How to Adopt

  • Contact Eckerd Connects
  • Complete an application package
  •  Attend a training that meets one night a week for 10 weeks. The training is outstanding. It begins to teach you about the children, about yourselves as parents, and how to successfully adopt.
  • You will be assigned an Adoption Specialist who will spend time getting to know you. This training and application process will help determine if you are suited to adopt. It will also help you and your Adoption Specialist decide on the child for whom you are best suited.
  • Your adoption Specialist will schedule Home Studies with you (hopefully, at New Life Village). 
  • After the training and after your application is accepted, you and your Adoption Specialist will start searching for a child(ren). The Adoption Specialist knows what children are available. You may also see some of the children on the Heart Gallery 
  • Sometimes there are Match Events. This is where prospective parents and some of the children who are available are invited for a fun day together.
  • When the child who is a good match for you is identified, there is a getting to know you process that includes:
    • A non-identifying profile of the child
    • A full disclosure–an opportunity to see the child’s entire record and to ask questions of the people who have worked with her/him.
  • When a child is identified, supervised meetings are scheduled.  These initial meetings are followed by longer, unsupervised meetings; ultimately, the child moves into your home. This “courtship” can last as long as it is necessary to make a good match. Either the child or the prospective parent can decide to terminate the process at any time.
  • Once this is all completed and parents, children, and staff have determined this is a good match, a court date is determined. At that court date, a judge will rule that this child is yours. Their name and birth certificate will be changed to yours. 

Other Resources to Assist in Adoption and Foster Care

Sylvia Thomas Center – provides ongoing support and resources for adoptive families and children
Family Enrichment Center – provides Kinship Care support and licensing for foster and adoptive families
Step Up For Students – provides scholarships for tuition and educational expenses for foster and adopted children
Children’s Home Network – provides Kinship Care support
Guardian Ad Litem – provides advocacy for a child who has been abused, neglected, or abandoned
Children’s Advocacy Center – provides support services for children who are victims or witnesses of crime or abuse
Suncoast Voices For Children Foundation – provides resources to abused children in crisis to create stability
Children’s Board of Hillsborough County – provides educational and safety resources through various county programs to help children
Early Childhood Council – provides educational and safety resources through various county programs to help children under 5 years old
Champions for Children – provides resources to ensure children are loved and nurtured by providing parents with education, support and resources
Succes4Kids- offers in-home treatment and several services to assist families having a trouble with their children in school, home or with the law
Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption – Downloadable PDF with a Step-By-Step Adoption Guide