Do you have adoption questions? Maybe you’re wondering which steps to take to begin your journey to become an adoptive family through adoption, or you’re wondering what our adoption situations are like.
When you’re hoping to adopt a baby, there’s a lot to learn! One of the best ways to prepare for your own path to adoption is to get answers from experts who work with the type of adoption you’re pursuing. On this page, you’ll find expert answers to the questions people ask when they are thinking about adopting a baby, and when they’re considering Lifetime to help them adopt. You’ll learn a lot about what to expect, and get to know Lifetime better too.
There is a lot to learn and many adoption questions to be answered when you decide you want to adopt. Even before you officially think of yourself as “hoping to adopt” there are terms, steps, and questions that every future adoptive parent will need to understand to reach their personal adoption dream successfully. There are many important questions when it comes to adopting a child. It’s wise to learn as much as possible, so you know what to expect!
Below we’ve answered many of the adoption questions that we are frequently asked. Whether you’ve been researching adoption for a while, or if you’re just starting to gather information, these adoption questions are an excellent resource for you to equip yourself better as you build a family through adoption.
If you don’t see your adoption question below, please give us a call at 727-493-0933 or send us an email.
Adoptive Family Questions About Lifetime Adoption
Do you ever have twins?
Yes! We happily see our families blessed with adopting newborn twins a few times each year. In any year, we might have two to three sets of newborn twins for adoption amid over 100 adoptions, on average, that we perform per year. Newborn twins are an extra blessing, as most all waiting families are open to them.
If I adopt an infant, how old is the baby when I receive him/her?
Generally speaking, the baby is between 24 hours old to three days old when adopting an infant. In most cases of domestic infant adoptions, the baby will be discharged directly from the hospital to you — the adoptive parents. However, a few states require temporary cradle care before placing the infant with the adoptive family members.
Do you have newborns or infants now?
Lifetime is currently working with both expectant mothers as well as those with children who are already born. Visit our Birth Parents Seeking Families page, where we have posted many of our current birth mothers. This page is updated daily, and it will give you an idea of the qualities birth mothers are seeking in adoptive parents.
How many adoptions does Lifetime do a year?
Lifetime’s adoption program is very comprehensive and has an excellent reputation for providing successful, domestic adoptions. We complete anywhere from 110 to 120 successful adoptions per year, primarily newborn adoptions.
Do you have any guarantee?
We guarantee our hopeful adoptive parents will be well represented and seen by more birth parents than most organizations. In addition, each adoptive couple can expect to have numerous qualified support staff members working to meet their adoption needs. With our program, there is never a need to wonder if someone is working on your behalf. We have live staff 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for birth parents and emergencies.
How long does it take to adopt through Lifetime?
At Lifetime Adoption, it is the expecting mother (or placing parent) who chooses the family. Some are chosen within a few months, others take up to two years or even more. There are factors, such as your adoption preferences, that play a large part in how long it takes for you to be chosen.
Is there a fee to apply for your program?
No, Lifetime does not require a fee to apply, which is rare. Most adoption professionals charge an application fee. However, Lifetime’s application process is free. We feel it is important to assess your situation and determine if we can help you build your family without charging a fee until we mutually decide to work together under contract.
Are there any states you cannot work with adoptive parents?
Lifetime can assist adoptive parents across the nation, except for adoptive parents who are residents of New York. We are also able to help residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as military personnel stationed abroad.
Where are you located?
Lifetime Adoption provides services nationwide from our Center in beautiful New Port Richey, Florida. Located in central Florida, our Pasco County office is approximately one hour northwest of Tampa International Airport. 95% of our clients live outside of the local area, and we have an open-door policy for visiting clients.
Do you have a waiting list?
Lifetime does not typically operate on a waiting list basis. However, on occasion, we may open up an adoption waiting list if we have an overabundance of families with specific adoption preferences identical to each other or very specific, such as gender. If your application is pre-approved, you will be alerted if there will be a wait for you to enter our program when you have your one-on-one phone conference.
What happens if after two years we still do not have a child?
Every adoptive family who has followed Lifetime’s requested steps has been offered an adoption situation that meets their criteria. Lifetime has, at rare times, extended an adoption contract if two years have passed and the adoptive family has taken all steps.
Can we select the gender of the child?
Yes, but you need to understand that you may experience a much longer wait to be chosen by a birth parent with more specifics required for your child. Many of our birth mothers don’t know what gender the baby will be, so you’d only be presented to less of Lifetime’s adoption opportunities if you’re gender-specific. We encourage those interested in a specific gender to consider the adoption of a waiting child where the gender is already known.
