How to Complete an Adoption Finalization in Florida
Throughout the adoption process, hopeful parents dream of the day they will finally get to hold their son or daughter as the child’s parent. When this incredible, life-changing moment happens, it is something they will never forget. Their adoption dreams have come true.
However, there is a misconception at this moment: that the adoption process is complete.
Although placement is an important, amazing stage of the adoption, the process is actually not complete until a successful adoption finalization in Florida has occurred. Luckily for adoptive parents, American Adoptions of Florida can help guide you through this final step.
What is a Florida Adoption Finalization?
An adoption finalization is the final step of the adoption process. Finalizing an adoption in Florida ensures your child is legally recognized as a permanent member of your family. While your child will certainly feel like a part of your family after placement, it’s important not to forget this crucial step in the legal process of adoption.
But when does the adoption become final for the adopting parents?
The timeline will often depend on the type of adoption — domestic, international or foster care. For example: Before the finalization can take place in a private domestic infant adoption, the birth parents must give their consent to the termination of their parental rights. The birth father can generally give his consent prior to the birth, but in some cases, birth mothers must wait 48 hours after birth before consenting.
Adoptive parents will also need to complete several other requirements after placement.
Adoptions must comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and/or the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), if applicable to the situation. At least three post-placement home visits will need to occur; these will be completed by your Florida adoption home study professional.
Completing these requirements can take several months. But, once your adoption specialist confirms the requirements have been met, they will then walk you through the steps of scheduling a Florida adoption finalization hearing.
What to Expect at a Florida Adoption Finalization Hearing
When people think of having to attend court, they are often nervous or scared. But when it comes to adoption finalization, adoptive parents should be excited for the hearing, as this is the final step of the adoption process and the start of their new life as a family.
Although this is such an important part of your journey, there is no need to stress over the adoption finalization hearing. Your adoption specialist will have prepared you for this moment.
Adoption finalization in Florida is under the jurisdiction of your local circuit court, so this is where your hearing will take place. To begin the hearing, you will be sworn in. The judge will then review all post-placement visit documentation that has been submitted since the placement of your child occurred. You may be asked several questions about your adoption journey, how you and the child are adjusting to the placement and any other questions the judge feels has relevance to their decision.
Once the judge is satisfied with the information they have been given, they will issue a certified statement of final decree of adoption.
At this point, you are legally recognized as your child’s guardian, and your child is officially recognized member of your family!
After all of the paperwork, meetings, planning and more, you will finally get to focus on being a parent and providing love and support to your child for the rest of their life. Often times, adoptive parents will consider the finalization as a celebration — inviting family and friends, taking photos and truly embracing the significance of this moment.
What to Expect After Adoption Finalization
Once you have received your final decree of adoption, it is recommended that you file for your child’s amended birth certificate and social security card. Your adoption attorney will inform you of the requirements to complete this process, which will make sure your child is not only legally recognized as a member of your family but also as a United States citizen.
Now that your adoption is complete, you can focus on adjusting to your new life as a parent.
In the next weeks, months or years, you may be faced with situations you do not know how to handle, weren’t expecting or just need advice on. Your adoption specialist understands that adoption is a lifelong commitment and will be available to support you through any questions or concerns that come up.
If you would like to learn more about adoption in Florida and the benefits American Adoptions of Florida can provide throughout the entire process, give us a call at 1-800-ADOPTION. A trained specialist will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also contact us online anytime.
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