Every child deserves love

Adoption Process & Resources

The first step on your adoption journey is learning about what exactly the journey entails.

Adoption Process & Resources

The first step on your adoption journey is learning about what exactly the journey entails. Adoption is a unique way to build your family while changing children’s lives and enriching your own. While becoming a family is the biggest benefit, the State of Florida has many more to offer.

Basic Steps to Becoming An Adoptive Parent

♥ Orientation
Learn more about becoming an adoptive parent with our partner agencies. (REQUEST THE ORIENTATION SCHEDULE)
♥ Parent Training Series

Attend a Professional Parenting Training course.

♥ Home Study

Complete an adoption application and home study to help determine the right child for your family.

♥ Inquire

After viewing the children available for adoption on website, submit an inquiry on any child. (SEE CHILDREN AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION)

♥ Match & Visitation
Match with a Heart Gallery child, teen or sibling group. Begin meeting and visiting with a child in need of a forever family.
♥ Finalization
After a child lives in your home a minimum of 90 days, the adoption will be finalized.

Want to get Involved? Join Our Mailing List

To join the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco mailing list, email us at heartgallerykids@gcjfcs.org.

Benefits of Adopting Florida’s Waiting Children


Adopting one of Florida’s children from foster care costs little or nothing. The required processes including adoptive parent training class, home study, even court costs and fees, are provided free of charge.

College Tuition

Children adopted from foster care are eligible for free tuition to Florida state universities, community colleges or vocational schools in Florida until age 28. Some Florida private post-secondary schools will provide tuition stipends for children who have been adopted from foster care.

Common Interests

When you adopt one of Florida’s children, they come with a child study that summarizes the child’s history and personality. You have the opportunity to find a child with similar interests to bond over and whose needs match the strengths of your family.

Health Care

All children who receive a monthly subsidy are eligible to receive health care through a Medicaid program until age 18, and some children are eligible until age 21.

Legally Secure

The children listed on our site are all available for adoption. This means the courts have terminated the parental rights of their birth parents. Prospective adoptive parents are frequently concerned that a child’s birth parents may change their minds and want the child back. This form of adoption is very secure.

Monthly Support Groups

Families adopting Florida’s waiting children may qualify for a monthly subsidy to help offset ongoing costs through the “Florida’s Adoption Assistance Program” until the child turns 18 years old. This amount is negotiated on a child-by-child basis, depending on the child’s unique needs and the availability of funds.

Older Children

No diapers! When adopting an older child, you will (hopefully) be sharing more fishing trips and football games than sleepless nights. Adoptions after 16 years of age may be eligible for additional Education and Medicaid benefits if they spent a minimum of 6 months in foster care immediately preceding the adoption placement.


Adopting a sibling group means instant family. The bond among siblings is the longest relationship someone will have in their lifetime. By adopting a sibling group, you are giving brothers and sisters a chance to grow up together in a forever family.

State Employee Adoption Benefits

State Employees and other eligible applicants who adopt a child from Florida’s child welfare system will receive a one-time check; however, the funding for this program varies each year.

Support Groups

Many communities have adoptive parent support groups, community-based care agencies, faith-based, civic and other organizations tasked with helping support families that adopt Florida’s children. Efforts are underway to strengthen these supports statewide.

Tax Credits

This tax credit is based on reasonable and necessary expenses associated with welcoming a new child to your home through a legal adoption. The maximum federal adoption tax credit is currently $13,400 per child. The federal adoption tax credit is a non-refundable credit, meaning taxpayers may only get a refund if they have federal income tax liability.

diverse group of children on grass happy

Adoption Orientation Schedule

Thank you for your interest in fostering and/or adoption.
Below is information regarding the basic requirements and the process

The basic requirements are as follows:
  • Be at least 21 years old or older
  • Have stable appropriate housing (renting is fine)
  • Be able to pass a background check along with all other adults in your home.
  • Complete a 24-hour training class called Professional Parenting
  • Have a home study completed
  • Be able to provide for your family financially, and not rely solely on the child’s board rate to pay your bills.

The first step to actually get the process started is to attend an orientation. All orientations are for adults only. The orientation covers both fostering and adoption. There is a representative there from each department. Attending an orientation does not obligate you to anything. It is strictly informational. At the orientation the facilitator will go over everything in detail and give you a chance to ask any questions that you might have. You will be given some preliminary paperwork. If you do decide to continue with the program, you will need to complete the paperwork and return to us. Once the licensing supervisor or adoption representative has approved the application, you will be scheduled for a training class. The 24-hour Professional Parenting class is broken down into one (1) night a week, three (3) hours a night for eight (8) weeks. From the time you start your first class until you are licensed is approximately 5 months. The time frame for the adoption process varies with each individual case.

Frequently asked questions
  • Medical – all of the children are on Medicaid so all of their medical and dental is covered
  • Do you, as a foster parent, have any input on the children you work with – Yes, you do. You can specify an age range and gender of the children you wish to work with. You can be as specific as you want or as open, and you are free to change that profile at any time.
Additional Adoption information
  • The children available for adoption through the foster system are from the age of 10 years old and up
  • In order to be pre-approved for an adoption training class you must have an identified child or be interested in adopting children in the above age range

Because of the ongoing health crisis, we are currently only offering the online version of the orientation to complete at your convenience.

diverse group of children on grass happy

Adoption Resources


Your adoption journey begins when you first begin researching adoption as an option for your family and it doesn’t end at finalization.

The Post Adoption Linkage and Support (PALS) program at Family Enrichment Services provides a full spectrum of support services to Pinellas and Pasco post-adoptive families. PALS links the families to needed services, assists with post-adoptive benefits, and provides crisis management to post-adoptive families. They also offer a monthly support group for post-adoptive families.

Family Enrichment Services is a project of Adoption Related Services of Pinellas.


Family Support Services of Pinellas and Pasco

Family Support Services is the lead child welfare agency for our circuit. Adopting a child from foster care in Pinellas and Pasco counties means you are adopting a child through Family Support Services and one of their Case Management Organizations.  To learn more about the adoption process within Family Support Services, please go to Family Support Services’ website.


Every child on the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco receives Adoption Case Management supervision through a local child welfare Case Management Organization. The child’s Heart Gallery ID will identify one the three agencies listed.

YFA logo, "Help for today, Hope for tomorrow"
LSF logo

Community Support

Family Enrichment Services

Family Enrichment Services (FES) focuses on enriching the lives of children, youth, and families. Located in the Suncoast Region, our primary focus is supporting biological, foster, and adoptive families through counseling and related services. Our goal is to provide high-quality services that are trauma-informed and family-focused.  All of our counselors working with adoptive families complete a comprehensive Adoption Competency training course. We provide in-home services not only throughout Pinellas County but also extending into Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee/Sarasota, Hernando, and Polk Counties. We have contracts with most of the available Medicaid plans in the region and most of our services are funded by Medicaid so there is no out-of-pocket expense to our families.

Pinellas County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association

Important Numbers Knowing who to call when you need help shouldn’t ever be a stumbling block to you feeling supported through your adoption journey. To get a complete listing of who is answering the phones in our circuit or anywhere across Pinellas County, go to Important Numbers hosted by the Pinellas County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.