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The Orientation meeting is the introduction to the agency and the adoption process. The orientation meeting is mandatory for all applicants that live within a 100 mile radius of the agency.
- Applicants complete the Application and the Adoption Disclosure Form
- Applicants complete Background Checks:
a. Local law enforcement – Applicants will submit provided form to the law enforcement agency in your region. For Hillsborough County this includes the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office; for Pasco County, this includes the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. For any other counties/states, please contact the office for directions. Both applicants and any household members ages twelve and above must be included. All middle, last, and prior names must be listed. Results should be mailed to Finally Home.
b. FBI/FDLE – Fingerprinting will be completed by Ideal Identification. Required forms are in the packet and must be taken to the site when fingerprinted. Finally Home Staff will inform you as to the location to be used. There is an $84.25 charge per adult payable to Ideal Identification. Results will be returned to Finally Home by Ideal Identification.
c. Child Abuse Hotline Record Search – All household members must be included on the provided form. Finally Home will submit the completed form to the Department of Children and Families.
Upon review by Finally Home of the above listed information/documents, you will be notified of the status of your application.
All applicants are required to complete twelve hours of training provided by Finally Home Christian Adoption Services. Adult family members are welcome to attend with applicants (i.e. grandparents, adult children, siblings). The fee for this class is included in the First Agency Fee.
Home Study Process:
Note: If you have a completed home study or live outside of Florida, please submit your home study for review as soon as possible.
Part A – Applicants are provided a home study packet from Finally Home and complete the required documents:
- Copy of Birth Certificates (2)
- Copy of Marriage Certificate
- Copy of Divorce Decree (if applicable)
- Complete Physical Forms (2) (forms provided)
- At Risk Statement
- Financial Statement Form with W-2 from the previous year (form provided). If you have children living with a custodial parent, proof of child support payments will be required.
- Employment Verification Form from each employer (2) (form provided) (if self employed applicants fill out on their own)
- Questionnaire for Prospective Adoptive Parents (2) (forms provided)
- References – 5 per couple (up to 2 family, and 3 friends). If you have an adult child (18 years or older, we request that you obtain a reference from that child.).
Part B – After completed documents are submitted to Finally Home, an adoption specialist will be assigned. The adoption specialist will contact the applicants to schedule the two required home visits. The state of Florida requires that a home study addresses the following: a social history of each applicant, the marital relationship, planned child rearing practices, parenting support, employment and finances, medical history, religion, views on issues related to adoption, and a description of the applicant’s home and community.
Once the home visits are completed, Finally Home will notify applicants in writing of their approval as prospective adoptive parents. The social worker will write the home study from the documents completed by the applicants and the information gathered in the home visits.
Families that have been approved through the home study process are eligible to have their profiles available to birth parents selecting an adoptive couple. Agency staff will provide you with information as to how to compile a profile, and guide you in the process. You can also opt to have a profile professionally created for you (there are company’s on line which offer such services). The profile consists of the following:
- Birth family letter – Adoptive parents write a letter to prospective birth parents (guidelines will be given for assistance). The letter should be no more than two typed pages.
- Photographs – Profiles should be 8 ½ by 11 inches with 10 to 15 pictures. Photos should include casual close ups of adoptive couple (at least 5), vacations, trips, hobbies, pets, inside and outside of home, and extended family members. Profiles are offered to birth parents after placements so please make duplicate prints of your profiles.
All profiling activity is documented at Finally Home. Prospective adoptive couples are welcome to contact the agency at any time to check activity on their profile.
Profiles that match an adoptive family’s profile and the desires of the birth mother/father will be shown to the birth parent(s). Once a family has been identified, a meeting will be set up so the birth parent(s) and adoptive family can meet. Once the meeting has occurred, the match will be formalized and a plan will be made for future contact.
Placement – Placements generally occur when the baby is discharged from the hospital. These details will vary with each individual case.
- Post Placement Supervision – The state of Florida requires that the adoptive family receive monthly visits to their home by an adoption caseworker prior to the finalization of their adoption, which will occur a minimum of 90 days post the placement. Our agency fulfills this mandate by facilitating monthly home visits until the finalization. These visits must be summarized in post placement reports. Reports include information such as the health of the baby, daily care and activities, bonding and attachment, and adjustment.
- Termination of Parental Rights Hearing – In Florida the petition is filed by 60 days after placement and the hearing is then scheduled as soon as the court calendar thereafter allows. At the hearing, the judge enters a final judgment terminating the birthparents parental rights. Adoptive parents are not present for this hearing.
- Finalization of Adoption Hearing – This hearing will take place not sooner than one month after the voluntary relinquishment hearing. Finally Home forwards the updated clearances, updated home study, and post placement reports to the Court House prior to the hearing date. Finally Home staff accompanies adoptive families to the Court House for their hearing. Adoptive families are welcome to invite other family members to the hearing to participate in this celebration. Birth parents will not be at this hearing.
Finally Home desires to continue to support families throughout their adoption journey. The agency facilitates a minimum of ongoing non-identity communication between birth families and adoptive families. Families can contact the agency at any time to arrange individual post finalization services. Pictures and updates are to be sent to Finally Home on the following schedule:
Birth to 6 months: Monthly pictures and updates
One year – Pictures and Updates
At each year following through the age of 18 – Yearly pictures and updates