It’s hard to believe that gay adoption was completely illegal for over 30 years in the state of Florida. But in 2010, the Florida Court of Appeals ruled that the law prohibiting LGBT adoption was unconstitutional. Still, the adoption process for gay and lesbian couples may vary slightly from that of a heterosexual couple. The following information should help you better understand the process of gay adoption in Florida.
Ways to Adopt
Many LGBT people and gay couples have successfully adopted children into their families since gay adoption has become legal in Florida. There are several ways to go about adoption in Florida.
Single parent adoption is when an individual adopts a child alone. Joint adoption is when a married couple adopts a child together. You might choose to adopt through the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), a private agency or a private person. Each has their pros and cons for gay adoption in Florida.
- Adopting through the DCF will be more affordable, with many costs being reimbursed by the state. However, it can be a lengthier process with more hurdles to cross. DCF also tends to prefer married couples over individuals, no matter their orientation.
- Adopting through a private agency allows you to be more specific in your search. It also allows you to find an agency understanding of your situation. It will, however, be more expensive.
- Private adoption can be a simpler process with less paperwork. But it can be quite costly as you typically pay for the birth mother’s expenses.
Stepparent adoption is when one spouse adopts the child of the other spouse. In the case of gay adoption in Florida, this is typically when two women are married and one has a child biologically. It may also take place when: a gay male married couple has used a surrogate mother to carry one of the men’s biological child; one partner has previously adopted a child on his or her own; or one partner has a biological child with another parent who is willing to forfeit his or her parental rights.
Second parent adoption is an option for an unmarried partner to adopt a partner’s child. It was also a more complicated alternative to the stepparent adoption before gay marriage was made legal in Florida.
Completing a Home Study
All parents adopting a baby in Florida are required to complete a home study before a child is placed in their care. The purpose is to prove that you can provide a safe and secure home for a child. All adults in the household will undergo local, state and federal background checks. You’ll also have to give professional and personal references. An adoption worker will visit your home and discusses things including your reasons for wanting to adopt, your financial situation and the strength of your relationship.