the child’s legal placement. However, you should contact your insurance company to clarify whether the coverage begins at birth or at placement and other requirements for coverage of an adopted child. If the birth mother does not have medical insurance, we will apply for Medicaid to cover the pre-natal medical expenses.
HOW IS THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE MADE?
When the child is born, an original birth certificate (OBC) is made, that shows the date of birth, time and the names of the birth parents. When the adoption has been finalized, an amended birth certificate (ABC) is issued in which the birth parents name is changed with those of adoptive parents and the child name is changed to the one given by the adoptive parents. It takes 4 to 8 weeks after the finalization to receive the amended birth certificate.