Who is eligible to adopt?
Potential adoptive parents must be at least 21 years of age and show that they can provide a child with healthy, stable family life. We will review your application to adopt as a whole, and if we have any questions, we will call you to discuss your needs and be sure we can help you. We have had a high success rate because of this adoption eligibility screening process.
Your success rate is much higher than most other adoption organizations, why?
Lifetime Adoption has a high adoption success rate because we maintain many paths to finding the right match for each family. This includes a wide variety of services that other adoption professionals, both adoption agencies and adoption attorneys, simply cannot provide. In addition, you will benefit from the competence of our experienced, qualified, caring staff to screen prospective birth parents to help keep you safe and secure.
What do we need to get started?
Have you decided to adopt, and now you wonder, “how do we start the adoption process?” The first step toward working with Lifetime is to fill out a secure application on our site. Please be sure to submit a current photo of your family with the application.
As an adoptive family, what can we do to speed up the adoption process?
There are many variables in the waiting period, including your adoption preferences, emotional readiness, openness to profile recommendations, and willingness to follow the steps we request of you as a Lifetime Family. To adopt safely and successfully, you will need to follow Lifetime’s proven program. Lifetime proudly builds families through adoption, but you will also need to do your part to speed up the adoption process.
Are the birth mother situations listed on your site still available?
The birth mother situations you see posted are women who’ve contacted us and are interested in placing their child for adoption. They are all in various stages of the process. For example, they may be reviewing Lifetime’s Adoptive Family profiles or speaking with Lifetime’s adoptive families. Or, Lifetime may still be awaiting the birth mother’s medical records or other information.
Do you offer payments or have resources for adoption loans?
Yes, Lifetime Adoption has a no-interest payment program. We can provide referrals to organizations offering adoption loans, grants, other programs to help families with expenses. Those interested in African American or special needs adoptions can receive a grant through a separate program developed by Lifetime, the African American Enrichment Program.
What is open adoption?
Open adoption can mean many things, from just speaking over the phone with a birth mother, or having a single meeting with your birth mother, to ongoing letters and photos, phone calls, or visits after the adoption. The degree of contact is something to be agreed upon between the adoptive parents and the birth parents.
About Lifetime’s Safe and Successful Adoption Program
Will prospective birth parents be calling us?
At Lifetime, we want to protect our adoptive families and birth parents from disappointment by screening both parties. Through this screening process, we can avoid adoption scams and achieve confidence regarding the adoption situation. Once we can verify and confirm the readiness of a birth parent for adoption, your adoption coordinator will contact you directly to find out if you are interested in speaking to the birth parents. Birth parents will not be given your contact information until you have agreed to speak.
Do all families who go through Lifetime adopt?
Every adoptive family who has followed Lifetime’s specific instructions has been presented with an opportunity to adopt. Lifetime has a proven method that works, so success is reached when families take each step in Lifetime’s adoption process. However, if one of the steps is not followed, it can delay the family’s adoption.
What happens in the event the baby is born and there are medical problems we feel we can’t handle?
It is very rare in this age of medical technology that we are unaware of medical issues before birth, but it can happen. We have families waiting who are prepared for the long-term needs of adopting a child with special needs. Lifetime’s policy is to find homes for all our children and prevent them from going into the foster care system. If an adoptive couple doesn’t feel equipped to care for a child with medical issues, Lifetime would never force them to bring that child home.
We are signed up with an agency in our state, but have had no luck. We would like to get as much exposure and help as possible. Will you work with a family that is signed up with another organization?
Yes, Lifetime regularly works with other agencies and attorneys whose families contract with Lifetime to utilize our services. Lifetime will work side by side with other adoption professionals on your behalf. Adoptive couples who have been waiting a long time find that Lifetime offers them more exposure to potential birth mothers due to the number of pregnant women we work with at any given time. Unlike many agencies and attorneys, Lifetime can work with birth parents nationwide.
Do you have age requirements for adoptive parents?
Most birth parents are looking for loving adoptive parents that are healthy, active, and who can provide a loving and supportive environment in which their child will thrive. Potential adoptive parents must be at least 21 to adopt, and Lifetime has helped adoptive parents up to their late 50’s. We review applications thoroughly and give you an honest assessment if we feel that age may be a concern in being selected by a birth parent. Lifetime Adoption will only offer a contract to those we feel confident we can help.
