Image

Archive for Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida

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

How to Choose the Best Adoption Agency for You

We'd love to provide you a home study in Florida!Once you’ve decided to grow your family through domestic infant adoption, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is selecting a professional to help you through the process. Most hopeful adoptive parents realize that they’ll need the support of an adoption agency through the process. But they wonder how to find the best adoption agency. Discover how to choose the best adoption agency for you and your family!

1. Research

Begin by doing your research and asking questions of the adoption agencies you’re exploring. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the adoption professional you’re relying on. Adopting a baby can seem overwhelming, but a good adoption professional will become a trusted partner and will help lead you through the entire journey.

Many agencies offer informational webinars once a month or so. Lifetime Adoption provides adoption webinars at no cost to you. Attend a webinar, and don’t be shy about asking questions. Visit AdoptionWebinar.com to learn more.

2. Network

Besides doing research, networking will help you make sure the agency you choose will respond to your needs as you begin your adoption journey. It helps to speak with couples who have recently adopted from the agency you’re thinking about, and have them share their experiences. Lifetime Adoption Agency will provide you with a list of references that you may contact for this purpose. These adoptive parents will be able to tell you what they thought about the adoption agency. Previous clients can give you the low-down about an agency’s staff, quirks, and practices.

3. Investigate

Verify the adoption agency’s reputation and certification. Scrutinize agencies: they should be licensed, and have professional licensed social workers on staff, who have completed higher education in social work and have experience in adoption. Determine how long the agency has been in business, and how many adoptions it has completed in recent years.

Check for the adoption agency’s Better Business Bureau rating to check whether any complaints have been filed against the agency. You can also call the attorney general’s office in the state where the agency is licensed.

Red Flags

Be cautious of an adoption agency that doesn’t require a home study fee, or who promise you a child before they ask for a family assessment. Also, be leery of agencies that tell you birth parents can relinquish their parental rights before the baby is born.

Regulations and Licensing

Adoption agencies, including Lifetime, are licensed and regulated by their state’s Health and Human Services Departments. They’re staffed by social workers who perform home study services and conduct post-placement visits. Lifetime Adoption, Inc. is a Licensed Florida Child Placing Agency.

Taking the time and effort to choose the best adoption agency for you will save you lots of unnecessary stress. Hiring the right agency will help your adoption journey go smoothly and successfully!

We’re So Grateful to Lifetime for Helping Us Become a Family!

new adoptive parents Jesse and AliciaLifetime Adoption Agency Florida is excited to congratulate adoptive parents Jesse and Alicia from Colorado! They were blessed to adopt a baby girl, Brynlee, just a few weeks ago!

The excited adoptive couple emailed us:

“This all feels like a dream! We are so in love with baby Brynlee. We can’t take our eyes off of her! She is perfect in every way, God truly had His hand in every part of our adoption journey. We’re grateful for all the time we were able to spend with Brynlee’s birth mom at the hospital. We will cherish those moments and share them with Brynlee as she grows up.

We’re so thankful to have found Lifetime. You all have been there every step of the way. I remember when we had our first call with Jen. We were nervous and unsure of what to expect, but she was so sweet and answered every question (I had a huge list) and by the end of the call Jesse and I knew instantly knew that Lifetime would help us become a family of three. Struggling with infertility for so long leaves you vulnerable and it is difficult to imagine that you may never become a parent. God led us to Lifetime because He knew this perfect little girl would be waiting for us and that everyone at Lifetime would be here every step of the way! Every phone call, every webinar, and every prayer helped us become stronger and prepared us for parenthood.

precious baby girl BrynleeNatalie,
Thank you so much for always being so responsive to my emails and phone calls and for always being available to talk. Anytime I was feeling anxious you were there for me. We talked, we laughed, and you reassured me that everything was looking good for us and that God has a plan and His timing is perfect. I’m so thankful for the sharing of our page and the prayers you have said for our family. I will forever be thankful for you and the kindness you have shown us.

Tiffany,
I appreciate you not only being here for us, but for being here for Vanessa as well. You were there to support her when she didn’t have much support from anyone. You made her feel comfortable and you took the time to teach her about open adoption. You made yourself available to us and answered our questions, even when we called you at 7am because we were too excited to sleep!

As I am sitting here, holding our daughter in my arms and typing through my happy tears, I just couldn’t wait to share our thanks and gratitude to everyone at Lifetime. Thank you all so much! We can’t wait to share pictures and updates with you as she grows!”

Are you dreaming of infant adoption? Let Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida help you! Call us today at 1-800-923-6784.

“We’re Excited to Announce Our Daughter’s Birth to the World!”

Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida got a visit from Oklahoma adoptive couple Jeremiah and Tammy recently. They brought their newly-adopted baby girl Ellie Rose with them and shared about their adoption experience. We were eager to hear their adoption story!

“We wanted to stop by and share our blessing. We’re excited to get to share Ellie Rose with the world!” adoptive father Jeremiah says, grinning. His wife Tammy shared that “We got time with the birth mother, and it was really nice to meet with her!”

Tammy also said that their adoption wait felt like an emotional rollercoaster. What helped her when the wait got hard was praying, watching our adoption webinars, and keeping the faith that adoption would happen for them. “To all the waiting families out there. I know it is a long wait and hard work. God has perfect timing and it is worth the wait. When you hold that child it will be worth it. I pray your time comes soon. I am praying for each of you. God bless!” new adoptive mother Tammy says.

Jeremiah and Tammy waited for almost two years before they were chosen by their daughter’s birth mother. So, they can relate to the long wait that some adoptive couples experience. But, as their adoption coordinator Linda says, “the wait is definitely worth it! Now you have a perfect, beautiful little baby girl!”

Jeremiah says, “I think that through the wait, God really had a plan for us. The way that everything fell together made us feel like God wanted it this way.” When that baby comes, it changes everything and you realize why you waited. It was for the baby that was a perfect fit for your family!

 

Here’s a quick video of Jeremiah and Tammy that was shot during their visit to our office:

 
 

Are you dreaming of infant adoption? Let Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida help you! Call us today at 1-800-923-6784.

Surviving the Adoption Home Study

adoption home study visitWe recommend that you use your adoption home study as a way to learn even more about adoption. You’ll need to get a home study no matter where you live, or where you plan to adopt. An adoption home study is a document that shares the story of your life: your health, your family and marital history, and your finances. It also contains a description of your house and neighborhood, references, and info about any criminal record or health concerns.

For many hopeful adoptive couples, the idea of opening up their homes and lives to a stranger puts them on edge. A common worry about the home study is that it’ll find you ineligible to adopt. The truth is, it’s uncommon for a home study to end with a negative judgment. Even though you might feel that the process is invasive, remember its goal is to ensure children are placed into loving homes.

So what exactly is an adoption home study? It’s social worker’s written evaluation, based upon interviews they’ve had with you during at least one in-person visit to your home. Your home doesn’t have to be child-proofed, contain a finished nursery, or a separate bedroom for the baby before the social worker’s visit. They will want to know, however, how you plan to accommodate your precious arrival.

Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida provides home studies. Learn how we can help you with this aspect of your domestic adoption!

Just give us a call at 1-800-9-ADOPT-4 or learn more about our home study service here.

In the video below, our Founder and President Mardie Caldwell shares about the adoption home study service we provide to adopting families:

“Thank You for Making Our Lives Complete!”

Here’s a sweet adoption update from Tennessee adoptive couple David and Deanna, who adopted their baby girl through Lifetime Adoption Agency last year. Thanks David and Deanna; it’s wonderful staying in touch!

“We wanted to take a minute to let you all know how much we love you! You all shot the most magical arrow through our hearts last May and this holiday that expresses love wouldn’t be quite complete without sending a Valentine your way. Thank you for making our lives complete – Madison is the best blessing EVER and you all made it happen!

Madison is nine months old, loves every food she tries, and is SO healthy. Her favorite game is Patty Cake (she does it the minute she wakes up until bedtime – loves it!). Her first word was “uh oh”! She’s been crawling and then pulling up to a standing position on anything and everything.

We’re so very happy: we all just smile and laugh all of the time – so very magical and priceless – everything is better! If we feel led and it’s meant for Madison to have a brother or sister, you better believe we will be right back in your hands. Every single thing, even the tiny pinch of pain, tears, and heartache was SO worth it. We wouldn’t change one single thing because it all shaped the experience, the appreciation and the magnitude of love! For us, this was definitely so perfect and we can’t imagine any other way we would’ve wanted to build our family!

We love you ladies!”

Are you ready to learn more about infant adoption?

Take the first step in your adoption journey today and fill out Lifetime’s free online application to adopt!

start your journey

My Adoption Story as a Closed Adoption Adoptee

We had a chance to sit down with Lifetime Adoption Agency’s Adoptive Family Coordinator Natalie LaBelle recently. She was adopted at birth and grew up with a closed adoption plan. Today, she has both her adoptive family and birth family in her life. As an adoptee, she’s able to empathize with the many emotions that may come up for adoptive families, their adopted children, and also birth parents. “Nothing is more exciting than helping a match take place and witnessing prayers being answered!” she says. Natalie told us her adoption story and thoughts about open adoption with us, and we’d love to share them with you here:

“I grew up in a loving adoptive family, with a closed adoption, never having any contact with my birth mom or biological family nor knowing any of my medical history. Now, however, as an adult, I have had an adoption reunion meeting with almost all of my birth mom’s side. I truly have the best of both worlds.

