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Archive for Adopt a child

How to Get Your Adoption Home Study Done Quickly

Happy couple meeting with their adoption home study providerAs the first step in the adoption process, the home study can bring up many emotions, from the excitement of beginning the adoption journey to feeling nervous about the process. Typically, a home study includes paperwork and documentation, a precise background check, interviews with household members, and a visit to your home.
 
Even though this may seem like a lot, you can get through the home study process in record time.
 

Here are 7 proven ways to finish your home study quickly:

 
1. Make sure you’re both committed to the process
 
First of all, it’s crucial that both of you are committed to your adoption. It’s your home study provider’s goal to place children in loving, accepting homes. But family dynamics can be strained when one spouse is more dedicated than the other.
 
In addition, if just one parent is committed, the other tends to procrastinate about finishing the necessary paperwork and setting appointments.
 
2. Compile a list of required documents
 
Since some of the required documents for your home study might require additional time to obtain, we recommend that you start working on those first.
 
As an example, you’ll need to gather personal documents, like copies of your driver’s license, marriage and birth certificates. It can take awhile to request copies of these from the appropriate government departments if you don’t have these documents on hand. Some documents, such as your financial statement, will require notarizations.
 
Please check with your home study provider, because requirements vary state by state. Make sure to verify with them which documents are necessary to submit for your home study.
 
3. Schedule appointments as soon as possible

Most home studies will require a signed physician’s statement regarding your health. In addition, you’ll need to schedule a visit to an authorized authority so that you can get fingerprinted. So that these appointments don’t become a bottleneck in finishing your home study, schedule them right away.
 
4. Complete your paperwork online

Find a home study provider who will accept home study applications via e-forms. If you can complete your paperwork online, you may be able to finish it all within a week. Hopeful adoptive parents who complete paper forms typically take a few months to finish.
 
5. Give your references a heads-up

Most home study applications require reference letters from your family and friends. We recommend choosing your references early on in the home study process since it’ll take time to get the reference letters returned.
 
Once you’ve chosen your references, let them know they’ll receive a reference request. Kindly ask them to submit it as quickly as they can. That’s because missing reference letters are often the last hold-ups to completing a home study.
 
6. Dedicate time to work on this

Try to set aside some time in your schedule just for completing your home study application. The questions on the application should be pretty straightforward, so you just need to make some time to do this. Try setting aside a couple of hours each day to power through the application.
 
7. Check your home before the home visit

After you’ve completed the paperwork, the next step in the home study process is to schedule a home visit and interviews with a social worker.
 
Even though your social worker will give you an opportunity to fix any potential safety hazards before finishing their report, taking care of all safety hazards before their initial visit will expedite the overall process.
 

Lifetime Adoption Agency provides affordable home study services in Florida.
 
You can learn more by calling 727-493-0933 or visiting our Adoption Home Study page.

how to finish your adoption home study #homestudy #adoption #adoptiongoals #adoptionagency #adopt #hopingtoadopt
how to complete your adoption home study #homestudy #adoption #adoptiongoals #adoptionagency #adopt #hopingtoadopt
how to finish your adoption home study #homestudy #adoption #adoptiongoals #adoptionagency #adopt #hopingtoadopt

How to Rock Your Home Study

Married couple with adoption consultantMany hopeful adoptive parents find the home study to be the most time-consuming and nerve-wracking part of the adoption process. They wonder things like, “Will they find our home to be acceptable? What about our parenting approach?”
 
Today, Lifetime Adoption Agency will share what to expect with a home study and how to prepare, as well as shed light on common home study myths!
 

What’s the adoption home study?

It’s an evaluation that a licensed social worker completes on a prospective adoptive family. Per state and federal regulations, you must have an approved home study to adopt. That’s because your home study will be used by your attorney to file adoption paperwork with the court. Before he or she approves and finalizes your adoption, a judge will review your home study.
 
It’s the perfect time to learn more about the adoption process and how to parent an adopted child. So make sure to ask your home study provider your questions as they come up!
 

