Adoptive Parent FAQs
A birth parent usually makes a “prospective family list” that identifies the qualities important in an adoptive family. She is then presented with families who have applied to our office and completed personal profiles that meet her requests. When all else is equal, preference is given to families who have waited a longer period of time.
There is a wide variety of waiting periods dependent upon a host of controllable and non-controllable factors. Waits may be dramatically shorter or longer depending on individual situations and a client’s specified parameters for adoption such as the preferred background of the baby, age of adoptive parent, number of children in the family, financial limitations, and state of residence of adoptive parents. We do not accept adoptive applicants over the age of 50 due to difficulties with matching, and we do not accept gender-specific requests regarding the adopted child.
No. Birth parents understand that the best parents for a child may not be a traditional, heterosexual married couple. Florida law permits single, married, and same-sex couples to adopt.
Prospective adoptive parents must undergo an independent investigation to verify their suitability as adoptive parents. A home study which includes criminal and child abuse clearances, physical evaluations, and confirmation of financial stability, is valid for one year. If you need assistance in obtaining a home study, please contact our office.
Birth parents and prospective adoptive parents generally continue a relationship during the pregnancy which includes contact on the telephone and/or meeting for lunch and spending time together during the time of placement. Traditionally, the parties enter into a written communication agreement after the birth of the child. This agreement usually involves the exchange of pictures and letters between both parties throughout the child’s growth years. Email and closed Facebook pages are popular means of sharing updates.
In each case, we request HIV testing and drug screening, in addition to all standard OB/GYN tests. Adoptive parents may request additional non-invasive testing, excluding amniocentesis, which the doctors will only perform for a medical reason. Sonograms are routinely conducted and generally assist in the determination of the gender of the child.
We answer our telephones 24-hours per day for all emergencies. We suggest that adoptive parents obtain a cellular telephone after being matched with the birth mother they can be reached at any time.
Pursuant to Florida law, the consent will be signed by the biological mother no sooner than 48 hours after delivery unless the birth mother is being discharged earlier by her doctor. With a c-section, the wait may be slightly longer as we must ensure that the birth mother is free of narcotic medication. A biological father or legal father may sign his consent to adoption at any time following birth.
In an adoption concerning a child under the age of six months, the consent for adoption is permanent and irrevocable from the moment it is signed, and can only be overturned based upon fraud or duress.
In cases involving a child 6 months of age or older, the birth parent has 3 business days to revoke consent for any reason. Once this period passes, if the child has been placed with the adoptive parents the consent can only be overturned based on fraud or duress. If the placement of the child with the adoptive family has not occurred, the birth parent may revoke a consent even if it is outside the 3-day revocation period.
A married woman’s husband, also known as a legal father, must consent to an adoption plan. An unmarried biological father’s rights are contingent upon the actions that he has taken to provide for the pregnant mother and her child. Florida maintains a confidential paternity registry and registration is a condition precedent to the requirement that an unmarried biological father consent to an adoption plan.
Most insurance companies in Florida are mandated by law to provide coverage for an adopted child. Coverage can exist from the moment of birth if the adoptive family agreed to the placement prior to the child’s birth. We suggest adoptive parents contact their insurance company as soon as they have a match so that they can ensure their coverage is in place for the child’s birth.
Florida law requires supervision of the adoptive family and child in their home for a minimum of 90 days following placement. A final post-placement report must be submitted to the Court. Please be sure to notify your home study provider when you receive a placement.
Florida law permits finalization once the 90 days post-placement supervision period has expired and 30 days have elapsed after entry of the Final Judgment Terminating Parental Rights. Finalization generally occurs 120 days after placement but can be delayed by the court’s crowded docket. We will notify you when your final hearing is set.
The costs of adoption are wide-ranging, depending on the birth mother’s living and medical expense needs, and whether the adoptive family resides in the State of Florida or another state. Currently our adoption placements average $40,000-$45,000.
We apply for an amended birth certificate after the finalization of the adoption, and it usually takes 3 – 6 weeks to obtain. Consequently, you should expect the birth certificate five months after the child’s birth.
Not until the adoption is finalized and you receive the new birth certificate. Hausmann & Hickman, P.A. does not assist with social security card applications. Please contact your local social security office directly for assistance.
Yes, in 2020 the tax credit was in excess of $14,300. The tax credit is gradually phased out for higher income levels. Please consult with your tax advisor or the IRS to determine your eligibility.
