GENERAL ADOPTION INFO
What is Adoption?
The Law Office of Madonna M. Finney has over 20 years of experience in serving Birth Mothers who are facing unlplanned pregnancy and want to place their baby up for adoption. We provide adoption services throughout Florida and serve Tallahassee, Pensacola, Milton, Navarre, Crestview, Panama City, Ft. Walton Beach, Marianna, DeFuniak Springs, Apalachicola, Madison, Perry and Live Oak. Talk to us now to create an adoption plan for you and your baby.
Adoption is the legal process of creating a legal relationship between a parent and child that did not previously exist.
In Florida, adoptions may occur as a private placement through an attorney or as an agency placement. In private placement adoptions, both prospective adoptive parents and birth parents seek out an adoption attorney in hopes of finding a match. Through family profiles and personal biographies presented by the attorney or social worker, birth parents typically select a family. While it is not required that birth parents make the selection, in most cases, birth parents have input into this selection either by providing a list of criteria for a possible adoptive family, reviewing profiles and information about families, or in some cases meeting the families on the telephone or in person, if they so desire.
While some agencies may place a child in foster care, we use direct placement, without need for foster care. Your child can be placed directly from the hospital with the adoptive family. Our attorney and social work staff are experienced and have worked in adoption for many years. We are happy to speak with you regarding adoption as an option for you and your child and answer your questions. There is no fee for birth parents to make a plan or ask questions, and your call is confidential. Please feel free to call and speak with Marilu or Madonna.
What is open adoption?
The contact or relationship between the adoptive parents and biological or birth parents is often referred to as "openness" in an adoption. The term "open adoption" does not have one specific meaning, but includes many forms of contact and relationships that birth and adoptive families choose to have with one another. We work with many different types of adoption, including open adoptions, closed adoptions and many variations in between. You may select the type of adoption that works best for you and your child and how much openness you want. Please feel free to discuss your desires with Marilu or Madonna.
Open adoption may refer to:
Adoptive and birth parents who choose to meet on a first-name basis for one meeting before the birth of the child, but decide to have no further contact.
Adoptive and birth parents who choose to have some form of an on-going relationship throughout the term of pregnancy and may maintain that contact throughout the labor and delivery process and immediately after birth, before the baby goes home from the hospital.
Adoptive and birth parents who choose to have some form of an on-going contact whether through cards, letters, email, blogs, web sites, telephone and/or photographs.
Adoptive and birth parents who choose to have on-going, in person contact.
May I select the family to adopt my child?
Yes. In private adoption you may discuss your individual desires for an adoptive family with us and we will present families who meet the qualities you are looking for. These desires may include such characteristics of adoptive parents as religious preference, race, age, the existence of children already in the family or other factors which you believe are important in your selection of a family. We maintain information such as profiles and photographs of the families which you may review when making this decision. You may also have your individual questions regarding a particular family answered and, in most instances, you may speak with or meet with the families as you desire, so that you may feel assured this is the right family for you and your child. Please discuss your desires with Marilu or Madonna.
At what point in my pregnancy may I make plans for adoption?
In Florida, the actual consent for the adoption of your child may only be signed after the child's birth. However, you may make plans for adoption at any point in your pregnancy, including selecting an adoptive family. We can even work with you while you are at the hospital, and after delivery if you have not yet made a plan but have now decided adoption may be an option for you and your child. An adoption plan may even be made once you have taken the child home, or for older children. Please feel free to call us at any point to discuss the option of adoption.
How will I know an adoptive family will take good care of my child?
Because you may choose them, meet them and get to know them, you may feel assured of a family’s love for your child. Prospective Adoptive parents must also complete an extensive screening process before they are approved to adopt. This process includes visits to their home, interviews, providing references and those references being checked, criminal background investigations, including F.B.I checks, assurances of financial ability to care for a child, the review of medical and financial information, and counseling and education to prepare them for adoption. All adoptive parents must be approved by the court in which they adopt and by our firm. You may also have the opportunity to select the family, speak with them, ask them questions and meet in person, so that you may feel assured of your decision.
What type of assistance may I receive during my pregnancy?
Dependent upon your individual needs, and in some instances, the approval of the court, the family you have selected may assist you with:
Medical care and medications
Living expenses such as rent, utilities, telephone, toiletries and groceries
These benefits are available up to six-weeks after the birth of your child.
May I see the baby after birth?
Yes. You decide how much contact you would like to have with your baby and if you would like anyone else to visit with and/or see the baby prior to adoption. You may permit the adoptive parents to visit with the baby as well. Marilu will assist you in making an adoptive plan to meet your individual neds.
When would I sign the papers for adoption?