Do you accept applications from single parents?
Several single women have successfully adopted through Lifetime. Lifetime works with a limited number of single parent adoptions at one time, as it can often take longer to be selected by a birth mother. Many birth mothers are hoping to provide their children with a two-parent home, especially if this is something they cannot provide. We advise singles looking to adopt to research adoption online and through books to help educate them about adoption and different paths to achieve a safe and successful adoption.
We live out of town, and would like to meet in person. Is this possible?
Yes, we welcome prospective parents to come and meet our staff and visit our office in New Port Richey, Florida. Lifetime Adoption is open during the week for visitors. We will send you directions and information on lodging and bed & breakfast accommodations in our area. Visitors may fly into Tampa International Airport or Orlando International Airport. If you are interested in a private consultation in our office, please call (727) 493-0933 for an appointment. There is no charge for phone conferences; however, there is a charge for a one-hour private consultation in our office. This charge can be credited toward your adoption fee when you contract.
How do we handle the paperwork for our adoption, since we live in a different state?
Lifetime Adoption has been working with adoptive families and birth mothers nationwide since 1986. In fact, most of Lifetime’s hopeful adoptive parents do not live near our main office in Florida, so we have purposefully developed our program to work with families across the nation. All of the paperwork Lifetime requires can be completed by mail, fax, or email. It is not mandatory to travel to meet us unless you would like to. The choice is yours, and we are always happy to meet families in person when they come to visit.
Will you help us prepare an adoption profile?
Yes, Lifetime will help you create an adoption profile by providing you with suggestions, tools for training, and sample successful adoption profiles. In addition, your coordinator will work with you extensively to help you design and create the best profile possible. We can also provide you with referrals to companies that can design your profile for you if needed.
If we don’t have an attorney, how do we find one?
Lifetime works with reliable adoption attorneys in most states, and we can recommend them to our contracted families. Because we work nationwide, we have built a network of adoption lawyers familiar with our program and our staff. Lifetime is proud of our associations with these attorneys and is pleased to have a solid network of legal referrals. We recommend that all families pursuing adoption use a qualified adoption attorney to complete the legal aspect of the adoption.
When a birth mother requests families be sent to her, how is it determined what families she receives?
When we speak with a birth mother for the first time, we discuss the type of adoptive parents she is seeking. Some birth mothers have very specific preferences, and others may have more general requests. Lifetime presents the birth mother with the profile of each family that matches her preferences. We’ve found that birth mothers will often be more comfortable and confident about their adoption plan when they have found just the right family they are seeking, so we do our best to honor birth mother requests when presenting families.
I have heard that you offer private, personalized one-on-one adoption consultations. How do I get more information on this?
If you are interested in scheduling an adoption consultation, please call or email us for more information: (727) 493-0933. Not yet ready for an adoption consultation? Our website is full of resources for families hoping to adopt. Lifetime Adoption also hosts educational adoption webinars. They are open to prospective families thinking of adopting and want to know more about the adoption process and Lifetime Adoption. You can find future adoption webinar dates on our website, AdoptionWebinar.com.
What is the procedure to be presented to a birth mother through Lifetime?
As soon as you contract with Lifetime, you are available for any situation that matches your criteria. You will be visible to many prospective birth parents through your adoption profile and Lifetime website. Lifetime will help you prepare your website and electronic version of your profile so we can present you to the prospective birth mothers we are working with. If a birth parent is interested in speaking to you, we will call you with background information on the situation. If you choose to move forward, we will arrange a phone call between you and the birth parents.
What happens if the birth mom changes her mind before or after placement?
We offer birth families counseling to help prevent heartaches and disappointments, and Lifetime has an unbelievably low reclaim rate of around 3 to 4%. If a birth parent should change their mind, the adoptive family is put back in our active group as soon as they want to start again. Unlike other services, you will not have to pay any additional fees again.
What is a home study?
The adoption home study is a written report required by each state for every type of adoption. Its purpose is to satisfy the courts that an infant or child is being placed into a suitable and safe home environment. A trained social worker conducts the process over two or three meetings, and at least one meeting must take place in the home. A home study requires information about your employment, finances, health and medical history, and insurance coverage, and also involves background checks and character references. Each home study must meet the general requirements as prescribed by your state’s adoption laws.
About Adopting Through Lifetime
I noticed you have older children seeking homes. Where are these children living now?