Check with your tax advisor, but generally, in the year you accept the placement of the child. If you do not yet have a social security number, an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number can be issued in the interim. You must complete IRS Form W-7A, which can be downloaded at http://www.irs.ustreas.government or you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676.
Yes, if you otherwise qualify under the IRS rules and regulations. These are two separate tax benefits.
The ICWA is a federal law that was enacted in 1978 to protect American Indian children who are members of or are eligible for membership in an Indian tribe from being placed for adoption with non-Indian families. The ICWA allows for a tribe to intervene in a termination of parental rights proceeding and, in some cases, allows for jurisdiction to be transferred to the tribe if proper steps are not followed.
In order to determine that a child placed for adoption does not fall within the ICWA, we request information from the birth parents as to whether they or their relatives are eligible for tribal membership. To comply with the ICWA. An adoptive placement that involves a child with American Indian heritage is at risk until the tribe indicates that it has no intention to intervene and until the birth parents’ rights are terminated. In the case of an ICWA placement, adoption surrenders must be given involuntary termination of parental rights hearing before a court, no less than 10 days following the child’s birth.
The ICPC is a uniform law drafted in the 1950s, which today has been enacted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ICPC contains 10 articles, which establish the procedures for interstate placements and assigns responsibilities for all parties involved in placing a child for adoption. The ICPC applies only to children who are placed for adoption across state lines, but not to placements made by a parent, stepparent, grandparent, or other close adult relatives.
If an adoptive family is from state A (receiving state) and the baby is born in state B (sending state), ICPC applies. In this situation:
1. The family would travel to the sending state for the adoption of the child.
2. Before they are allowed to leave the sending state, the adoption entity would submit (by email or Federal Express) the ICPC paperwork to the sending state’s ICPC office.
3. After the sending state has approved the adoption, all of the paperwork would then be forwarded (by email or Federal Express) to the receiving state’s ICPC office.
4. Once the receiving state has approved the paperwork, the family is notified of the approval, and only then can they return to their state.
If ICPC is not followed, or the family leaves before ICPC approval, the adoption could be jeopardized and the child may be returned to the sending state.
Florida allows for the adoptive family to stay with the child during the wait.
The ICPC offers safeguards to all parties involved in the adoption, especially the child.
1. Requires both a home study of the adoptive family and that an evaluation of the interstate placement is completed.
2. Ensures the sending and receiving state’s laws and policies are followed before it approves the interstate placement.
3. Assigns responsibility to the sending agency, thus guaranteeing the child’s legal and financial protection.
4. Allows the prospective receiving state the opportunity to consent to or deny the adoptive placement.
5. Provides for continual supervision and regular reports on each interstate placement.
6. Ensures the sending agency does not lose legal jurisdiction of the child after moving to the receiving state.
For ICPC paperwork to be filed, all required documents must be submitted together. ICPC clearance cannot begin until one or both birth parents’ rights have been surrendered, depending on the situation involved. Also, some of the items required for submission are not available until the day the baby is released from the hospital, including discharge paperwork and medical records. Only when these items become available can the ICPC package be completed and sent out.
Once the ICPC paperwork has been submitted, it takes an average of 7-10 business days to process. This is an average time frame and some ICPC offices can take longer. Adoptive families should make the necessary arrangements to stay in the state for at least 2 weeks following the baby’s placement. Only one parent must stay with the child.
We understand the adoptive family’s desire to get back to their home and share their excitement and joy with family and friends as quickly as possible. We encourage you to use the time to bond with your newest family member during the ICPC process. Looking at the clock or counting the days that have passed will only make the wait seem longer. We will endeavor to minimize your wait. However, the wait for ICPC approval is generally out of the control of the agency and your attorney. You will be contacted only when ICPC approval has been given. Until that time, we appreciate your patience and understanding and ask that you refrain from contacting the agency or your attorney to see if ICPC approval has been granted. These requests are not favored by the Florida ICPC office.
ICPC offices process each placement in the order they receive them. Both the agency and the ICPC offices use the fastest means of communication whenever possible including phones, fax, and express mail service. Adoptive families will be notified immediately upon ICPC approval. We need to know where you are at all times during this wait and have as many contact numbers as possible. Clearance for you to return home MUST be given to you by our office, not your home study agency or the ICPC offices of your home state.
The information provided above is an overview of Florida’s adoption law. This is not a complete dissertation of the law and you should not rely solely on this document. The adoption law is new and untested; therefore, this information may change as the courts interpret the law. When you have specific questions regarding your particular adoptive placement, please address them with us.