After fostering a child, it is not uncommon to formulate a significant bond and connection with the child instigating the desire to formally adopt the child as your own. However, if you wish to adopt a child out of foster care in Florida you must adhere to certain regulations and laws. Therefore, it is important to seek out advice from an experienced Florida Adoption Attorney to assist you in this process.
The first step you should take is to contact the social worker on your case and discuss your intention or desire to adopt. The most crucial information you must ask of the social worker is if the child you are fostering is eligible for adoption. Some children in the foster care system still retain legal parents and their connection has not been terminated by the court. In order for a child to be eligible for adoption, there must be a formal court proceeding terminating parental rights of the child’s legal parents. This proceeding can be initiated by the Department of Children and Family Services if they see fit. However, in many cases, the intention of the Department is to reunify the child with their legal parents, therefore it may be difficult to persuade the Department to take action. Discuss your options with your Florida Adoption Attorney.
As with any adoption, the parents must go through proper background checks and classes in order to qualify for an adoption. One positive with being a foster parent wishing to become an adoptive parent is that you would have already completed a great deal of education, and licensing requirements issued by the state of Florida. Any parent wishing to adopt a child from Florida’s Foster care system must complete a home study, engage in an orientation process with adoptive parents who have completed the process and adoption counselors, complete a training course, and then your information will be sent to an adoption counselor for approval. After approval, most individuals go through a matching and placement process however, because you are already fostering the child a match and placement process is unnecessary. The adoption will not become final until the adoption counselor provides a “Consent to Adopt” form. This is usually provided after several follow up visits at your home with you and the child. After you received the Consent to Adopt you and your Florida Adoption Attorney can file a Petition to Adopt with the court. You will have a hearing before a judge and after review of the provided documents the court will legalize the adoption.
Adopting a child is an incredible journey to starting or expanding your family. Therefore, ensure you are protected during the process and you follow the necessary protocols by obtaining experienced counsel through a Florida Adoption Attorney.
Speaking to an attorney at our Florida office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.