How to Adopt a Child in Jacksonville

May 18, 2024by Adam Sacks

Are you considering expanding your family through adoption in Jacksonville, Florida?

The process of adopting a child can seem overwhelming, but with the right information and guidance, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience.


Learn About Florida Adoption Requirements and Types of Adoption

To begin the process of adopting a child in Jacksonville, there are certain requirements that you must meet. You must be at least 18 years old to adopt a child in Florida. Age restrictions may vary for certain types of adoptions, such as step-parent or relative adoptions. There are no specific marital status requirements to adopt in Florida, meaning both married couples and single individuals can adopt a child.

Public adoption is worth considering. There are about 500 of children in foster care in Florida awaiting permanent placement with adoptive families. [1] If you choose to adopt one of them it would be considered a public adoption.

Private adoption is another route for adoption. This involves working with an adoption agency or attorney to find a child who needs a loving home. Private adoption allows adoptive parents to have more control over the adoption process and allows for greater communication with the birth parents.

International adoptions have become less common in recent years due to changing regulations. This type of adoption involves adopting a child from another country. International adoption requires compliance with the laws and regulations of both the United States and the foreign country involved.

Relative and step-parent adoptions occur when a child is adopted by a relative who is not their biological parent, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle or step-parent.


Learn About Florida Adoption Requirements and Types of Adoption


Contact a Local Adoption Agency

When searching for a local adoption agency, conduct thorough research and make a list of potential options. You can start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, or even a trusted healthcare professional who may have connections in the adoption community.

Online platforms and directories also provide valuable information about reputable adoption agencies operating in Jacksonville.

After finding a few agencies that seem suitable, reach out to them to gather more information. Ask relevant questions to determine if they are the right fit for your adoption journey. Inquire about their adoption programs and services, as well as their eligibility requirements.

Schedule a consultation or informational meeting with each one. This will provide you with an opportunity to meet the agency staff, ask more specific questions, and gauge their overall approach, professionalism, and dedication to their clients.

During these meetings, be sure to ask about the agency’s support services for adoptive parents and connection with the birth parents. It can be helpful to work with an agency that maintains relationships with birth families, as this helps in facilitating open or semi-open adoptions if that is something you desire.


Begin the Florida Adoption Process and Make a Profile

The Florida adoption process is overseen by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and involves different stages aimed at matching children with suitable families. [2]

One step in the adoption process is to make a profile for prospective adoptive parents. This profile serves as a way for adoption professionals to learn more about you, your family, and your home environment.

It gives them insights into your personality, values, and what kind of family life you can offer to a child. A comprehensive profile provides vital information that helps match children to prospective parents effectively.

When creating your profile, be honest and authentic. Include details about your daily routines, hobbies, interests, and values. Share your vision of the type of family dynamics you wish to create and highlight any unique experiences or skills that you believe would benefit a child.

Including photos of your home, family, and pets can also give a prospective birth parent a glimpse into the warm and loving environment that awaits their child.


Begin the Florida Adoption Process and Make a Profile


Home Study for Adopting

The home study is a thorough assessment conducted by a licensed adoption agency or social worker to evaluate prospective adoptive parents. The purpose of this study is to ensure that individuals or couples meet the legal requirements and possess the ability to care for a child, both emotionally and financially.

The home study aims to determine if the family’s environment is safe, stable, and conducive to raising a child.

Home studies can include interviews, background checks, and home visits. During the interviews, the social worker will discuss various aspects of your life, such as your motivation for adoption, family background, parenting approach, and support system.

They will also explore your readiness to adopt, your understanding of adoption issues, and your willingness to provide for a child’s well-being.

Background checks are an integral part of the home study process. They aim to ensure the safety and well-being of the child being placed for adoption. This typically includes state and federal criminal background checks, child abuse registry checks, and fingerprinting of prospective adoptive parents.

They will check for hazards, assess the tidiness of your home, and confirm that there is enough space to accommodate a child. It is wise to make any necessary adjustments to your home before the home visits take place.

Once the home study is completed, a report will be prepared by the social worker detailing their findings and recommendations. This report will be reviewed by the adoption agency or relevant authorities to determine if you are eligible to adopt a child in Jacksonville.



Complete Your Adoption through Finalization

Finalization refers to the legal procedure that legally recognizes the adoptive parents as the child’s legal and permanent guardians. This process provides stability and security for both the child and the adoptive family.

Finalizing an adoption is the last step in the adoption process, where the adoption becomes legally binding. Here are the common steps involved:

Placement Period: This is a time for the child and adoptive family to spend time together and bond before the adoption is finalized. The length of the placement period varies by jurisdiction.

Post-Placement Visit: During the placement period, a social worker or adoption agency representative will conduct post-placement visits to ensure that the child is adjusting well in the adoptive family’s home. These visits are typically required before the adoption can be finalized.

Court Petition: Once the placement period is complete, the adoptive parent(s) will file a petition with the court, requesting the finalization of the adoption. This petition includes important documents like the adoption agreement, birth certificate, and any required consents or termination of parental rights.

Adoption Hearing: After the petition is filed, a court date will be scheduled for the adoption hearing. During the hearing, the judge will review the adoption petition, and if everything is in order, they will issue a final decree of adoption, making the adoption legally binding.

Issuance of a New Birth Certificate: Once the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parent(s) can request a new birth certificate for the child. This new birth certificate will list the adoptive parent(s) as the child’s legal parent(s), replacing the original birth certificate.

Post-Adoption Support: Many adoption agencies provide post-adoption support services, such as counseling, support groups, or resources for adjusting to the new family dynamic. These services can be valuable for both the parents and the child as they navigate their new relationship.


Complete Your Adoption through Finalization


Contact Sacks & Sacks today to start the adoption process and take the first step towards building your forever family.



[1] Florida foster care and adoption guidelines. (n.d.).

[2] Homepage | Florida DCF. (n.d.).

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

Follow us:



Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A.

Copyright © Sacks & Sacks Law 2024
Powered by LawSmiths