Interested in being a Foster Parent? If so, click here or call  850.453.7777 for more information. Looking for Adoption info? Click here or call  1.866.313.9874.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Who are adoptive parents?
  2. What is included in the application process?
  3. How long does the process take?
  4. What is Family-Match?
  5. What is the selection process?
  6. What happens when I first meet my child and then after that?
  7. Who are the “waiting children?”
  8. Can we adopt more than one child?
  9. If we have problems after we get a child, will the agency help us?
  10. Can we get a child who doesn't have problems?
  11. How much does it cost to adopt?
  12. I am an adoptive parent. How do I set up or make a change to my direct deposit for my adoption subsidy?
Q: Who are Adoptive parents?
A: There is not a list of specific requirements. Most of the time a person who is interested in adopting and can provide loving care is eligible to adopt. Adoptive parents:
  • Can be single, married, or divorced.
  • May or may not have birth children.
  • Must be able to financially manage the addition of a child to the family, although there are no specific income requirements. There is a program available to help families with expenses, including medical expenses and ongoing financial expenses for waiting children who are eligible.
  • Must have room for another child, but you do not have to own a home.
  • Must have no criminal history that would prevent adoption approval.
Q: What is included in the application process?
A: To make the process easy, we have created this one-pager to help explain the adoption process. In short, the process consists of speaking with a recruiter, attending parenting classes, completing background screens, filling out an application and having a home study completed.

Adoption Process PDF
Q: How long does the process take?
A: The classes usually take eight weeks to complete. Your adoptive home study may take up to three months to complete after the classes. It’s difficult to say how long it will be before a child is placed with you after your study is approved. Some families can identify with a child immediately. Some families take longer finding a child who they feel will fit into their family unit. Generally speaking, if you are willing to consider a diverse group children, the sooner you will find a child for your family.
Q: What is Family-Match?
A: Family-Match is a new technology that is changing the way adoptions are performed across the state of Florida. Approved families can upload a profile and complete an assessment on the website. Case managers also complete assessments on available children. The program then runs an algorithm using key attributes that contribute to success or disruption and produces compatibility scores for the families and children. Case managers can then proactively reach out to families with high scores who match up with the children on their caseloads. This innovation is helping to reduce the potential wait time for children and families, and for the first time, we have a tool that provides other agencies across the state access to home studies of potential parents with the click of a button.
Q: What is the selection process?
A: You or the adoption recruitment specialist will submit your approved adoptive home study to the caseworker of the child you are interested in. Other families also may be interested in the child. Regardless, an adoption staffing committee will review all home studies and determine which family can best meet the child’s needs. When a family is selected the child’s caseworker will contact them and provide information about the child. The prospective family also will learn about the child’s personality, academic performance, behaviors and history. If the family wants to proceed, a visit will be set up to meet the child.
Q: What happens when I first meet my child and then after that?
A: First visits can take place in the foster home or at a neutral place like a park or fast food restaurant. You and the child will have several more visits including overnight stays as you get to know each other. As some point, when you, the child and the caseworker feel it is time, the child will move into your home. At that point, a supervisory period of at least 90 days begins during which you can adjust to becoming a family. A caseworker will visit regularly providing support to you and offer referral services to help ensure the stability of your adoption. When you’re ready to make the adoption permanent, your caseworker will prepare the necessary paperwork for a lawyer to file with the court. You and your child will go in front of a judge who will ask you some questions about your family and how you are doing together. He will then sign an Adoption Decree giving you all the legal rights and responsibilities for your child — “as though he or she was born to you” as the Judge will say. Soon after you will receive an amended birth certificate with your child’s new name and listing you as the child’s birth parent.
Q: Who are the “waiting children”?
A: Youth who are waiting to be adopted are children who in the custody of the State of Florida (or of other states). These children were unsafe with their birth families because they were abused, neglected or abandoned. Their parents have had an opportunity to make their homes safer so that their children could return to the home, but for whatever reason that did not happen. At this point, a Judge has determined that the child cannot return home making him or her available for adoption. When this decision is made and the child is “freed” for adoption.
Q: Can we adopt more than one child?
A: Yes, indeed! There are many brothers and sisters waiting to be adopted. We especially welcome families who can take siblings. We also have families who adopt a child and later decide that they want to adopt more children.
Q: If we have problems after we are paired with a child, will the agency help us?
A: Yes. We will give you all the help we can. During the waiting period of at least three months before you go to court to finalize the adoption, we will have regular visits with you and will be on call to help with problems that arise. You should call us right away, rather than wait until a problem escalates. Even after the child is legally a part of your family. You can contact Children’s Home Society, who offers post adoption support for help.
Q:Can we be paired with a child who doesn't have problems?
A: The honest answer is no because whether a child is yours by birth or adoption, not one of them is “problem free.” The type of issues will vary, and all children react in different ways. Some children may test you to see if you mean what you say about loving them and being a family forever (i.e. trust issues). Bear in mind that your family and a loving home, is an opportunity that these children need. Your love, attention and understanding will help the child adjust with a little time. Many adoptive children need help at different times during in the adoption process. In their young lives, harsh past experiences may require you to seek support services at various developmental stages.
Q: How much does it cost to adopt?
A: FamiliesFirst Network charges nothing. If you adopt an eligible waiting child, we pay the legal and court costs of the adoption, and provide you with a modest monthly subsidy to help pay the child's expenses. Most adopted children also have medical coverage until they are 18 years old. In Florida, children adopted from foster care are eligible to receive college tuition assistance.
Q: I am an adoptive parent. How do I set up or make a change to my direct deposit for my adoption subsidy?
A: Please contact the Revenue Maximization department by calling  850.437.8889.

Sponsored by Lakeview Center and the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families