Information in a Home Study:

  • Your background (childhood, parents and siblings, and life events)
  • Important people in your lives
  • Marriage and family relationships
  • Reason for adopting
  • Expectations for your child and the adoption
  • Outlook about infertility issues (if relevant)
  • Parenting approach and childcare plans
  • Family environment
  • Your health history
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Finances (including your insurance coverage)
  • References
  • Criminal background clearances

What to Expect in a Home Study

The home study process typically happens in 3 stages:
 
1st Stage: Complete required paperwork
 
2nd Stage: A social worker will make at least one visit to your home, and conduct individual interviews of both of you.
 
3rd Stage: The social worker writes an evaluation of your family and their recommendation for adoption.
 
The home study process will take from two to four months, depending on how quickly you complete your paperwork and how busy the home study worker is at the time.
 
Completing adoption paperwork

Common Myths About Home Studies

“Our house must be perfect.”
A social worker is expecting to walk into a home that looks lived in, not one that’s been perfectly staged. The social worker won’t arrive in a little white outfit for a white glove test, we promise!
 
“We have to be rich.”
Even though adoption can get expensive, you don’t need to be wealthy to get your home study approved. The social worker is looking to see if you’re financially stable; that you stay out of debt and pay your bills on time. So, what’s more important than how well-off you are is your budget, debt, and how you spend.
 
“We have to own our home.”
Couples who rent a condo, apartment, or house can also get their home study approved.
 
“My past has to be clean.”
The social worker understands that you’re only human. With that said, you’ll have to answer questions about your criminal background, social environment, and medical history. Shares Linda Rotz, Lifetime’s Director of Adoption Services, “The adoptive couple needs to share if they’ve been directly or indirectly exposed to circumstances such as alcohol/drug abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, jail, counseling or financial issues. The truth is, most couples have had some sort of exposure,”
 
The social worker completing your home study will evaluate the issues and address them. Sometimes, a hopeful adoptive couple needs to show growth and change in a specific area, or take additional training. While there are felonies that would disqualify a couple from adopting, each state has its own laws. So it’s best to evaluate them with the social worker.
 
Social worker tours a couple's home

How to Get Ready for Your Home Study

Be prepared to answer questions about very personal topics such as your marriage, childhood, and any issues you might carry around. The home study provider might ask about your mental health, how you were disciplined as a child, marriage conflict, infertility issues, and financial struggles.
 
By asking questions like this, the social worker is seeking to determine how you manage stress and difficulty. How have you worked through tough issues in the past? Do you have a strong support system? Are you willing to ask for help when it’s needed? By being straightforward about how you’ve moved through difficult events, the social worker can get a clear picture.
 

Home Study Tips

Expect to spend quite a bit of time completing paperwork and gathering the needed documents. Here’s a list of items that most home study professionals require:

  • Tax records
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate
  • Background checks
  • Bank statements
  • Employment verification
  • Proof of insurance
  • Physicals

We recommend reserving a few weeknights or a weekend to work through the process. Put on your favorite music, grab some snacks, put on some music, and get to work!
 
It’s important to be yourself during the home visit and interview. Since the home study professional is trying to get to know you and your family, it’s beneficial for you to be honest and straightforward.
 
The adoption home study might involve a lot of work, but once you bring your baby home you’ll see that it’s completely worth it!
 

Home Study Resources

Adoption webinars about the home study, which are free to access!

Lifetime’s Adoption Expert Q&A: The Adoption Home Study, and more…
Behind the Scenes of Your Adoption Home Study
Adoption Q & A – All About the Home Study
 
Here are some useful articles on the adoption home study:
 
Home Study 101: All You Need to Know
6 Proven Tips on How to Get Your Home Study Done in a Flash
How to Get Ready for Your Home Study in Florida
Surviving the Adoption Home Study

Adoption Home Study #adoptionhomestudy #homestudy #adoption #hopingtoadopt
Adoption Home Study #adoptionhomestudy #homestudy #adoption #hopingtoadopt
Adoption Home Study #adoptionhomestudy #homestudy #adoption #hopingtoadopt

Your Quick Guide to Finding the Best Adoption Agency in Florida

Adoptive parents Bobby and Chaun admire their daughterCreating a family can happen in many ways. If you’d like to build your family through adoption, it’s important to find the best adoption agency in Florida. Since there are a vast array of adoption agencies, it can be challenging to find one that will match what you desire.
 
