Adoptive Parents

Hoping to Adopt A Child in Florida?

While the adoption process can be complex and intimidating, you can count on Gulf Coast Adoptions to make at as smooth as possible. We’re a part of Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, giving you the peace and security of knowing you’re with one of the area’s largest and most trusted law firms. In addition, attorney Clay Whitaker and his wife experienced adoption firsthand four years ago where they encountered many difficulties. Gulf Coast Adoptions has become their opportunity to “do adoption right” and since 2016, they been helping couples successfully enrich their lives through adoption.

What are the steps to adopt in Florida?

1. Home Study

Once you have made the decision to adopt, the first step is to complete what is called a “home study.” Ultimately, this is a report created by a licensed social worker that provides a recommendation as to your ability to adopt. The report includes an interview, background check, home review, review of financial and savings records, references, and documentation of education and support services related to adoption. Gulf Coast Adoptions cannot create home studies for you, but we have relationships with social workers throughout Florida and other locations that may assist with the process. We are happy to provide such resources upon request.

2. Profile Book

After receiving your home study, we encourage prospective adoption parents to create a “profile book.” This would ultimately be provided to an expectant mother in order to explain your desire to adopt. Your profile book is your first – and sometimes only – interaction with the expectant mother, so this is your opportunity to introduce yourself, explain your background, and illustrate why you should be selected. We recommend profile books to be fun, engaging, and contain many photographs. Gulf Coast Adoptions cannot create profile books for you, but we have relationships with adoption profile specialists throughout Florida and other locations that may assist with the process. We are happy to provide such resources upon request.

3. Initial Consultation

After completing your home study and profile book, prospective adoption parents should determine whether they want to use an adoption attorney or adoption agency, and determine whether they want to engage with independent adoption consultants. Gulf Coast Adoptions is happy to discuss all of your options. If you choose to work with Gulf Coast Adoptions, we would set up an initial consultation so we can better understand your adoption goals and determine your criteria for prospective adoption matches.

4. Matching & Communications

Once Gulf Coast Adoptions is presented with potential matches or “situations” – either through direct contact with expectant mothers, adoption consultants, or other attorneys and agencies – we consult prospective adoption parents to determine whether they would like to be considered for the situation and whether we may submit their profile book to the expectant mother. At that time, we would also discuss any known health information, discuss relevant time periods and obligations, and discuss the anticipated cost of the situation. At times, the expectant mothers will make their adoption decision after solely reviewing the profile books. Although, more often than not, we arrange for further communications between the expectant mother and the potential adoptive parents, including by phone or video conferences.

Once a match is made, Gulf Coast Adoptions works to ensure the expectant mother receives all support for which she is permitted under Florida law. This may include assistance for housing, clothing, transportation, and living and medical expenses.

During the pregnancy, Gulf Coast Adoptions keeps a consistent line of communication open with both the expectant mother and prospective adoptive parents. We also recommend that the prospective adoptive parents communicate directly with the expectant mother to further strengthen their trust and bond. During this time, Gulf Coast Adoptions will also gather preliminary documentation to be used later during the adoption proceeding.

5. Birth and the Legal Process

Once the child is born, final documentation is obtained, including the birth mother’s consent to the adoption. The child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents pending the completion and finalization of all legal paperwork and court hearings. There are typically two court hearings required, and it typically takes about 3 to 4 months following the birth of the child for the adoption process to be completed.

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