As excited as you may be about the adoption process, don't overlook the fact that this can be a challenging and somewhat tricky process. This isn't mean to scare you away. It's meant to show you that there are many steps you need to take as you move through the court system.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has named November as Florida Adoption Month. With the help of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Scott has initiated the "30 Days of Amazing Children" campaign.
It seems to be human nature to want to protect children from harm, especially when those children are particularly vulnerable. Because adoption hearings are held privately, people in Florida may have taken for granted that the law was looking out for children. However, every year more than a dozen children have been adopted by people whose parental abilities were questioned by child advocates. Those advocates are now rejoicing that a new law may provide more protection for children whose futures are uncertain.
An unusual case has sparked debate in Florida and elsewhere, as one state's courts delve into the definition of what it means to be a parent. The matter has led to the halt of one couple's step-parent adoption while the issue is sorted out in court. The outcome of the case could have an impact on the way that child custody and adoption proceedings are carried out across the nation.
After a lengthy and difficult legal battle, a father has been reunited with his daughter, and he is working to establish a bond with the child he temporarily lost due to a wrongful adoption. The case has garnered headlines in Florida and across the nation, and it is being heralded as a significant fathers' rights victory. His story also serves as a warning to unmarried men who have not legally established their paternal rights.
Most Floridians would likely agree that parents provide the building blocks upon which a child learns, develops, grows and achieves in life. Additionally, having a strong and stable family structure helps provide the tools a child needs to succeed in school and, ultimately, in life. Given the significant role that parents and family play in most people's lives, it's especially heartbreaking to learn that, according to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute; an estimated 397,000 U.S. children "are living without permanent families."
There are many different factors that can influence what sorts of procedures a family has to comply with to adopt a child and what kinds of rules and requirements are placed on them during the adoption process. One such factor is whether or not the child the family wishes to adopt is from the same state as the family.
According to 2010 U.S. Census data, more than 48,400 same-sex couples live in Florida. As of Jan. 5, 2015, after years of fighting to win the right to marry, many of these couples began taking steps to legally marrying. Along with the right to marry come other rights including those related to the legal adoption of children.
Many couples in Florida may consider adoption, but actually taking the step requires careful consideration and the willingness to make a life-long commitment. For couples who are unsure about whether adoption is the right choice for them, caring for a foster child may be a logical step toward making a decision. There are hundreds of children in foster care in Florida who yearn for a family to open their hearts and home to them, and some of those children may later become eligible for adoption.
Regardless of age, every child deserves to have a parental figure that loves them and looks out for their best interests. In a variety of circumstances, adoption provides babies, children, teenagers and even adults the benefit of legally being part of a family. The circumstances surrounding adoption cases are varied and complex. For couples or individuals who are contemplating adoption, it's wise to consult with a family law attorney as soon as possible.