With research and careful consideration, you’ll be in a better position to partner with the adoption professional who is the best fit for you. Keep reading to learn what you should consider when looking for the best adoption agency in Florida!
 

Interview Adoption Professionals

Schedule interviews with representatives from the different adoption agencies you’re considering. Since agencies might be located across the country, setting up a phone interview is best. Make sure to discuss important items like average match time, fees, the home study, and birth mother presentation. During the phone interview, you’ll also have the opportunity to ask them questions. Get ideas on possible questions you might ask here.
 

Consider Experience

Ask the representative that you speak with how many years that the agency has been in existence. How much experience do they have in the field of domestic adoption? To work closely with an experienced adoption agency, choose one that has been actively matching birth mothers and adoptive couples for a long time.
 

Ask About Adoption Fees

When you’re looking for the best adoption agency in Florida, consider the clarity of their fees. How up front is the adoption agency about their fees when you talk to them?
 
Make sure that you understand what all of their fees are before engaging with an adoption agency in your state. Before you pay anything, make sure that you know the purpose the adoption agency will serve in your adoption journey. For example, some agencies will charge match fees while others do not.
 

Speak to References

Ask your representative at the adoption agency to speak with references. Talking to couples who recently adopted through the agency will provide you with an idea of what to expect.
 
Find reviews online of the adoption agencies you’re looking into. Many review sites will have feedback from those who adopted through the agency. The Better Business Bureau’s website is a great place to start. You can see Lifetime’s BBB rating and read reviews here.
 
 

The better informed you are about adoption agencies, the easier it’ll become to choose one who will match your specific needs and concerns. With the proper research into adoption agencies in Florida, you can find one who is committed to your success!
 
Schedule your complimentary adoption consultation with Lifetime Adoption Agency today, by calling us at 1-877-383-6847!

Adopting a Baby in Today’s World

Webinar to learn about adopting a baby in today's worldWhat have you heard about how domestic adoption works nowadays? It’s easy to get caught up in the opinions and comments of others who think they know what adopting a baby is like or how it should go.
 
The truth is, adoption has changed a lot, even from just five years ago. It’s important to know what adopting a baby in the U.S. is like TODAY.
 
Lifetime just held a Q&A webinar about domestic adoption in today’s world! You can listen to “A Lifetime Q&A: Adopting a Baby | Domestic Adoption in Today’s World” here. Most people who want to adopt a baby aren’t totally clear on the process when they decide to pursue adoption. That’s where we come in!
 
Click to listen to this adoption webinar!We’re excited to present this new webinar, to help you cut through the stereotypes and hear-say. Get the info you need to know to adopt the baby you’re praying for.
 
If you’ve been thinking about starting the process to adopt a baby born in the US, then you’ll want to listen to this webinar all about domestic adoption!
 
In Lifetime’s Q&A webinar, we took questions from people considering domestic adoption, just like you. We covered topics from adoption basics, like getting started and what open adoption really looks like today, to beyond-the-basics, such as when (and how!) to tell your child about adoption, embracing adoption after going through infertility, and the best tips for ensuring a safe and successful adoption process.
 

A Lifetime Q&A Webinar: Adopting a Baby in Today’s World

 
When you subscribe to Lifetime’s Adoption Webinars, we’ll email you to let you know once our next webinar is scheduled. Sign up for the opportunity to ask our adoption experts your questions. We love to take questions from our audience of future adoptive parents, just like you!

