There are many different types of adoption. Private adoption, familial adoption, and adoption through foster care are all common. November is National Adoption Month, so we thought we would answer some of the more frequently asked questions we get as adoption attorneys.
Who Can Adopt?
In Pinellas County and all of Florida, adoption is an option for most adults. As long as you pass a background check, can show that you are able to provide stable and safe housing, and have an income to support the entire family, you may legally be able to adopt if you are at least 18 years old. Certain private adoption agencies may have additional requirements, so you would want to ask them what those requirements are before beginning your adoption journey.
Do I Have to Use Specific Adoption Attorneys?
If you are adopting through foster care, you are not required to have an adoption attorney. However, adoption attorneys are often helpful throughout the process. You should consider using an adoption attorney if you:
- Are using a private adoption agency
- Have connected with an expectant mother on your own
- Are planning a familial adoption
It is in your best interest to use adoption attorneys located in the state where the adoption will take place. Adoption laws vary from state to state and a local attorney will have a stronger understanding of their state’s laws.
What Is the Difference Between an Open and Semi-Open Adoption?
In a closed adoption, there is no ongoing contact with the birth family. Little, if any, identifying information is provided to either party at the time of adoption. However, closed adoptions are less common these days. In a semi-open or open adoption, the adoption agency and parties involved may work together to determine the level of contact they would like to establish. Many times, open adoptions allow for more contact between the birth family and the adoptive family. Many adoption attorneys will be able to assist you in evaluating semi-open and open adoption agreements and can help you decide what is right for your family.
How Long Does an Adoption Take?
There is no set timeline for adoption. On average, there are about 19,000 children in foster care in the state of Florida. Fewer than five percent of those children are eligible for adoption. (The goal of foster care is reunification of families.) Adoptions from foster care may take, on average, about eight months. Familial adoption can be much quicker, usually requiring a few months as long as neither biological parent objects to the petition.
Private adoption typically takes the longest amount of time. This can be due to the matching process during which the adopting family is matched with a child. In some cases, the parties may also be waiting for the birth of the child. The revocation period is 48 hours for a newborn and 72 hours for a child over six months of age. In Florida, the adoption can be finalized after 90 days; however, it depends on the court system’s availability.
Wagstaff & Pitelis—Your Local Team of Adoption Attorneys
If you are searching for experienced adoption attorneys in Largo, Belleair, Clearwater or elsewhere in Pinellas County, call Wagstaff & Pitelis. We have helped individuals and couples grow their family through many types of adoption. Call us today at (727) 584-8182 to schedule an initial consultation.