What is Adoption?

Legal adoption means that the child becomes a member of your family and is no longer a part of the Foster Care System.

As an Adoptive Parent, you make all decisions for your adopted child, just as you would for your biological children.

Most adults who can provide a stable, loving home for a child or children can adopt. There is a great need for adoptive families who have the patience and ability to parent teenagers, large sibling groups and children with special needs.

Become an
adoptive parent.

To become an adoptive parent there are a few basic requirements that you need to meet.

  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You may be married, single or in a stable relationship.

  • You must be able to demonstrate financial stability.

  • Adoptive parent must be in good health.
  • Your home must be safe, clean and have sufficient space to accommodate children.

  • You must attend an orientation class and all PRIDE training sessions.

  • You must satisfactorily complete an Adoption Home Study.

  • All adult members of the household, as well as those caring for the child or children, must pass a criminal record clearance.

  • Adoptive parents go through the same training as a Foster Parent, but are ready to be matched with adoptable children once they are approved. It is a thorough process that ensures the most desirable outcome for both the parents and child.
Adoption

There is almost no cost
to adopt a Foster Child.

The state of Florida will reimburse you up to $1,000 in adoption costs such as attorney fees and you are eligible for a federal tax credit in the year that you adopt.

Understanding the adoption process will help you to make the right choice for your family. Adoption is the gift of a lifetime and we would consider it a privilege to help you bring home the child that is the best fit for your family.

FAQ

To be eligible to adopt one of Florida’s children, you may be married or single, already a parent or never a parent, in your 60s or in your 20s, an apartment renter or a homeowner, a person of modest means or wealth.

The fact is that there is no one description of people who can be prospective adoptive parents. If you have the ability to love a child, to provide the basics for a child and to make a lifelong commitment, you can be an adoptive parent. A few things will prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent, such as certain felony criminal records.

The acceptable income level varies widely depending on each unique situation. Income will be addressed as part of the home study to ensure that an adoptive parent is currently financially stable and able to provide for the basic needs of a child. Potential adoptive parents will never be disqualified based on income alone.

When you adopt a child from a community based care agency you will not be charged an adoption fee or fees related to pre-adoptive training, home studies or placement. There may be expenses related to attorney fees and court costs but these may be reimbursed by the state. Other one-time-only expenses that may be reimbursed are birth certificate fees and travel expenses for visiting the child.

This varies from case to case, but the background checks, adoptive parent training and home study can usually be completed in less than nine months.

Yes. One of the benefits of adopting from the state is having access to a comprehensive case history. You will be given information on the child’s medical background, foster placements and developmental level.

You will also be given insight into the child’s personality, habits, hobbies, aspirations, likes and dislikes. This information helps determine how the child will fit into your family.

No. Florida’s children are not made available for adoption until a court has already terminated the parental rights of their birth parents. This form of adoption is very secure.

“Special needs” is a term used in federal rules to describe certain children eligible for financial assistance in the adoption process. It does not mean the child necessarily has a disability. In the state of Florida, one or more of the following criteria qualifies a child for special needs assistance:

  • Age 8 or older
  • Member of a sibling group being placed for adoption together
  • African American or racially mixed
  • Significant emotional ties with foster parents or a relative caregiver
  • Mental, physical or emotional handicap

Yes. The local community-based care agency that assisted you in completing the adoption provides support such as information and referral services, support groups, adoption-related libraries, case management and training. To find out what options are available to you in your area, talk with your adoption counselor, contact your regional office of the Department of Children and Families.

For more information about adopting, please contact:

Wesley House Adoption Specialist
Phone: 305.809.5000
Email: info@wesleyhouse.org

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