Access this Free Webinar & Learn How to Get Started With Adoption

This free webinar will teach you how to get started with adoption!What do you need help with to get started with adoption? What obstacles are in your way towards achieving your dreams of adopting? Maybe deep inside you answered:

  • “I need clarity about the adoption process in general.”
  • “I wonder if open adoption would ever let us feel like ‘mom and dad.'”
  • “We need to know how to cover adoption costs.”
  • “My spouse is on board, but I’m just not there yet myself.”
  • “There’s so much going on right now. Hopefully soon we’ll have time to go over all of this, or take the next step.”
  • “We’re totally ready to adopt, but aren’t sure who we want to help us do it.”
  • “We’re still trying to conceive.” OR “We just miscarried again and need time to heal.”
  • “Honestly, we’re just so overwhelmed about what we want to do.”
  • “I just need to know what the next step is so that I can get this going!”

Maybe you can relate to one of those thoughts or have a totally different answer in mind. This free adoption webinar is a great place to start sorting through everything. The key with adoption is not to let the process or questions hold you back. The only way you’ll find out what you want to do next is to keep learning more!
 
If adoption is on your heart right now, then you’ll want to access this free webinar to get the answers you’ll need as someone who hopes to adopt.
 
Our adoption webinar, “Q&A: Adoption Basics & Getting Started,” is a great place to learn the basics, if you’re new to adoption, or to expand your understanding, if you’re already familiar with adoption 101 topics.
 
The key is not to let the process or questions hold you back from a calling on your heart to add a child to your family through adoption. This webinar will help you get the answers you need to make the right decision for your family’s future:
 

Q&A: Adoption Basics & Getting Started

How to Get Closer to Your Resolution of Adopting a Baby in 2018

discover how you can adopt a baby in 2018!Every new year brings new potential and hope for the future. It also comes with the chance to commit to a New Year’s resolution. Do you hope to adopt a baby in 2018?

Starting your family through adoption is a resolution that’s not set to please other people or to gain attention. Becoming a parent through adoption is a life-changing event which will mark the start of a fresh chapter in your family.

Here are 5 ways to come closer to your resolution of adopting a baby in 2018!

1. Hear From Couples Who’ve Had Adoption Success
Your best resource to learn all you can about adoption is from a couple who’s adopted recently. Seek out the stories of experienced adoptive parents, and establish a conversation with them if you can. You might ask them for their advice, and about their adoption journey. After all, the more adoption stories you hear, the more viewpoints you’ll have to learn from. Follow adoption blogs, sign up for email newsletters, and join up with other couples also at the start of the adoption journey.

2. Continue Learning
Learn as much as you can about subjects like domestic adoption, open adoption, and modern adoption. There are a wealth of wonderful articles, books, and blogs out there. Check out the adoption stories featured on our “Recent Adoptions & Matches” page, which gets updated each day. You’ll also want to watch adoption webinars, available online for free at AdoptionWebinar.com.

3. Start to Finance Your Adoption
You don’t want to be scrambling for funds when the opportunity to adopt comes up. So, start getting all of your finances in order now by meeting with a financial planner. They can help you create a budget and get your finances straight. Look into adoption loans, grants, and fundraising, too.

4. Make Time for Adoption Each Week
Since most of us are very busy, we suggest that you set aside time each week to devote to learning more about adoption. By scheduling this time, you’re able to plan around things like appointments and work obligations.

5. Begin Your Adoption Profile
Even if you haven’t signed on with an adoption professional, you’re able to start working on your adoption profile. Consider taking quick photos of your day-to-day activities and favorite hobbies. And start considering what birth mothers will want to know about you: where you live, how long you’ve been married, what your jobs are, and why you’re hoping to adopt.

The Top 10 Blog Posts of 2017!

Lifetime adoptive couple Eric and Amanda with their daughter Mariella

Lifetime adoptive couple Eric and Amanda with their daughter Mariella

In 2017, Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida’s blog covered so many adoption topics, ranging from tips on how to handle the wait and guidance for getting ready to adopt to info about what modern adoption means and how to choose adoptive parents for your baby.

