FAQS

The Florida Statutes govern the requirements for adoptions in the State of Florida. If a birth mother currently resides in another state, the answers may differ, because each state has its own set of adoption laws.

What is a “Board Certified Adoption Attorney” in the state of Florida?

Adoption Experts

The certification of adoption attorneys allows the public to differentiate lawyers proficient in the area of adoption law from attorneys who do not understand the unique complexities of the adoption statute. Board Certified Adoption Attorneys in Florida are considered experts in the field of Florida adoption law. Both Michael Shorstein and Brian Kelly, of Shorstein & Kelly, are Board Certified Adoption Attorneys.

Understanding Complex Laws

In the last decade, Florida Adoption laws have changed almost every year, most recently in 2012. What once was a simple, form-based process now requires an experienced adoption attorney’s intuitive approach in applying the complicated statutory framework. A Board Certified Adoption Attorney understands the complex laws and stays current with the latest changes that may impact an adoption plan.

Superior Professionalism and Ethics

Birth parents and adoptive parents are faced with increasingly difficult choices when evaluating adoption options. The State of Florida is among the top pro-adoption states in the country. Adoption Law Board Certification provides a necessary and important protection by distinguishing those attorneys who have special knowledge, skills, and proficiency in adoption law, along with superior professionalism and ethics in their practice.

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Does the birth mother have to pay legal fees or expenses?

No.  All legal fees and expenses, including medical expenses, are paid by the prospective adoptive parents.  The birth mother’s counseling, living and medical expenses as well as all legal fees are provided free to her.

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How much financial assistance can the birth mother receive?

Financial assistance is available for reasonable living expenses of the birth mother which she is unable to pay due to unemployment, underemployment or disability.  Reasonable living expenses are rent, utilities, basic telephone service, food, toiletries, necessary clothing, transportation, insurance, and expenses found by the court to be necessary for the health and well-being of the birth mother and the unborn child.  Such expenses may be paid during the pregnancy and for a period of up to 6 weeks postpartum.

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What if the birth mother is under the age of 18?

A birth mother under the age of 18 and over the age of 14 has the sole power to consent to the adoption of her child. It is not necessary to contact her parents or other family members. A birth mother 14 years or younger must have a parent, legal guardian, or court-appointed guardian ad litem to assist and advise the birth mother as to the adoption plan.

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Does the birth mother have to live in, or move to Florida to work with Shorstein & Kelly?

No. If the birth mother lives in another state, Shorstein & Kelly can still provide assistance with the adoption plan.  The Firm will also ensure that the birth mother has the assistance of an attorney or licensed child-placing agency in her state to assist with the adoption plan.

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Can the birth mother choose the adoptive parents?

Yes. Birth mothers may select and meet the adoptive parents, if they wish.  The birth mother may also opt to have one of Shorstein & Kelly’s experienced adoption counselors choose the qualified adoptive parents for her or assist her with the process.

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What is the difference between Open and Closed Adoptions?

Open Adoptions

An open adoption is one in which the birth mother and the adoptive parents know each other and agree to continuing contact, in some manner, following placement of the child.

Benefits of choosing an open adoption with Shorstein & Kelly (the “Firm”):

  • Exchange of information between the birth mother and the adoptive parents,
  • Selection of the adoptive parents by the birth mother,
  • Communication between the birth mother and the adoptive parents both during the pregnancy and following placement, and
  • Receipt of pictures and updates by the birth mother for 18 years following placement.

Matching Process

For an open adoption, birth mothers are encouraged to list preferences as to various characteristics for their choice of adoptive parents.  Religion, family size, geographical location, hobbies and interests may all be important considerations.  The Firm then matches the preferences listed by the birth mother with the many, many waiting families in the Firm’s vast network.  Next, the birth mother is presented with photographs and profiles of prospective adoptive parents. The birth mother may choose from the profiles presented or request more profiles to review.

Talking to/and Meeting Adoptive Parents

Birth mothers can speak with the prospective adoptive parents by telephone and/or in person prior to making a decision. After selecting the adoptive parents, the birth mother communicates with them on a regular basis throughout the pregnancy.  Most adoptive parents have become comfortable with texting and email as part of the communication process.  After the placement of the child, the birth mother receives photos and updates for 18 years, if she desires.

Closed Adoptions

For a closed adoption, birth mothers choose to have little or no information about the adoptive parents and they are not normally involved in selecting the parents.  Additionally, there is very little communication between the birth mother and the adoptive parents both during the pregnancy and following placement.  Today, very few adoption plans are completed as closed adoptions.

Semi-Open Adoptions

There are many variations between the types of adoption described as “Open” and “Closed”.  These variations are sometimes referred to as “Semi-Open Adoptions”.  For example, some birth mothers desire to participate in the matching process but prefer the adoption to remain closed following the placement of the child.  In all cases, Shorstein & Kelly allows the birth mother to choose which aspects of the adoption process the birth mother feels most comfortable as an active participant.

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Do all birth mother’s get matched with adoptive parents?

Yes. The Firm has matched over 1,000 birthmothers – All birth mothers that work with the Shorstein & Kelly get matched – No Exceptions!  The entire matching process can take as short as 2 days or as long as several months depending on the facts of the particular case.

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Can the birth mother see the baby after the birth?

Yes. The birth mother determines how much contact she would like to have with the baby. Some birth mothers desire to “room in” with the baby at the hospital, while others choose to have limited or no contact. Furthermore, in most cases the birth mother, if she chooses, will continue to see the baby until the birth mother’s discharge from the hospital – even though she has already signed the consent for adoption.

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When does the birth mother sign the papers to terminate her rights?

After the birth of the child and before discharge from the hospital, the birth mother will sign the legal papers which terminate her parental rights to the child. The consent for adoption, once signed, is binding and irrevocable.

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When do the adoptive parents receive the baby?

Adoptive parents take the baby directly home from the hospital.  In fact, many birth mothers request that the adoptive mother be present in the delivery room so that she can be with the baby from the moment of birth.

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Can the birth mother receive photos and updates after the baby is born?

Yes. Adoptive parents provide pictures and updates on a regular basis for at least 18 years after the baby is born. They send the photos and updates to Shorstein & Kelly, who then forward them to the birth mother upon request.  In addition, many adoptive parents are sharing future photos with the birth mother electronically through photo sharing or social network web sites.

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How much does it cost to adopt?

It costs nothing for the birth mother – all costs are paid by the adoptive parents.

The total cost of an adoption includes the birth mother expenses plus all expenses of the adoptive parents to complete the adoption.  Many of the expenses vary widely on a case-by-case basis.  Birth mother expenses may include medical care, counseling, living expenses, transportation and other miscellaneous costs.  Adoptive parent expenses may include home study fees, legal fees, travel costs, other professional fees (i.e.,agency, adoption consultant), and miscellaneous costs.

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