Most of the children that you see on our site are living with their birth parents or relatives. The birth parents have tried to raise the children and for different reasons, from health issues, aging grandparents, personal problems or divorce are seeking a better life for them. Adoption is the option many of these parents request, often wanting to avoid the children going into the foster care system. They come to us to find adoptive parents, allowing them the ability to decide the type of environment and family their child will be raised in. This is often the last loving choice they can make for their child.
How can we prevent a scam?
We have years of experience in avoiding adoption scams and frauds and know the signs to watch for. Lifetime personally screens and previews each potential birth parent situation for professional recommendations before you are presented.
How can we learn more about your organization, since we live in another state?
Our website and our webinars are the best places to begin learning about Lifetime. These Frequently Asked Questions are updated regularly to help families like yours learn more about Lifetime and the services we offer.
Does Lifetime Adoption accept credit cards when paying for payment of adoption fees?
Lifetime Adoption accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards as an alternative to a personal check or wire transfer for adoption fees. However, some bank card companies have daily limits, so you may wish to check yours. If you do have a daily limit, learn how to modify it for one day. We also accept electronic checks and direct deposit to expedite your process and e-signatures on contracts, allowing you to contract within the day if desired. Be sure to let the application coordinator know your needs.
What size is your staff at the Lifetime Center?
Lifetime is unique in that we have a more extensive support staff than most adoption professionals. We currently have a team of 42 staff members. We also have outside licensed counselors and social workers to counsel birth families and adoptive parents as needed. In addition, our entire staff is cross-trained to take the hundreds of calls and inquiries by email we receive each week. We feel we have been blessed with a wonderful success rate due to the dedicated staff who strive to provide excellent service to our clients.
We already have children, can we still adopt with Lifetime?
Yes, however, we’ve found that birth parents prefer families with less than three children, either biological or adopted, and these are the families that do best in our program. In the majority of our adoptions, the birth parents choose their child’s adoptive parents. So, Lifetime strongly encourages those with many children or very young children to be open to our recommendations on their profile. We have worked very closely with birth mothers since 1986, so we know what they want to see in adoption profiles.
We are just starting out – what services do you offer for newbies to adoption?
We have extensive guidance and support through our programs, monthly educational webinars and phone consultations, as well as outside resources we provide each adoptive parent through our programs. As a Lifetime adoptive family, you’ll have an abundance of adoption services, resources, and information to help you succeed.
Where do we get our home study done?
We have reputable home study providers and licensed social workers we will refer you to for your home study. This will be one of the first steps you’ll take when we start working together in your adoption.
Can we adopt if we are just living together?
No, most states only provide adoption proceedings for singles or couples who are married. Birth parents often prefer (and request) a married couple, so seeking to adopt through Lifetime Adoption as an unmarried couple may not be the right choice for folks in those situations.
We live in another state. Can you still help us adopt?
Yes. The majority of our families live out of state, and we offer services nationwide. Lifetime has also assisted military families in other countries in adopting from the United States.
Are you available if we need to reach you after hours or on the weekend?
Lifetime is unique in that we provide our clients with many ways to contact us for any emergencies that come up. We have cell phones, live chat, email, a 24-hour answering service, fax, and texting. Unlike most organizations, Lifetime has staff available on call every weekend and holiday to take calls from birth mothers around the clock. This can be very important if your birth mother goes into labor after hours. Lifetime is dedicated to your success, no matter what time or day of the week it happens to be.
Do we need a home study before we contract with Lifetime?
No. Lifetime can refer pre-approved families to a profound list of social workers and private agencies in their home state to work with them on this critical component of their adoption. The home study should be for private adoption (and if working with a Lifetime Adoption Inc. Agency, an agency home study) and updated when needed. Because both the Lifetime process and home study may require similar information, it may save both time and money to work on them simultaneously.
Does Lifetime have references of families that have successfully completed an adoption?
Once you have been pre-approved into our program, we will provide you with a list of families that have adopted through Lifetime in the past. If you would like to read testimonials now, read our Success Stories.
What is the total cost of adoption?
Nationally, adoption costs can range anywhere from $0 to more than $50,000. Adoptive parents who choose to adopt a child through Lifetime Adoption pay a one-time, flat fee covering all of Lifetime’s services, including those provided to expectant parents. How much it costs to adopt a child in the U.S includes the cost of the adoption process and a wide range of other potential adoption expenses, including travel expenses, legal fees for adoption attorneys, adoption agency fees, birth mother expenses if any, and more.