Here are the top 10 posts of 2017:

#10: We Reveal the Truth About 5 Adoption Myths
We shed light on five of the most widely believed myths surrounding the choice of adoption for your baby. Two of these five myths include that adoption is selfish, and that it means giving your baby away to strangers. Nothing could be farther from the truth: adoption is the most loving decision a woman can make. Also, with modern adoption today, you’re able to hand-pick the adoptive parents for your baby.

#9: 6 Smart Moves to Get Your Finances in Line for a Baby
We recommend that you get a hold of your finances during the adoption wait. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the newborn days without worrying about money issues. This post shares 6 smart financial moves to make before your baby arrives.

#8: Why Choose Adoption?
This post seeks to answer the question: “why would I choose adoption for my baby?” In it, we provided a list of things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about adoption. We’re definitely not here to give you “reasons why you should choose adoption,” because only you know what’s best.

#7: 4 Terrific Tips on Listening to Birth Mothers
Many adoptive parents have said they were so nervous during the first phone call with a birth mother, that they ended up chattering on and on. This blog post shares a few easy tips on how to effectively listen to a birth mother, and begin to build a relationship!

#6: Wondering What It’s Like to Be Adopted?
If you’re thinking about adoption for your baby, you might be wondering what it’s like to be adopted. We interviewed Alexa, an 18-year-old adoptee for this blog post. She was excited to share her story because she’s so grateful to her birth mother for choosing adoption!

#5: How to Research Adoption Benefits
Sadly, the number one reason many don’t adopt is because they feel like they can’t afford it. There are so many of adoption benefits available if you know where to look! This blog post gives you info on how to learn about the adoption benefits your employer, insurance, or church offers.

#4: “My Baby’s Adoptive Mom is So Awesome!”
Lifetime is blessed to be able to share this birth mother’s Facebook post: “My baby’s adoptive mom is so awesome! [The adoptive parents] are the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of saying that I know…I could not feel more blessed to have found them!”

#3: Coping With Your Adoption Wait
Have you been wondering what you can do to get through your adoption wait? In this post, we shared action steps you can take in order to stay productive during your wait!

#2: How To Get The Counseling You Need During Your Adoption Planning
Choosing adoption for your baby is an emotional event, and every birth mother is going to experience the stages of grief in a different way. This posts shares how Lifetime is able to get you the counseling you need. We can refer you to a licensed third-party counselor or to a peer counselor, for free.

#1: How Long Does It Take to Adopt Twins?
This is a question that we get asked a lot here at Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida! Discover the answer to the question “On average, how long does it take to adopt twins through Lifetime Adoption Agency?”

What was your favorite blog post of the year? Are there any specific topics you’d like to see covered on Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida’s blog in 2018?

How Can Audible Help You Learn About Adoption?

Listen to Called to Adoption on AudibleSometimes, it’s overwhelming for hopeful adoptive parents to know where to start on their adoption journey. Lifetime fully believes education is key for anyone hoping to adopt! And a great way to start learning about Christian adoption is by reading Called to Adoption: A Christian’s Guide to Answering the Call. You can listen to this book on Audible at no cost!

Through the end of the year, Audible is running a great promotion. In it, they offer a three-month trial of Audible for only $4.95 per month. That’s a huge savings because their usual going rate is $14.95 a month! You’re able to use a credit each month towards any audiobook you’d like. The best part is, the book Called to Adoption is yours to keep, even if you cancel your Audible account! You’ll be able to continue learning about the many types of adoption, even if you end up deciding that Audible isn’t a good fit for you. Visit Audible.com to learn more about their promotion.

Called to Adoption is full of useful tips and heartwarming adoption stories! Read about adoptive couples’ journey to adopt their child, and what helped them along the way! It was co-written by adoption expert, adoptive mother, and Lifetime’s Founder, Mardie Caldwell. Any adoptive parent will find that Called to Adoption provides them with invaluable resources and tips. Get encouraged as you begin your adoption journey by listening to this book!

With Audible, you’re able to hear Called to Adoption from wherever you are. Learn about how modern, open adoption works during your work commute, at the gym, or while you’re making dinner!

Visit Audible.com to download your audio version of Called to Adoption today! Or, you can simply click on the book’s cover below:

Click to get Called to Adoption on Audible!

