Frequently AskED Questions
Who can be an adoptive parent?
Individuals who are willing to support a special child and are able to offer their time, attention and understanding to that child. Adoptive parents may be young or older; single, married, divorced or widowed; or with or without children of their own (perhaps an "empty-nester" or retiree). Adoptive parents must complete Florida's FREE standardized parenting training course known as "MAPP" (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting), pass background screenings and complete a home study. A family's annual income isn't as important as their ability to open their hearts and homes to be a "forever family" to a special child.
What kind of children are in need of adoptive families?
Children seeking adoption are no different than children with families—they desire the love and support offered by caring, loving parents. It is important to note that while we serve children from birth to 18 years old, the average age of children available for adoption is 12 years old. We do not have healthy babies or toddlers available. If a very young child is available, they usually have severe medical and developmental issues. Available children may be part of a sibling or minority group or have special needs. While many of our foster teens have experienced multiple rejections and are hesitant to try adoption, it is important for them to have a "forever family" to help through their remaining adolescence and to be supportive into their adult years—family ties do not end at age 18.
How long does the entire adoption process take?
The average adoption finalizes 3-6 months after the rights of the biological parents are terminated.
Is adopting a child expensive?
In Florida, all children classified as "special needs" are adoptable by a qualifying family with little or no cost. In most cases, all major expenses related to the adoption—for example court costs and attorney fees—are reimbursed by the State of Florida under their guidelines. In addition, most children adopted are eligible to receive up to four years of paid college tuition at Florida universities, colleges or vocational programs.
What happens once the adoption is finalized?
Once finalized in a Florida Court of Law, the child becomes a permanent member of the adoptive family, affording parents all rights and responsibilities that would come with a biological birth child.
Does the adopted child or family receive any benefits or assistance?
Children and their adoptive families receive support from SCC adoption staff that may include referrals for individual therapy, support groups or family counseling. In many cases, the adoptive family may be eligible to receive a monthly adoption subsidy payment (the State of Florida offers a monthly subsidy for the continued care of special needs children). Most children are eligible to receive free medical health insurance and—with minimal qualification—four years of paid college tuition at a State-funded college or university.
Will I receive historical information on the child I adopt?
You will be given the child's foster care history including the circumstances involving his/her removal, medical history including birth/delivery information, any assessments or evaluation completed and the child's current daily regimen. Family history is also provided. This information is provided in the form of an adoptive Child Study.
Should I become a foster parent so I can adopt a child?
Because foster care is a temporary placement, most children that come into your home will not be eligible for adoption. In fact, 80% of children are reunified with their parents or transition to living with relatives. A foster parent is expected to work with the agency and birth parents, in the hopes that the family will be reunited. A foster parent must be objective, and must be able to assist a child when it comes time for that child to leave the foster home. Sometimes, however, children are unable to return home. If parental rights are terminated, first relatives, then foster parents are given consideration for adoption.