After the birth of your child, typically before release from the hospital and typically after 48 hours have passed legal papers are signed. In some circumstances the paperwork may be signed earlier than 48 hours after birth, but only after you receive medical discharge from the hospital. Fathers may sign the consent for adoption at any time after birth.
After I sign the papers may I change my mind?
Generally, no. In Florida, once the consent for adoption of a newborn is signed, the consent is binding and irrevocable unless obtained by fraud or duress. This is one reason to carefully consider your decision before birth.
Will my baby be placed in foster care?
No. In private placement adoption there is no requirement for foster care. We will arrange for the placement of your child with the adoptive family directly upon discharge from the hospital. If you desire, in most cases, the adoptive family can be present at delivery and can have contact with your child immediately after birth and you can be present for the placement with the family, if you so choose. You may even be the person to hand your child to the adoptive family.
May I receive photographs and information about my child after the adoption?
Yes. Many adoptive and birth families choose to share information about the child during some part of the child's life. Typically, adoptive parents will send photographs with short letters updating birth parents on the progress of the child for some period of time during the child's early years, if requested, or provide the information via a website, email, blog, telephone or other similar means. Please speak with Marilu about your desires so that we can assist you with identifying a family to meet those needs.
May my child find me when he or she grows up?
Yes, if you desire. Florida provides an Adoption Reunion Registry which allows birth parents the option to provide information to be given to their children who are placed for adoption when the child becomes an adult or for release to the adoptive family. Additionally, you may provide this information directly to the adoptive family so they may share it with the child. Information about Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry may be obtained by calling (800) 96-ADOPT.
Will my child understand why I placed him or her for adoption?
While no one can answer this questions for you with certainty, today it is much more common for adoptive families to discuss with children the fact that they are adopted and the reasons they were placed for adoption. In some instances, birth parents elect to write a letter to their child explaining their particular decision and reasons for placing their child for adoption, or prepare a small memory book or similar keepsake for their child. Many adoptive families choose to share this information with the child by keeping it in a special place or including it in, or with, a life book or baby book. Information like this can often help a child understand the situation as they grow up.
Who may I speak with about this decision?
If you would like to speak with a professional about your situation and the adoption options available, you may call us anytime, toll-free at (888) 883-6830 or (850) 577-3077. Ask for Marilu or Madonna. Our telephones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After hours, our answering service will help connect you to us. Please stay on the line as they assist you. We are caring, experienced professionals who will listen. We would be happy to speak with you about adoption, share information about families looking to adopt a child, discuss types of assistance available to you and answer your questions. We can assure you receive a full range of needed professional services including counseling and medical care. Your call is confidential and without charge. We will also be happy to make arrangements to meet with you in person. Your call does not obligate you to place your child for adoption.
Should I place my child for adoption?
The decision to place a child for adoption is a difficult one only you can answer. We cannot answer this question for you, no one can. We can provide you with information you may need to help make this decision, and we are willing to offer you caring support and make arrangements for you to receive counseling.
Must I provide personal information to the adoption attorney?
It is most important that birth parents provide full medical history concerning themselves and their families as is reasonably possible. This information will assist medical professionals in caring for your child as he or she grows up and will also assist us in finding the right family for your child. Other, non medical information, may be helpful for adoptive families to have as your child grows up.
Does my family have to know about the adoption?
No. Generally the only people that must know about a decision to place a child for adoption are the biological mother's legal husband, and if there is no such person, any father who has registered with Florida's Putative Father Registry or who has initiated legal proceedings to be declared the father or to establish custody or visitation. Any identified birth father must be provided a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan, a legal notice of the adoption.
What if I am under the age of eighteen?
A birth parent under the age of eighteen has the power to consent to the adoption without parental consent or knowledge. It is not required that your parents or family members be contacted. If you are under 14, your consent must be witnessed by a parent, guardian or court appointed guardian ad litem.
Do I have to go to court?
In most cases, no. Only in very limited instances would your presence in court be requested.
What if my child is not a new born or infant?
Not only newborns are placed for adoption. There are many loving, caring families looking to adopt toddlers and young children. We will be happy to share information with you about placing an older child.
Do I have to live in Florida to work with you?
No, you do not. We will work with other adoption professionals in your state to meet your needs. You may also relocate to Florida if you so desire.
Where in Florida do you work?
We work with birth families all over the state, from Pensacola, Milton, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, DeFuniak Springs, Panama City and Tallahassee to Ocala, Belleview, Dunellon, Miami and Key West.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
WE CAN HELP YOU.
We are available to assist you in making a plan that is right for you and your child, ensuring your needs are met. Our services are free to you and your call is confidential. Call us for more information.
We offer adoption services with care, concern and a personal touch.
Take the next step.
Contact Madonna or Marilu.