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Who may adopt?

Any individual who is 18 years or older may adopt, regardless of marital status. Homosexual adoption is not allowed. Spouses must petition jointly to adopt, except in the case of a stepparent adoption, in which case the non-adopting spouse may consent to adoption.

Who may place a child for adoption?

Birthparents may place a child directly, with or without the assistance of an intermediary attorney. The Department of Child and Family Services and duly licensed child-placing agencies facilitate agency placements.

Is birthparent counseling required?

Florida requires that adoption service providers, whether an agency or an attorney, make birthparents aware of the availability of counseling. State law provides for the payment of counseling expenses by the adoptive parent(s).

May birthparents receive assistance with expenses?

Under Florida law, financial assistance is available for prenatal care, medical care, living expenses, and any other services related to the adoption.

How are putative father rights addressed?

Florida maintains a putative father registry. A putative father is deemed to be on notice of a pregnancy and possible adoption proceeding by virtue of the fact that he has engaged in sexual relations with a woman. Consent to adoption must be obtained from a putative father who has registered with the putative father registry in a timely manner, filing a claim of paternity form; who has provided, or attempted to provide, regular support to the child or mother during the pregnancy; or who has been identified by the birthmother as the father. A putative father may file a claim of paternity form any time prior to the child’s birth but must file the form prior to the date on which a petition to terminate parental rights is filed. A court may terminate a putative father’s parental rights and authorize adoption proceedings without further notice or consent if the putative father fails to comply with the deadlines for filing a claim of paternity form, or otherwise fails to meet the requirements for receiving notice. Upon receiving notice of an intended adoption, a registered putative father has 30 days to file a verified response with the court. If the biological father’s identity is unknown, the court must first make an inquiry to identify him, ordering the adoption entity to make a diligent search for the individual, prior to terminating his parental rights.

When may the birthparent(s) relinquish custody and consent to adoption?

A valid consent for adoption may not be signed by the birth mother until 48 hours after the birth of the child, or the day the birth mother is notified in writing, that she is fit for discharge from the licensed hospital or birth center. A putative father may sign a valid consent for adoption at any time after the birth of the child

A consent for adoption signed before the child attains the age of 6 months is binding and irrevocable from the moment it is signed unless it can be proven in court that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress. A consent for adoption signed after the child attains the age of 6 months is valid from the moment it is signed; however, a consent for adoption signed before the child attains the age of 6 months is binding and irrevocable from the moment it is signed unless it can be proven in court that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress. A consent for adoption signed after the child attains the age of 6 months is valid from the moment it is signed; however, it may be revoked until the child is placed in an adoptive home, or up to 3 days after it was signed, whichever is longer.

Can I choose the family for my baby?

Yes, you will choose who you would like to parent your child. Our agency has different families who have been through the home study process. They have completed an adoption education class and they are prepared to adopt. These families have been screened and approved by both our agency and the state of Florida. Your caseworker will work with you to determine the most appropriate family for your child.

How often will I get to see my baby after birth and after adoption?

You may have as much contact with your baby at the hospital as you desire. We encourage you to spend time with your child if you wish. When planning your child’s adoption, you will explore the degrees of openness in your adoption plan and discuss with your counselor how much contact you would like and your wishes will be discussed with the family. Most choose semi-open adoption that keeps you informed about your child’s progress through letters and pictures. If you prefer not to have any contact with your child or the adoptive family, confidential plans are also possible. Most moms meet the couple in the last trimester and together they discuss what level of contact they are comfortable with.

Will my child know about my family and me?

That depends on what type of adoption you choose – open, semi-open, or confidential. Your agency will encourage you to provide your complete medical and social history to your child, no matter what type of adoption you choose (in most states this is required). In most cases, the adoption agency will share as much or as little as you want them to. Families are required to attend adoption education classes. It is during this time families learn the importance of honoring the birthmother and her family. Children need love and support in their world, and you become a cherished and important person to the family and your child.

How soon after birth can my baby go to the parents I choose?

The timing of your child’s placement depends when you prefer the placement to happen. Most prefer the placement to occur at the time of discharge from the hospital. Once you and the baby are discharged, you will sign consents, which give the agency the legal ability to place the child with the adoptive couple. The child will then go home with their new family.

What can I expect for expenses?

None. In Florida agencies are allowed to pay your expenses relating to the adoption and identified living expenses. Your counselor will discuss with you all of the financial details.

Who pays for the adoption?

There is no cost to you for adoption. Choose Life funding is available initially to help with some expenses. We will also work with the adoptive parents to pay for all of your pregnancy-related expenses. This includes housing, food, medical and even some incidental expenses. The court will approve all the fees being paid on your behalf to complete the adoption.