Waiting to Adopt? Get Our Holiday Survival Tips

get Lifetime's tips for surviving the holidays while you're waiting to adopt!If you’re in the midst of your adoption wait, the holidays can become a time of added pressure and disappointment. People close to you may mean well but ask questions or make remarks that seem insensitive.

If you’re hopeful adoptive parents waiting for a child, you might be wondering “How are we going to get through the holidays?” Today, Lifetime is sharing 5 tips on how to survive the holidays while in the adoption wait!

1. Talk About It
Trying to hold your emotions inside will only make you feel worse. So, think about talking to a close family member, friend, counselor, or your pastor about what you’re going through. It may be that simply talking about it will raise your spirits so that you can enjoy the holiday festivities.

2. Be Honest
You might be feeling guilty that you’re not happy when everyone around you seems to be in the holiday spirit. You see that people around you are cheerfully celebrating. If you’re feeling down, don’t try to suppress your emotions. Grant yourself permission to cry and be sad. It might help to jot your feelings down in a journal. Decline invites to holiday parties and dinners you’re not up to attending.

3. Do Something for Yourself
Practice some self-care if you’re feeling unhappy during the holidays. This could be a nice long massage, a weekly yoga class, or treating yourself to that pretty dress you’ve been admiring. By doing something for yourself, relaxing, and unwinding, you’ll be better able to handle the hectic holiday season. Everyone deserves a break to re-group every now and then.

4. Help Those in Need
Often, giving back can lift your spirits. There are so many ways to do this, so pick something that feels right to you. You could volunteer at a homeless shelter, donate toys or gifts to a family in need, or even just do something thoughtful for a friend, co-worker, or family member. Helping those in need will give you an amazing feeling!

5. Get Involved
When you’re feeling blue, getting involved in a project or activity may help. “When we were in the adoption wait, I put a fresh coat of paint and got new furniture for our guest bedroom. Doing all this allowed me something to think about other than how sad I felt. And, it paid off! My mom ended up staying in this guest room and helping me out during the very first days home with our newborn son,” shares one Lifetime adoptive mom. Getting involved doesn’t have to mean undertaking such a big project, though. It may be an activity as simple as baking, scrapbooking, knitting, organizing a closet, or making homemade gifts.

Remember, this too shall pass, no matter how you choose to get through the holiday season while you’re waiting to adopt. And you’ll be parents before you know it!

Adoptive Couple Zach and Kearsten Visit Us With Their Baby!

Proud adoptive parents Kearsten and Zach with their adoption blessing!Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida is excited to congratulate adoptive parents Zach and Kearsten from Virginia! They were blessed to adopt a baby boy, Maverick.
 
We were lucky enough to meet this newly-formed adoptive family in person! They visited our office with two-day-old Maverick and chatted with Lifetime’s adoption professionals, including Linda, Chrissy, Tiffany, and Natalie. Lifetime’s staff were also visited by another adoptive mom, Amanda, and her seven-week-old daughter, Mariella at the same time!
 
Zac and Kearsten experienced a fall-through before being chosen by Maverick’s birth mother, so this was a major blessing for them!
 
Maverick was born a week early and right after Hurricane Irma, so there were no flights. Zach and Kearsten drove for 12 hours through the night to get to the hospital as fast as they could. They were very nervous because of their previous experience. Zach and Kearsten’s time with the birth mom at the hospital turned out very well and they couldn’t be happier. Kearsten said, even with the fall-through, they would do it all again the same way because it made them stronger and more appreciative and Maverick was well worth it!
 
They make a beautiful family! Here’s a sweet video of Zach and Kearsten sharing some of their adoption story with Lifetime’s staff:
 

Two Families Visited Lifetime Adoption’s Florida Office! from Lifetime Adoption on Vimeo.

 

Discover how Lifetime Adoption Agency can help you begin your family!
 
Consider taking the first step towards infant adoption today! Just fill out our online application. The application is free of charge and can be completed quickly and simply.