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How to Adopt in Florida

Florida isn’t just home to beautiful beaches and Walt Disney World; it’s also home to families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Florida.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Florida

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Florida.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Florida?

A single person or husband and wife, together, may adopt a child In Florida.

Any adult in good health, social, and financial standing who is willing to provide a loving home to a child may be eligible to adopt.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Florida?

Expenses related to adoption in Florida can vary widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. For example, fostering a child may only cost you the fees to obtain a license while international and private domestic adoption may require fees to assist you in the process.

If you do decide to purse adoption through an agency, you may be required to pay Birth Mother-related expenses during the pregnancy and up to 6 weeks post-partum including, but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rent and utilities
  • Telephone bills
  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Other basic living necessities

Other expenses may include home study fees, agency fees, legal representation, and counseling services.

Adoption costs in Florida are regulated and court approval is required for expenses exceeding:

  • $5,000 in legal fees
  • $800 in court costs
  • $5,000 in medical bills

How do you become a foster parent in Florida?

To become a foster parent in Florida, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a child abuse and criminal background check
  • Attend an orientation about fostering a child
  • Complete a home inspection and have enough physical space in your home to accommodate a foster child
  • Complete 20-30 hours of foster care training
  • Complete a home study that will review your preparedness for fostering
  • Have sufficient income to care for a family

Click here to find a foster care agency in your local area.

Can you finalize an international adoption in Florida?

International adoptions in compliance with both the United States and the country in which the adopted child was born are recognized in Florida.

A "Certificate of Foreign Birth," stating the country and date of birth, will be given to the child with proof of the child’s birth date and place and a certified copy of the adoption decree, but it will also state that it is not evidence of the child’s U.S. citizenship.

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Florida?

A facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In Florida, it is illegal for any entity other than a licensed adoption agency or professional, to advertise a child is available for adoption or a Prospective Parent is interested in adoption. If a licensed professional does advertise for an adoption, they must provide their Florida adoption license number as proof.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Florida

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Florida.

Who must consent to an adoption in Florida?

Written consent to adoption and to terminate parental rights may be given by the following:

  • The Birth Mother
  • The Birth Father if:
    • He filed an affidavit for paternity
    • The child is his by adoption
    • The court has established the child as his
    • The child was born or conceived while he was married to the Birth Mother
    • He has acknowledged his paternity in writing, if unmarried
  • Any person lawfully entitled to the custody of the child
  • The court, if the person with parental rights doesn’t have authority to consent
  • An adoptee if they are at least 12 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Florida?

Consent to adoption in Florida may be waived by the court if:

  • A parent has abandoned the child without means of identification
  • A parent whose rights have been terminated by the court
  • A parent who has been declared incompetent
  • A legal guardian of the adoptee if they fail to respond to the request for consent in writing within 60 days

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Florida?

Consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity in Florida must be given in the following ways:

  • If by the adoptee, by oral or written statement in the presence of court or a notary public and 2 witnesses
  • If by another person, including the Birth Mother, in the presence of court or a notary public and 2 witnesses
  • If by the court, by an appropriate order or certificate of the court
  • If by an agency, by affidavit for its authorized representative

An affidavit of nonpaternity may be given before the child’s birth, but consent cannot be given until after.

For a Birth Mother, consent to adoption may not be given until 48 hours after the child’s birth or the day she is given permission to leave the hospital, whichever comes first.

For a Birth Father, consent may be given any time after the child’s birth.

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Florida?

In Florida, a Birth Mother who has given consent to adoption within 48 hours of the child’s birth may not revoke her consent unless the court finds it was obtained by fraud or duress.

If the adoptee is 6 months old at the time of the adoption consent, there is a 3-day revocation period. Consent may also be revoked any time before the child is placed with their Adoptive Parents, whichever comes latest.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Florida?

A man in Florida is legally considered the child’s father, therefore must consent to adoption if:

  • The child is already his by adoption
  • The court has established him to be the child’s father
  • The child was conceived while he was married to the Birth Mother
  • He was listed on the child’s birth certificate before the petition for termination of parental rights
  • He filed an affidavit of paternity before the petition for termination of parental rights

The court may waive his right to consent to adoption if:

  • His parental rights have been terminated by the court
  • He has been declared incompetent by the court
  • He has deserted or abandoned the child

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Florida

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Florida are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

Before adopting a child, a home study will be conducted to determine the suitability and readiness of the Prospective Adoptive Parents and current members of the household. The process will include the following:

  • Interviews with the Prospective Parents
  • Criminal records and central abuse registry checks
  • Documentation of counseling and education from the Prospective Parents
  • Proof of income and financial stability from the Prospective Parents to provide care for a child
  • Physical assessment of the safety of the home
  • A minimum of 5 references, 2 of which come from non-relatives
  • Attend and complete adoptive parent training

A home study must be completed before a child may be placed into the Adoptive Parents home and will be valid for a year after it is approved.

Who oversees a home study in Florida and who is included in it?

Home studies in Florida are conducted by licensed child-placing agencies or other licensed professionals. If there are no licensed professionals in the county where the adoption applicants live, the Department of Children and Family Services will perform the home study. For children with special needs, The Department of Child and Family Services will facilitate the adoption.

All adults residing in home being studied will be included in the process and all household members who are 12 and older will need to pass a criminal background check.

Why would my home study not be approved in Florida?

A home study may be denied in Florida for the following reasons:

  • Issues of abuse, neglect or abandonment are verified in the child abuse record check
  • The applicant is or was a foster parent, and their file shows concerns or violations of licensing standards
  • The applicant criminal background check shows they have been convicted of disqualifying crimes
  • The applicant has a serious medical condition that may compromise their ability to provide social, physical, emotional, and financial support of the child.

In Florida, a home study will be immediately denied if any member of the household has been determined a sex offender or convicted of child abuse, sexual battery, or murder by the court.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Florida?

A home study report or recommendation is not required for stepparent and relative adoptions in Florida unless otherwise ordered by court.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

A post placement study is performed after the child has been placed into the Adoptive Parents home to ensure the transition is going smoothly and that the physical, emotional, social, and economic status of the family has not changed to make caring for the child an issue.

This period of investigation should last no less than 90 days and the first visit of the post placement study in Florida should happen within 1 week of the child being placed in the home. At least 3 visits will be made during this period, but more may be required if problems or concerns arise.

The adoptee must be contacted once a month until the adoption is finalized.

What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Florida?

In Florida, if a current Foster Parent would like to adopt their foster child, they must get an approved home study that will evaluate the length of time the child has been living in the home, the ability of the parent to provide a stable environment, and the depth of their existing relationship. If approved, the Foster Parent may become the child’s Adoptive Parent.

A Foster Parent may not be able to adopt their foster child if:

  • The child has siblings that they do not wish to adopt and it is in the best interest of the child to stay with their siblings
  • They have previously adopted a foster child, but returned the custody of the child to the Department

Florida Adoption Professionals

Florida is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

ACF Adoptions

1-800-348-0467

Connecting Hearts Adoption Services

(407) 733-8642

Heart of Adoptions

(407) 898-8280

Gift of Life Adoptions

(727) 549-1416

Adoptions by Shepherd Care

1-800-966-2060

Things to do in Florida

If you find yourself in the Sunshine State waiting for the adoption process to be finalized, you might consider visiting some of Florida’s most popular attractions to keep you busy:

Walt Disney World in Orlando

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Titusville

Universal Studios Florida in Orlando

Everglades National Park

Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Florida. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.