Options for Pregnant Women
In Florida, adoption agencies and attorneys are qualified to place a child for adoption. In selecting which is right for you, ask what services they provide, their training and expertise, how involved you can be in making your adoption plan and if they provide you with an independent counselor or attorney to represent you. You should not involve an adoptive couple into the process until you have had adequate counseling to determine that adoption is the right choice for you. Contact us at 1-800-96-ADOPT (23678) for a list of adoption entities.
What is Adoption? Adoption is a deeply personal, life-long decision affecting you, your child, the birthfather, your families and the adoptive family. It involves making a parenting plan for your child that includes relinquishing your parental rights and choosing a family to become the parents of your child.
What are my rights? You are entitled to copies of all documents that you will be signing throughout the process to have them reviewed with your attorney, counselor, family or advocate before you sign them. You have the right to choose an independent witness of your choice to be present when you sign the consent to adoption. You have the right to obtain independent counseling from a trained qualified licensed adoption professional who can prepare you for the many emotions you may experience through the adoption process.
What about the father? If he is known and locatable, the adoption agency or attorney you are working with must give him notice of your intended adoption plan. If you are not married to him, he must take additional steps to assert his right to further notice or to require his consent to the adoption. If you have concerns about your safety, such as if he was abusive or you were raped, talk to your adoption professional to keep your location confidential.
Is there any cost to place my child for adoption? No, there is no cost to you.
What financial assistance is available? The adoptive family, through the agency or attorney chosen by you, can provide medical assistance for your prenatal medical care. If you are unemployed or underemployed as a result of the pregnancy, financial assistance may be available for your living expenses. You should discuss your needs with your counselor or attorney.
What other support services are available? You have the right to request an attorney and independent licensed counselor to represent you through the adoption process at no expense to you.
How do I choose an adoptive family? You should select an adoptive family that reflects your values and lifestyle as to how you want your child raised. Once you have a list of your criteria, an adoption professional can assist you by reviewing profiles of adoptive families that match your criteria. You may also choose a relative or a friend to adopt your child. There are specific laws that must be complied with to formalize an adoption, such as requiring that adoptive families have an approved home study that may include physical exams, visits to their home, good references, criminal records checks (including the FBI), abuse registry checks, plus adoption education and preparation to ensure the home is safe for the child.
Do I want a more open or more closed adoption? You should consider what openness you want in an adoption before selecting an adoptive family. Once you select a family, you have the option of meeting them. If you want to stay in touch after the child is adopted, you should put your agreement for future contact in writing to be incorporated into the court record. If you do not want the adoptive family to know your name, but you want your child to be able to contact you in the future, you can register with the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry. For more information, call 1-800-96-ADOPT (23678).
When does my adoption decision become binding? Nothing that you sign prior to the birth of your child obligates you in any way to place your child for adoption, including having received financial assistance. If you are unsure, you should not sign any documents and should consult with an independent attorney, counselor or hospital social worker as to your parenting and placement options. Consent for adoption of a child less than 6 months is binding and irrevocable once signed unless you can prove it was obtained by fraud or duress. If the child is over the age of 6 months, you have 3 days to reconsider your decision.
What happens at the hospital? There are many important decisions you should make prior to giving birth such as: Do I want to see or hold my baby? Do I want the adoptive family present at the hospital? Can I pick the name for my baby? Can my family visit? Can I take pictures? These are your decisions to make.
What decisions/choices are involved in making an adoption plan?
- What are my parenting options?
- What are the community resources available if I chose to parent?
- What services do I want from an adoption agency or attorney?
- What counseling do I want before, during, and after my pregnancy and adoption to help me consider the lifelong impact of an adoption plan?
- What are my criteria for an adoptive family?
- What contact do I want with the adoptive family before and after the baby is born?
- Should I have my own attorney assist or review the legal process of an adoption with me?
- What financial support do I need?
- What contact do I want at the hospital with my baby?
- Is adoption the right choice for me?
- Do I have all my questions answered and the support I need to make an adoption plan before I sign a consent to relinquishing my parental rights?
What if I’m not sure, but I want to explore adoption as an option? Talk to a licensed counselor, family member, the birth father, a doctor, and other community resources through your church or synagogue, pregnancy centers, maternity homes, adoption attorneys or agencies. Asking questions does not obligate you to make a decision. Get counseling to make sure this is the right decision for you and your child before signing any documents.
What if I don’t want to place my child for adoption, but I need help? There are agencies and maternity homes throughout Florida that will provide you with assistance and possibly a place to live during your pregnancy and after the birth of your child. Call 1-800-96-ADOPT (23678) for information.
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