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 Questions on Adoption

 
  • Can I adopt a child of a different race?

    Yes. It is against federal law to prohibit parents from adopting a child from foster care of a different race or ethnicity. The only exception to this is the adoption of American Indian children where special considerations apply.

  • How does Wesley House select families for available children?

    We find parents for children … not children for parents. The guiding force behind each adoption is the child's best interest. Every effort is made to match the specific needs of the child to the parenting potential of the family.

  • Are services available after adoption?

    Yes, counseling services are always available to adoptive parents. Many questions may arise about child rearing, additional medical or background information, or a need to talk about what adoption means to those involved. Wesley House is here to help.

  • How do you screen and approve adoptive families?

    The prospective adoptive parents must go through an extensive process called a home study. During this process, parents undergo background screenings with police departments and other governmental agencies, physicals, and home health inspections. Reference letters must be received to confirm stable employment and income. While the process may be time intensive and invasive, it is necessary to ensure these precious children are safely placed with the family best suited to meet their needs.

  • Will I receive a complete case history when I consider a child for adoption?

    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.

  • Can the biological parents get the child back?

    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.

  • What does "special needs" mean?

    "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
  • What financial assistance is available?

    In addition to free health care through the Medicaid program and free college tuition to one of Florida's state universities, colleges or vocational schools, many children adopted from state care are eligible for a monthly stipend to help defray some of the costs related to adding a child to your family. Talk to your adoption counselor to find out what options and funds are available to you and your child.

  • Who can adopt?

    Requirements vary from state to state but most adults can qualify to adopt. You do not need to own your own home, have children already, or be wealthy, young, married, or a stay-at-home parent. Many parents have adopted who have health problems or disabilities that don't interfere with their ability to care for children. The following characteristics are necessary to be a good adoptive parent: stability, maturity, dependability, flexibility, and an ability to advocate for children while working as a team player with your social worker and community services. And it really helps to have a sense of humor too!

    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 60's or in your 20's, an apartment renter or a homeowner, a person of modest means, or wealthy. 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 the 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.

  • What is the difference between foster care and adoption?

    Foster care is a temporary arrangement for a child who cannot live safely with his or her birth family.
    Adoption is a legally binding transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities to an adoptive parent forever. An adoptive parent's legal status is the same as if the child was born to him or her.

    Children in foster care live with their relatives, foster parents or, if neither of these is available, in group facilities. Children are removed from their families due to neglect (such as not providing enough food for a child or leaving a child who is unable to care for himself or herself alone) and/or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. In almost all cases, when children are removed from their parents, parents must be provided help so that they can safely parent their children. Slightly more than half of children who go into foster care return to their birth families. When parents are provided with help and they are still unable to parent safely and their children remain in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the state files with the courts to legally terminate the parents' rights. The children then become available for adoption. Most children are adopted by their foster parents or relatives. However, if this is not possible, states try and find other adoptive parents.

  • Can I adopt if I have birth children already?

    Yes. Caseworkers can answer your questions about integrating your birth children with children you plan to adopt or foster during the application and education process.

  • How much paperwork is involved?

    A lot! The caseworkers who work for the state that is legally responsible for the child in foster care want to make sure the temporary or permanent family found for a child will provide a safe and happy place. You can think of the paperwork as the first parenting task you will do for the child/ren that will come to your family!

  • Why do I need to take classes?

    Because there's a lot to it! And you will want to be as educated and informed as you can possibly be so that you can make the best choices for your family as you consider adopting or fostering a child. The children in foster care have had many losses and much sadness in their young lives and you will need to have an understanding of this and have information on how best to integrate the new child into your family. Also, you will want all the information and guidance you can receive on the adoption and foster care process itself. You want to be able to make good, informed decisions each step of the way!

  • Can I adopt out of Florida?

    Yes! However, sometimes these adoptions can take a little longer. When a child is moved from one state to another to make sure the child is placed safely, social workers must follow the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Families adopt children from outside their state every single month.

  • Are all adoptions successful?

    More than 98 percent of legally completed adoptions remain intact. Adoptions appear to be more stable when parents are tolerant of a wide range of behaviors, and have flexible and realistic hopes and expectations for their children.

  • How long will it take?

    The process to become an approved adoptive parent includes attending a preparation course, obtaining local, state and federal background checks, and completion of a home study. The process can usually be completed in eight months.

    When a child is matched with your family, pre-placement activities will occur including visits and regular communications with the child. Placement of the child will occur as soon as the child is comfortable. The child's counselor will supervise the placement for a minimum of 90 days. When the supervision period is completed, the counselor will provide consents to your attorney and a hearing may be scheduled for legalization of the adoption.

  • Are all adoptions successful?

    More than 98 percent of legally completed adoptions remain intact. Adoptions appear to be more stable when parents are tolerant of a wide range of behaviors, and have flexible and realistic hopes and expectations for their children.

  • Teenagers and adoption

    Teenagers in care need parents too. Think back to your own teenage years and remember how badly you needed love and guidance as you navigated the transition into adulthood. As an adoptive parent to a teen you will become a mentor, a cheerleader, a teacher and a friend. By providing the strong foundation of a permanent family, you give the teenager the security and confidence to make the good decisions that lead to a successful future.

    Adopting a teenager is a great choice for older parents who are concerned about their ability to keep up with young children. And remember, when you adopt a teenager through public adoption, tuition to one of Florida's state universities, colleges or vocational schools is free.

 

 Resources

 
  • Adoption.com Adoption.com

    Adoption.com is committed to helping as many children as possible find loving, permanent homes.

  • Adopt Florida Adopt Florida

    We believe there are loving, caring families willing to open their homes and their hearts to Florida's children - enough for each and every child in state care to find a forever family.

  • Recent News North American Council on Adoptable Children

    The North American Council on Adoptable Children is committed to meeting the needs of waiting children and the families who adopt them.

  • Recent News AdoptUSKids

    To raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children in the public child welfare system.

  • Recent News Children Awaiting Parents

    Children Awaiting Parents (CAP) is a national nonprofit organization that recruits adoptive families for children in foster care.

  • Recent News Child Warefare Information Gateway

    Protecting Children - Strengthening Families