I personally feel that open adoption is a major blessing to the child and the birth mom both equally, but for different reasons. I feel it is an emotionally healthy way for the child growing up to have some sense of where he/she came from, their origins, a picture or two to see who they look like, why they were adopted, and for medical history. Most of these questions for an adoptee are answered through open adoption for the most part. I think it may ease the loss and grief for the birth mom, which is emotionally healthier for her also. In my case, as a closed adoption adoptee, I had a constant wondering and not knowing that stayed with me every day and even on the best of days until I reconnected with my birth mom in 2013.

When my birth mother tried to contact me earlier in life, I ignored her because I didn’t want to hurt my parent’s feelings. But once I started communicating with my birth mom, as an adult, those questions disappeared. I stopped wondering about knowing who I was, wondering why or what happened, even though I had an amazing and loving adoptive family, the wondering was always there.

I always had to say ‘I don’t know’ to every single question about my medical history, which made me feel ‘less than’ because of the unintentional looks from the medical staff and this happened many times growing up and well into adulthood. These are small things to the average person but leaves an adoptee feeling different than everyone else when they already may feel different from their own family. It wasn’t until my thirties when I needed to know my medical history that I became open to meeting my biological family. But yet again, I didn’t respond, mostly out of denial or fear of hurting my adoptive family. Now, I’ve formed a close, loving relationship with my birth mom, brother and sister, and so I have a connection to my biology, and also to my adoptive family. I now feel complete and absolutely blessed to have two wonderful families who love me, as it was God’s plan all along to give a child this much love!”

How to Choose an Adoption Agency – Step #3

Here’s the final step in the three-step process of choosing an adoption agency! Last week, we shared how you can effectively interview adoption agencies.
 
The third and final step is to make your final decision on which adoption agency you’ll contract with. At this point, you’ll probably have just two or three adoption agencies that you’re seriously considering. The agencies should not only meet your criteria but also feel like a company you’d be happy working with. However, you still have some more research to do.
 
The adoption agencies you’ve been in communication with should be able to provide you with a list of references. At Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida, we share a long list of references and their contact information with all prospective adopting parents. Our references are adoptive families who have adopted using our services, and so they can answer questions such as what to expect with a Lifetime adoption. We suggest that you contact as many of the references an agency provides you with, to gain a bigger picture. If the adoption agency you’re talking to doesn’t provide you with referrals, consider it a red flag!
 
It’s also smart to see if there have been complaints made against an adoption agency. Since there’s is no central website where complaints against adoption agencies are stored, you’ll have to check a few different places. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) records complaints against adoption agencies. Check the BBB website for all cities in which the agency operates. The BBB provides complaint information by phone and online.
 
An adoption agency’s standing within the adoption community is another factor to keep in mind. We suggest that you take online reviews with a grain of salt, since the anonymity of the Internet sometimes brings out the worst in people, especially with such an emotional topic as adoption.

How to Choose an Adoption Agency – Step #2

Last week, we shared step #1 in how to choose an adoption agency that’s right for you: early research. Today, we’re giving you step #2: interviewing potential adoption agencies.

Ensure that you’re picking an adoption agency you feel comfortable with; trust your intuition. The agency is going to direct you the sometimes puzzling path towards adoption. Selecting an adoption agency is a complex decision and depends on what you’re seeking in adoption.

Now that you’ve done some research and narrowed down your list of potential adoption agencies, it’s time to get more information and get a feel for the agency and its staff. We suggest contacting each agency from your list and scheduling a time to talk with them. This interview could take place in person or over the phone. Make sure you set aside enough time for the interview because you probably have lots of questions to ask. If you need help thinking of questions to ask them, check out this post: Discover What You Need to Know About Your Adoption Professional.

Don’t just email adoption agencies your list of questions. So that you can decide whether you see yourself trusting the agency to help you bring your child home, you need to actually talk with them. You’re looking for more than just their stats such as average wait time and the amount of successful adoptions per year. You’re also trying to measure if you trust them to help you build your family. Take thorough notes during the interview, not just about the information they provide, but also on their attitude and values.

After the interview, take some time and examine if you’d enjoy working with them. Consider their stance on subjects important to you, their overall manner, and how helpful they were.

Keep an eye on our blog next Monday, when we’ll share Step #3 in choosing the right adoption agency for your family!