Pensacola Attorney Helping People Grow Their Families Through Adoption
When people consider adoption, they often believe they must hire an agency or attorney and endure a lengthy and arduous interview process. While agencies and attorneys are appropriate for many people who wish to become parents, parties do not have to go through an agency or attorney to adopt. Instead, many people begin the adoption process by independently contacting expectant mothers or birth mother who wish to place their children for adoption. Adopting the child of a person you identify privately can be complicated, and it is advisable for anyone contemplating an identified adoption to obtain the assistance of a qualified attorney. Clay H. Whittaker of Gulf Coast Adoptions is a trusted Pensacola adoption lawyer who takes pride in helping people grow their families through adoption, and if you engage his services, he will apprise you of your options for adopting a child in an efficient and discrete manner.
The Benefits of Identified Adoption
Florida law permits people to adopt children without the assistance of an agency. Known as an identified adoption, such adoptions usually occur when a person or couple wishes to become parents or expand their families and search for an expectant mother/birth mother on their own. In some instances, prospective parents may be introduced to an expectant mother/birth mother by a friend or family member, or the birth mother may be an acquittance. Regardless of how the decision to proceed with an identified adoption comes about, there are numerous advantages to adopting a child outside of an agency. For example, it allows for greater control over the adoption process, and you are able to pick your own attorney. It can also save the adoptive family thousands of dollars in agency or attorney fees.
The Process of Completing an Identified Adoption
The process of completing an identified adoption is similar to adoption that is facilitated by an agency or attorney. For example, the birth parent's parental rights must be terminated, and the prospective parents must file a petition to adopt a minor child.
While Florida law permits unmarried people, married couples filing a joint petition, and a married person acting independently to adopt any individual, when the person being adopted is a child, the courts aim to ensure that the adoption is in their best interest. As such, the law requires prospective adoptive parents who are not relatives or step-parents of the children that want to adopt to undergo a home study. The study includes interviews of the potential adoptive parents and an inspection of the home where the child will live.
The potential parents also must undergo a criminal background check and provide character references and statements as to why they wish to adopt. Usually, they also have to provide the party conducting the home study with current health statements indicating they are physically and mentally healthy enough to raise a child and financial statements that demonstrate they have the financial resources to properly care for the child. The intended adoptive parents must also undergo education and counseling on adoptive parenting.
If the home study is favorable, the child may be placed with the prospective parents while the adoption is pending. In-home visits occur before the adoption is finalized to ensure that the child is in a stable and caring environment. Ultimately, the court will conduct a hearing and, if everything is in order, will grant the adoptive parents custody of the child via a final adoption decree.
Consult a Skilled Pensacola Lawyer
There are numerous benefits to adopting a child from a private individual rather than through an agency, but identified adoption is a legally complex process, and it is crucial that people understand how to solidify their parental rights before proceeding. If you would like to explore the option of identified adoption, it is wise to consult a lawyer. Attorney Clay H. Whittaker of Gulf Coast Adoptions is a skilled Florida adoption law attorney with ample experience helping parties finalize adoption plans, and if he represents you, he will work diligently to help you pursue your adoption goals. We have an office in Pensacola, Pace and Miramar Beach and we regularly help people complete identified adoptions, and many other types of adoptions, in cities throughout Florida. You can contact Attorney Clay Whittaker by calling 850-999-7977.