Considering adoption in Florida? Let us help you.
Women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in Florida have a variety of options in front of them, one of which is adoption. While many women know this, they often don’t fully understand how creating an adoption plan for their baby would work. It’s not as simple as going to a Florida adoption agency and saying, “I’d like to give my baby up for adoption.” It’s much more involved. Today, women who choose adoption have a large amount of freedom in determining how they’d like their adoption to play out, both during pregnancy and after they’ve given birth.
Florida Adoption Help: The Adoption Process in Six Steps
When a woman comes to the Law Offices of Berkowitz & White PLLC for help in Florida, we always seek to educate her on all of her pregnancy options before deciding which avenue she would like to pursue first. Expectant birth mothers are immediately entitled to support counseling from a counselor, social worker, physician, clergy, or attorney. We have a strong belief in emotional support being provided as soon as possible.
02. Intake + Services
If a woman decides to make an adoption plan with our law office, we’ll start by asking that she provide us with some background information, like social and medical history. After this, we’ll assist the woman in coordinating and receiving prenatal care, if she hasn’t done so already. We’ll also begin to work with her to determine what level of birth mother assistance she’ll need throughout her pregnancy and for a period of up to six weeks postpartum.
In accordance with Florida law, women who choose to make an adoption plan are entitled to reasonable living expenses which the woman is unable to pay due to unemployment, underemployment, or disability. Reasonable living expenses may include rent, utilities, basic telephone services, food, toiletries, necessary clothing, transportation, insurance, and expenses found by the court to be necessary for the health and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.
03. Choosing the Adoptive Family
Once an expectant birth mother has completed intake and obtained her eligible birth mother services, she can then begin to choose the right adoptive family for her child. Our team will provide her with an array of waiting adoptive families’ profiles, all of which meet the matching criteria of both parties. Matching criteria may include a variety of factors, including but not limited to: the type of adoption (open, semi-open, closed); the amount of financial assistance a birth mother requires; religion; or even race.
Choosing the adoptive family is a big step. Our team is always available to assist an expectant birth mother by providing additional information and insights when needed.
04. Meeting the Adoptive Family
Once an adoption match is made, the expectant birth mother may elect to meet the adoptive family if she wishes. Some expectant birth mothers opt to have adoptive parents involved pre-birth and attend prenatal appointments, while others choose to maintain their privacy. There is no right way or wrong way to proceed in an adoption; every situation is unique. The comfort of all parties involved is paramount.
The most important factor of this part of the adoption process is that the expectant birth mother is able to get to know the adoptive family, so she can best determine whether or not she’s making the right decision for her and her child.
05. Crafting The Adoption Plan
Prior to the child’s birth, both the adoptive family and the birth mother will enter into an adoption plan which acts as a roadmap going forward. The adoption plan will address things like the events surrounding the birth of the child and the type of post-adoption relationship they’d like to have, typically referred to as open, semi-open, or closed adoption.
Communication agreements are significant to all parties and are made to serve the child’s best interest. With open or semi-open adoption, the hope is that the child will better understand that his/her adoption was a positive and loving experience for all parties.
If an expectant birth mother and adoptive family choose to maintain some level of contact, our team will help facilitate this relationship, whether through AdoptSwap or other means.
06. Florida Adoption Law + Placement
Once the baby is born, the mother must wait 48 hours to execute a consent for adoption. The mother may also execute a consent for adoption on the day that she is notified in writing that she is fit to be discharged from the hospital or birthing center. Any possible biological father may execute documents in favor of the adoption pre-birth.
The legal aspect of adoption is a two-step process. Birth parents’ rights are terminated in the first legal proceeding, and the second legal proceeding is the finalization of the adoption. Birth parents have the right to waive appearance in court. This would mean that they do not need to appear in court. However, should the adoption be contested, then a court appearance may be required.
Although a birth mother has placed her baby with a loving, adoptive family, her adoption journey is far from over. Birth mothers often report that the ensuing weeks and months are some of the toughest they’ve ever faced. They often cycle through all five stages of grief, wondering what the future holds for both them and their baby. That’s why the Law Offices of Berkowitz & White PLLC provides birth mothers with the counseling resources they need to process everything they’ve gone through. We’ll touch on this more in next week’s blog post: Florida Adoption Help: Post-Adoption Resources and Counseling.
If you are looking for Florida adoption help or simply need assistance sorting through your pregnancy options, the Law Offices of Berkowitz & White PLLC would gladly speak with you. Feel free to give us a call or DM us on social media. We are here for you 24/7, no matter the circumstances.
Call us Toll-free at (877) 777-5070
Text us at (561) 841-3065 or (850) 610-4166