Adoption in Florida
Adoption finalizes the legal relationship between the adoptive child or adult and his or her adoptive parent(s). This legal relationship gives adoptive parents all of the rights and privileges that biological parents enjoy. The adoption process may be at the state level, interstate level, or international level. Some adoptions may be done privately through the birth mother and the prospective parent(s) while others are completed through public agencies.
In Florida, four types of adoptions have been established:
- Stepparent adoptions. This happens in remarriages where a spouse adopts his or her spouse’s biological child.
- Close relative adoptions. This occurs in families where individuals adopt siblings, grandchildren, cousins, or other family members.
- Agency or attorney-assisted adoptions. This can include infants, older children, and foster care children adopted through various agencies.
- Adult adoptions. This occurs where someone older than 18 is adopted. The process can be initiated for various reasons, including legal authority to care for a mentally or physically incapacitated person, to establish parenthood for a birth parent, for a stepparent, for a foster parent, or for someone orphaned after the age of 18.
Each type of adoption involves its own legal procedures which must be completed according to law in order for the adoption to be finalized. Florida law makes adoption available to both single adults, straight married couples, gay couples, and stepparents.
With the exception of stepparent or relative adoptions, when going through an adoption agency, you will be required to undergo a home study. This is generally done by licensed social workers or mental health workers to ensure that the adoptive home will be one in which the adoptee will be nurtured and cared for properly. Other requirements will need to be met as well, such as financial stability on the part of adoptive parents. Before an adoption, the birth parent(s) parental rights must be terminated as well.