Do I need to be an American citizen or live in the United States to adopt through Lifetime Adoption?
We can assist you if you are currently an active duty military family stationed abroad for your service. Here at Lifetime, we love and appreciate our military families! In addition, we work with residents of the Virgin Islands and other U.S. Territories. If you are currently residing within the United States long-term, and at this time you are not a U.S. citizen, you are welcome to apply for our program. Unfortunately, if you live abroad for any other reason, we cannot assist in your adoption.
How old do you have to be to adopt?
Adoptive parents must be at least 21 years of age, financially secure, with a stable income and home. If you’re married, both you and your spouse must be 21 years or older.
We are US citizens living overseas, can you work with us?
Yes, we work with military families stationed abroad. As you serve our nation, it is our honor to serve you as you begin your adoption journey. We’ve helped thousands of military adoptive families, stationed both in the United States and abroad. As you explore how you can adopt while you’re active duty, you’ll likely come up with lots of questions. We’re eager to assist you with your adoption planning and exploration, and have had great adoption success for our military families.
Does Lifetime Adoption handle or help with embryo adoption?
Embryo adoption is a growing practice in the area of adoption. While Lifetime currently is not offering this specific service, our founder, Mardie Caldwell, has released a book on embryo adoption.
About the Babies Children and Birth Parents
What about the baby’s health?
Lifetime Adoption requests a medical release and health information from each birth mother. We will provide you with all the documentation we receive regarding the health of the baby you’re considering adopting. In addition, many hospitals will routinely do a toxicology screen on all newborns. Most of our babies are healthy and have been cared for in utero by loving birth mothers. However, be aware that some birth mothers have no prenatal care and records to share.
Will birth parents consider a family outside of their area?
Yes, many birth parents prefer a family who does not live in their state. They may not want contact or may only want limited contact after placement. Some birth parents are interested in a family with similar interests and have not found that in their area. For example, a birth mother searching for a family of the same faith with less than one child and pets may find the exact match two states away.
In the Lifetime Adoption programs do you place children with adoptive parents?
Yes, our original adoption placement formula has been working since 1986. A birth mother will place her baby directly with you through an independent or designated agency placement. We have set up these adoption programs to assist you in locating a birth mother through Lifetime’s time-tested methods and invaluable resources. Lifetime networks throughout the United States with a vast database of resources and proven strategies for reaching birth mothers.
What does bi-racial or mixed race mean?
In adoption, bi-racial typically means someone whose descent is at least part African American. Mixed-race children will normally be comprised of multiple races.
We are working with another adoption professional, but have not had any luck. Can you help us?
Yes, Lifetime works with several adoption agencies that don’t have the staff or time to work with the number of birth parents we do. So, they refer their clients to us to find a child, and they finish up the legal paperwork for the adoption. We also work with attorneys that prefer to handle only the legal work. Lifetime will work with these professionals on your behalf, providing records, medical reports, counseling, support, and information to help complete your adoption.
What about confidentiality?
Lifetime Adoption will only share your first names and other non-identifying information with birth parents. You have the option of giving as much or as little information to the birth mother matched with you as you deem appropriate. We do not disclose your income or employer to birth parents; we leave this to the adoptive family. Most birth mothers are incredible women with a simple need to know that you are safe and can care for the child she has trusted you with.
Where do your birth parents and children come from?
Our prospective birth parents and children come from all over the U.S. We receive referrals from various sources, including personal recommendations, hospitals, counselors, physicians, newspaper articles, TV appearances, radio programs, social media, nationwide outreach programs, and counselors. In addition, lifetime advertises in most states, and many birth families locate adoptive parents from our websites.
How do birth mothers communicate?
We frequently use email to communicate with birth mothers. In addition, Lifetime’s professionals communicate with birth mothers via text message, phone call, email, live chat, and even on social media.
What ages and ethnic backgrounds of children do you have available?
Most of our adoption opportunities are newborns, although we occasionally have toddlers, sibling groups, and older children of all races. Our birth mothers represent a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, including Caucasian, Hispanic, Native American, African American, East Indian, and Asian backgrounds, as well as mixed and other heritages.
Do you handle re-adoptions or re-placement of adopted children?
Yes, we can help with finding a new adoptive home for children, typically under the age of seven. We have assisted with readoptions when a new family is needed for a child adopted internationally as well as domestically.
Were your adoption questions not answered above?
Send us an email to ask us your question, or give us a call at 727-493-0933.
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