Four Things To Look For in a Florida Adoption Agency or Law Firm
Each Florida adoption agency is different. The same goes for adoption attorneys and law firms. Many of them are really good at what they do, while others may not be as reputable. But how can you tell the difference?
Here are a couple of tips to help you decide which adoption agency, attorney, or law firm is best for you.
1. Licensure + Experience
When choosing to work with an adoption attorney, you’ll want to make sure they are eligible to practice law in the state where you reside and a member of the state’s bar association. Typically adoption attorneys will have their own page on the bar association’s website. For example, take a look at our Attorneys’ pages on the Florida Bar Website: Elizabeth Berkowitz and Stephanie White. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a Florida adoption agency, you’ll want to make sure that they are licensed by the state. Here’s a list of licensed agencies.
When it comes to reputation, you’ll need to do a little homework. You can ask around the community, read reviews online and talk to other adoptive parents. If you’re looking for a Florida adoption attorney, you may consider seeing which attorneys sit on the Board of the Florida Adoption Council or use their Find an Attorney tool. If you’re looking for a Florida adoption agency, we recommend the National Council for Adoption’s Agency Listings. All of the agencies listed on that site will be reputable, ethical and licensed.
2. Birth Parent Services and Support
The best adoption entities are ones that place a large emphasis on birth parent services and support. In accordance with state law, a Florida adoption agency or Florida adoption attorney may provide birth parents with financial assistance provided by the adoptive family. They may also provide birth parents with access to support groups, during and after the pregnancy. Make sure that any adoption professional you work with provides birth parents these two services, at a minimum. This will ensure that you’re working with an ethical agency or law firm.
While exploring your options, you may also want to ask about post-adoption relationships and how the agency or attorney will facilitate the birth parent updates. Some Florida adoption agencies do the bare minimum, while others will use a trusted service like Adopt Swap. If you’re debating between two adoption entities, you’d probably be best served going with the one that has a solid, trusted plan for facilitating post-adoption updates and relationships.
3. Case Loads + Matching
Adoption has never been a quick and easy process, and it never will be. There are many steps along the way that ensure everyone involved in the adoption is ready and equipped to adopt. That’s how the process was designed, and it was done so with the child’s best interest in mind. However, you can help shorten your overall wait time by working with a Florida adoption agency or attorney that works with only a handful of hopeful adoptive couples at a time. Make sure to always ask how many families are on their roster and what the typical waiting time is for their adoptive families.
Tip: If you’re on an adoption agency or attorney’s website, take a peek at the waiting families page. This will give you a good idea of how many families are on their roster, even before you have the first meeting.
You should also ask the agency or attorney how they connect with expectant parents, and whether or not they provide matching services. If the adoption professional does not provide matching services, that means you’ll be responsible for connecting with the expectant parent. While this isn’t impossible, especially when using a service like Parentfinder, it does make the adoption journey a little more involved.
4. Financial Transparency
It’s critical that you work with an agency or law firm that is willing to be transparent about the financial aspect of an adoption. Make sure to ask them for a financial breakdown of the entire adoption process. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re paying for and the adoptive parent services you will receive.
According to state law, a Florida adoption agency or adoption law firm is able to provide birth parents with living expenses by the adoptive family. But how does that work? What is the protocol? Before you sign on to work with an agency or law firm, you’ll also want to find out how these living expenses are transferred to the birth parent(s) and what level of support you can expect to provide. Every adoption situation is different, but they should be able to give you a ballpark number.
Hoping to adopt? Ready to begin your journey today?
The Law Offices of Berkowitz & White PLLC can help. We would happily answer any questions about adoption you may have for us.
Give us a call today at (561) 841-9830 or send us a message.