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Adoption Center
Sunday, December 17, 2017

Commonly Asked Questions

HOW MANY CHILDREN DO WE PLACE A YEAR?

Our office typically finalizes approximately 30-40 newborn infant placements per year, and approximately 100 stepparent, grandparent and relative adoptions.

 

HOW LONG WILL YOU HAVE TO WAIT TO GET A CHILD?

The Adoption Center can never guarantee the placement of a child with anyone. The waiting time for a placement varies. We do not maintain a numbered waiting list, so it is difficult to predict how long it will take for an infant or child to be placed in your home. It is our policy to place an infant or child in the best home available at the time the placement decision is made. In most cases, the birth mother will select the adoptive family after reviewing resumes or meeting with the prospective adoptive parents. The availability of babies/children to be placed is entirely dependent upon the number of birth mothers who contact us for assistance. Moreover, the waiting time will be affected by the requirements that you and the birth mother set. For example, the birth mother may require placement in a home with no other children, or in a family of a particular religious affiliation. Or, you may desire only a Caucasian newborn of a specific sex. As it is generally more difficult to place minority, biracial, and older children, and children with medical problems, your willingness to accept a child in one of these categories may substantially reduce the waiting period prior to placement. These children are referred to as "special needs" children. 

HOW MANY FAMILIES ARE WE WORKING WITH?

We usually have active files for approximately 75 families; however, not all families are seeking the same type of child. There are various gender, race and age preferences among these families. We do not require you to work exclusively with us; you are free to work with other agencies and attorneys while maintaining an active file with us.

ARE THERE LIMITATIONS ON WHO MAY ADOPT?  

Florida law does not impose any specific requirements on prospective adoptive parents. There is no minimum or maximum age, no required income level, and no minimum amount of time that you must have been married in order to adopt. Single individuals may adopt, although this marital status is generally not preferred by placing mothers. Florida law prohibits adoption by homosexuals.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ADOPT?

Our fees have always been substantially lower than the national average, and are usually lower than those charged by nonprofit agencies. The cost of adopting through The Adoption Center depends upon the nature and extent of the services we provide. As attorneys, we bill for our services on an hourly basis. We keep itemized records of the work done on your behalf and you are billed accordingly. Time records are prepared when the service is rendered. In order to provide an estimate of fees for your case, we would first need to discuss it with you in depth to be sure we are fully informed of the particular circumstances of your case. However, our fees are usually less than the Federal adoption tax credit discussed below. Thus, in most cases, the total amount of fees paid to our office will be reimbursed to the adoptive parents by the Federal Government pursuant to the Federal adoption tax credit.

You would also be responsible for the cost of the home study and background investigation that is required by Florida law, and any other costs associated with the court proceeding (i.e., filing fees, certified copies of documents, amended birth certificate, etc.) and our office expenses (i.e., mileage, copies, long distance calls, facsimile transmissions, etc.). As mentioned below, a substantial portion of the fees and expenses is usually reimbursed to adoptive parents in the form of a tax credit or employee reimbursement program.

Additional expenses you might incur in conjunction with the non-relative adoption relate to financial assistance for the natural mother. The vast majority of our mothers qualify for Medicaid which usually pays all medical expenses. Florida Law allows prospective adoptive families to assist birth mothers with a maximum of $5,000.00 of certain living expenses without prior court approval. In cases where no prior court approval is required, all financial assistance provided to birth mothers must be reported to the court for the judge’s review and approval prior to finalization of the adoption. In many cases, birth mothers do not require any financial assistance. The amount of financial assistance, if any, needed by a mother is dependent on the circumstances of each case. All payments must be made through our office.

Financial Incentives

There are financial incentives for adopting. The military provides a reimbursement program whereby up to $2,000.00 of adoption expenses incurred can be reimbursed. Some private employers also have reimbursement programs.  

A Federal adoption tax credit is also currently available which provides a possible $13,170.00 tax credit for adoption expenses. The amount of the tax credit available will be lower if the adoptive family’s annual income exceeds a certain level. The tax credit is not available for stepchild or adult adoptions, but is available for all other types of adoptions.

 

WHAT IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO ADOPT?  

Financial assistance in the form of unsecured adoption loans and grants may be available through the National Adoption Foundation. Application forms may be requested by calling the Foundation at (203) 791-3811; additional information can be found at www.nafadopt.org. Financial grants may also be available through other private foundations. We are happy to provide our prospective adoptive parents with more information about these programs. We are happy to provide our prospective adoptive parents with more information about these programs. Some families finance the adoption fees and expenses by obtaining a private or commercial loan, as they might do if purchasing a vehicle or financing a vacation. Also, our office accepts MasterCard and Visa credit cards.

MUST YOU HAVE A HOME STUDY BEFORE MEETING WITH US?

The required background investigation of a prospective adoptive parent must be completed prior to placement of a non-related minor child in your home for the purpose of adoption. These home studies, which must be conducted by an agency, or by an independent licensed clinical social worker, licensed mental health counselor, or other appropriate licensed professional, are only valid for one year after completion. However it is relatively simple and inexpensive to up-date an expired home study. Because of this time limitation on the study’s validity, we do not require that you have a home study completed before meeting with us. If you prefer, you may wait and initiate a home study after you are paired with a particular birth mother. As mentioned above, no home study is required if you are adopting a stepchild, grandchild, other relative, or adult.

MAY YOU FIND A CHILD ON YOUR OWN AND HAVE US HANDLE THE ADOPTION? Although most individuals contact The Adoption Center seeking our assistance in locating a child for adoption, we do assist prospective adoptive parents who have already located a child (born or unborn) whom they want to adopt. Florida law permits you to advertise for a child in Florida if one of our attorney’s names and Florida Bar Number appear in the advertisement. We do not charge for assisting you with advertising. You would, however, be responsible for any publication costs incurred. 

 

WHAT IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY A FLORIDA RESIDENT AND MOVE OUT OF STATE BEFORE A CHILD IS PLACEDTH YOU?

 If you are a Florida resident adopting a child who resides in Florida, or is to be born in Florida, the adoption will be processed as an "intrastate" placement. Due to a recent revision to Florida adoption law, a Florida resident no longer includes active duty military members who have designated Florida as their state of residence for military purposes, but who are residing outside Florida due to military orders.

If you are a Florida resident and are adopting a child who resides in another state, or is to be born in another state, we would need to process the adoption as an "interstate" adoption. Interstate adoptions are usually more expensive than intrastate adoptions because it will be necessary for us to comply with the Interstate Compact for Placement of Children. If you are adopting a Florida child and if you move out of Florida prior to finalization of the adoption, an interstate placement will be required.

WHAT IF YOU CURRENTLY RESIDE OUTSIDE THE STATE OF FLORIDA? 

 

If you live in another state it is still possible for us to assist you with an adoptive placement of a Florida child. In such cases, an "interstate" adoption would be involved. Such an adoption requires compliance not only with the laws of the State of Florida, but also with the laws of your state of residence. Florida law requires that the termination of parental rights and the adoption proceedings be finalized in the Florida courts when a child residing in Florida, or to be born in Florida, is placed with an out-of-state resident.

WHAT IF THE BIRTH MOTHER RESIDES OUTSIDE THE STATE OF FLORIDA?

 

We can usually handle your adoption regardless of whether the birth mother resides in Florida or some other state. If you and the birth mother reside in different states, it will probably be necessary to process your case as an interstate placement.